Slate Digital - Virtual Mix Rack

  • I rarely get this excited with music related gear. These plugins are simply fantastic! I do not care about Neve and other expensive analog gear. I do not care about the nice graphics. All it matters for me is the sound and ease of use. And these plugins shine. I can simply throw it on top of an already good profile, and within seconds I can get a significantly better tone. It is really easy to make the profiles sit better in a mix. Fantastic tone shaping options. Beautiful and intuitive compressors, spectral enhancers, EQs... I'm really blown away. It is arguable whether it is possible to get the similar results within the KPA... Maybe it is possible, but to me this is nirvana. Oh and the best thing: it is very low latency (possibly 0?) so I can use it for live noodling. Also it is not resource hungry at all.
    Highly recommended! A really useful companion for the KPA.


    [Blocked Image: http://s18.postimg.org/wwixj99ax/01_VMR.jpg]

  • Soon to be updated with Scuffham Amps' S Gear, too. Very interesting times we live in (I have the Everything Bundle, as well as owning all Slate's plugs up to the introduction of the subscription model).

  • Love slate stuff!! I own VBC, FG-X, VTM SSD4 and Raven but Being stuck on a Pro Tools TDM rig I try and stay with TDM plugins. If Slate went AAX DSP I would update my system to HDX in a shot. The plugs I own are awesome and no doubt the VMR plugs are just as good. Hate subscription things though, I like to own stuff out right. Glad you can still buy them also

  • Raoul, I read that you go with the DSP stuff to take advantage of near-zero latency. Well guess what? VMR is also near-zero native! Download a demo, you won't look back. Seriously.

    Yeah thats one of the reasons, but with big mixes and punching in with native plugs this can still become an issue. I run a HD7 system so 7 cards in a magma chassis which gives me plenty of horse power lol and room to work with VI if i have to TDM plugs just take so much of the load off the computer. Maybe im just stuck in my way lol :)

  • VMR is nice because everything is in one window rather than all over the place.


    One thing I do find though is that using less plugins has actually improved my mixes to an extent. They can really take away the body from the pure recorded sounds if you pilea lot on - so I would use the VMR sparingly.

  • Yeah thats one of the reasons, but with big mixes and punching in with native plugs this can still become an issue. I run a HD7 system so 7 cards in a magma chassis which gives me plenty of horse power lol and room to work with VI if i have to TDM plugs just take so much of the load off the computer. Maybe im just stuck in my way lol :)

    Haha I know the feeling though!

  • I already own a few very good UAD plugins and a FW satellite card that I don't want to abandon just now.
    That said I think it's very smart of Slate to go the no- nonsense native way.
    And I also think that the new subscription model is very tempting, especially the monthly subscription model where you can go on hiatus if need be.
    Say you're sketching songs for a few months working only with (in my case) Logic's plugins which are very good in their own right, then you're tracking and mixing for real and go on with your Slate subscription using all their plugins, afterwards pause the subscription again.
    I think this is a stellar business model, both for the company as well as for the consumer.
    What do you think?

  • I like the fact that you can buy or subscribe gives the consumer both options. I always like to own my stuff :)


    IMO on the native side of things it's just as good. OK a good Mac Pro will cope most of the time but when big mixes start taking place with lots of aux routings etc and you have finished the mix and the client comes back with can I just redo that part or i need to punch in a vocal here etc with DSP plugins it's hassle free and easy but with native it's a pain some times. I have also noticed my DSP pro Tools rig is far more stable than the native one I used to own. but hey this is all a different kettle of fish, apparently slate is going to do AAX DSP but they are having issues implementing the mix rack into this form at the mo.

  • I have Everything Bundle ,too since the day one of Slate Digital. And I still can't believe what the VTM does to my mixes. I also have Revox PR99 mk3 analog tape but I rarely use it because of VTM.


    I still try to get used to new business model but, it is an awesome idea for spending money on plugins. The problem is nearly all of my projects have VMR, VTM etc. So I am afraid I don't have a ''pause subscription'' chance :)

    Sound Engineer, Musician, Animal Rights Activist.


    Fender '89 Clapton Strat, EMG DG20, KPA, Martin, SSL, Neve, Manley, Tube-Tech, Millennia, API, Lynx, RME, Avid, Apple, Adam...

  • Have any of you guys tried Harrison Mixbus? I find it gives me better results than adding VTM to Ableton. I export stems into Mixbus and it really adds that tape/analogue like feel.



