Should I Buy It? – House of Kush Review
This week we’ve got a real treat for you, we’ll be covering more than half of Kush Audio’s entire lineup of audio plugins. Kush Audio has been in the game awhile and they have always created high-quality products, so, we decided to try out as much as of the product line as we could. In the video below Yeuda goes over NINE plugins that range from mixing tools like EQs and compressors to Harmonic sweeteners and a Reverb. He gives you realtime examples on a track he’s been producing. Watch below, and read our breakdown below that.
The Novatron is a Varitone Tube Compressor that models a combination of classic analog compressors. It features a straightforward interface that puts your focus on the Attack, Compress (this is also the Threshold), and Release knobs. Those are the heart of this plugin.
If you take a closer look you will notice that both Attack and Release have not only time measurements, but types of compression within the dial face. That is a pretty handy feature and introduces a style-based approach to the compression settings. No need to choose the speed based on time, just select which compression style you’re looking for. This approach would work for veterans and novices who are familiar with the different types of compression out there.
The two smaller knobs will let you shape the tone of your output signal quite heavily. On the left is Compression Mode – choose between Punish, Limit, and Mix. Those settings are true to their labels and what you assume they will do. On the right is the Tone Shift knob – choose between Airy, Dark, and Flat. These will affect the frequency spectrum output in a fantastic way, they will really add character to your tone.
Our only gripe with this plugin was the iLok requirement, and that the Saturation unit can introduce some weird artifacts while being automated.
Reddi is a plugin modeled after the original analog REDDI boxes, the result is a wonderful emulation with lots of tubey fuzz. It would seem counter-intuitive to use a virtual DI box on any audio signal but it lives up to the reputation of the hardware it was inspired by. It is meant to be inserted into the beginning of any chain to beef up your signal and it has absolutely no problem doing that.
It is incredibly simple to use given that there are only two knobs and switches each. If you want more volume then turn the Level knob, if you want more bass turn the Bass knob. Boom. Easy. Flip the phase if you need to, and you can even decrease by 20 dB if you need to open up the headroom. It has the uncanny ability to make the signal richer and more organic, even if it was sourced from digital components. We say this is a must-have if purchasing anything from Kush.
The Omega Transformer 458A emulates a tube-powered transformer. There isn’t much to the interface aside from the Intensity knob, the Phase button, and the -20 db pad button. It’s a very simple plugin to use if you’re looking to add a bit of warmth to your audio. We suspect it will be very useful on high-frequency content to smooth out any harshness.
It really is a proper emulation of Tube hardware. There is nothing simpler than a one-knob kind of plugin, this is so simple it there isn’t even a manual for it. We pose the question, “is it TOO simple?” to those of you out there. Often it’s nice to have a bit more control over tone for an appropriate increase in price but with this plugin, we’re not sure if there is a right answer. Let us know your thoughts!
Electra DSP is an Electrified Transient Equalizer plugin. What the heck does that mean? Well, it’s a 4-band equalizer that has especially fast attack speed and it is BEAUTIFUL. It opens up anything you put it on. The plugin has such a musical quality to it that we highly recommend it as your next EQ purchase.
As far as the interface goes, it’s your run-of-the-mill equalizer unit. There are band-knobs and volume knobs. You can use the knobs or the sliders, either way, to select the frequency focus of the middle 2 bands. The first is a high shelving filter so you can select the frequency there. The fourth band is a high-pass/low-shelf so you can only select the cutoff frequencies and switch between the modes.
If you have a 500 series rack setup or a Lunchbox power unit then you should definitely consider getting the hardware unit. It operates just as easily and sounds just as lovely, if not more.
The Hammer DSP is tube-modeled equalizer, with similar sparkle as the Electra DSP. The Hammer has a different layout, this time opting for a horizontal array of band-pass knobs. It is dual-channel, which means something. We can’t quite be sure because there is no info button and no manual provided on the website. The channels seem to be linked so if you move knobs on the left side they will move on the right as well.
Regardless, the plugin has an incredible way of adding shimmer to high-end and fullness to the low-end without interference between the two. It just sounds so damn good, we recommend you try this out.
The Omega Transformer Model A is modeled after the legendary API mixing consoles. How does it live up to the legends? It reproduces the inherent characteristics of the API modules quite well. For some, it may be too subtle of an effect, but those who know they want it it shall work.
This is again another extremely simple plugin, so much so that we wonder if combining it into a single plugin with the other Omega units would be more useful. It’s quite affordable however so we’re not complaining.
The Omega Transformer Model N is based on the original Neve console transformers. As with the other Omega units form Kush, this plugin is extremely simple to use. There is only a single knob – Intensity – that will increase the power of the transformer. It sounds like the Neve console, but like the Model A, it has a subtle effect.
If you want a simple plugin that will add some subtle warmth to your audio check this out.
Goldplate is a plate reverb plugin with some unique distortion and other parameters worth tweaking. There is a built-in saturator which we love, it’s a nice saturator and it has a tangible effect on the sound. There is also built-in dynamics control – not all reverbs have this – which works quite well. The coolest feature we found was the Material spectrum. There you can slide between two different materials, Steel and Gold, to tell the plugin how to vibrate the signal.
We really like how smooth it sounded when automating, not many reverbs can accomplish that. Another very useful feature is the parameter lock button. Click it to reveal a list of the parameters you can lock at their current knob positions. Lock something then switch to a different preset and it will remain at that position, nice.
Clariphonic is a parallel equalizer plugin that emulates Kush’s hardware unit of the same name. It is a fantastic recreation of the hardware as it is true to the sound. While it was designed with Mastering in mind, it opens up and brightens your whole mix, individual tracks, whatever you put it on. It really has the power to reshape your entire mix with the adjustment of a few settings.
The settings on the plugin are mirrored on both sides, Focus and Clarity knobs being the main controls. There are a number of other switches that affect the frequencies being emphasized. This