    I've tried it because I really liked the idea of having the effects it built-in (not just tape and console, but eq and compressor). You know, getting closer to the music. I haven't spent much time on it, but I found that it was actually more of a barrier to me, due to being used to another DAW (Logic Pro X), which I like much better. Also, it kept crashing at the time :-)

  • I've tried it because I really liked the idea of having the effects it built-in (not just tape and console, but eq and compressor). You know, getting closer to the music. I haven't spent much time on it, but I found that it was actually more of a barrier to me, due to being used to another DAW (Logic Pro X), which I like much better. Also, it kept crashing at the time :-)


    Same here. I liked the simplistic idea at first. But in the end it's better to commit to one of the big boys (PT, Logic, Cubase, Ableton Live, Studio One) and learn to properly use it.


  • Same here. I liked the simplistic idea at first. But in the end it's better to commit to one of the big boys (PT, Logic, Cubase, Ableton Live, Studio One) and learn to properly use it.



    Depending on needs, I don't think it's necessary to commit to the big boys, as long as you DO commit :-) For somebody doing simple mixing, editing and recording, many of the smaller daws will work perfectly fine.

  • Depending on needs, I don't think it's necessary to commit to the big boys, as long as you DO commit :-) For somebody doing simple mixing, editing and recording, many of the smaller daws will work perfectly fine.


    I agree that Harrison is a poor DAW for workflow. It also crashes a lot. BUT it is the best sound of any DAW I have used for mixdown.


    So I do all my editing and automation in Ableton then I import my mix into Harrison as stem to add some tape compression and a bit of mastering EQ. I think it sounds really good. No matter what I do in Ableton with tape compression and mastering plugs such as Waves or Slate etc I can't get close to the open and warm sound that Harrison gives it with very little tweaking. Seriously I couldn't believe it myself.


    If you think about it Harrison have more experience making consoles than other DAW makers so they have all that dithering and gain staging stuff sorted.

  • If you think about it Harrison have more experience making consoles than other DAW makers so they have all that dithering and gain staging stuff sorted.


    Hummm.... I'd say not necessarily so. Gain staging, yes. But I don't think that's a software issue, more of a operator error issue :-) And dither is only relevant in the digital realm, so I don't think they have an edge there. Finally, recreating analogue sound in the digital realm is more of a coding issue, so again... I'd say they don't have any kind of leg up on the competition there. Only in workflow with it being built-in.


    I'm not saying that their software doesn't sound great - just saying that their background isn't of much help to them in my view (which is purely speculation, by the way)

  • Hummm.... I'd say not necessarily so. Gain staging, yes. But I don't think that's a software issue, more of a operator error issue :-) And dither is only relevant in the digital realm, so I don't think they have an edge there. Finally, recreating analogue sound in the digital realm is more of a coding issue, so again... I'd say they don't have any kind of leg up on the competition there. Only in workflow with it being built-in.


    I'm not saying that their software doesn't sound great - just saying that their background isn't of much help to them in my view (which is purely speculation, by the way)


    What makes Mixbus sound better? What are the "well known flaws" of other workstations?


    The Mixbus mix engine was crafted by the same engineers who make our ultra-fidelty high-end consoles; both analog and digital. When our company made the transition from analog to digital, we had to guarantee that our digital consoles sounded as good as their analog counterparts. Working with high-end facilities and mixing engineers has allowed us to refine digital mixing techniques for over 2 decades. Most DAW developers spent that period focusing on plugins, file management, editing, and similar tasks. Mixbus uses the Ardour open-source workstation platform for those details, and it allows us to focus our attention on the mixing engine.


    The DAW+Plugin paradigm was invented when computers were far too slow to process an EQ on every track. Plugins were a compromise that solved the problem: users were allowed to add EQ to the tracks where they were deemed most important. Early DAW developers were also unlikely to have in-house DSP engineers, so utilizing 3rd party specialists was a welcome solution. These compromises were only intended to solve the immediate problems that faced early DAW developers, but they became so ingrained that the original intent of "recreating a studio workflow" was lost. They threw out the baby with the bath water!


    From a technical standpoint, it is our opinion that the gross defects in many workstations include internal clipping, lacking dither stages in the DSP processing, insufficent ramping of dsp coefficients, multiple bit-depth/format conversions, out-of-control gain stages causing plugins to work outside their intended range, routing choices that cause latency/timing errors, inability to see meters such as compressor gain reduction without opening the plugin dialog, and poor user-interface integration.


    Of course different workstations will exhibit these problems to different degrees. Our goal was to design a mixer using the "best practices" that we have developed over the course of 40 years. Multiple subtle design decisions, accumulated over a long history, allows Mixbus mixes to sound better than other DAWs.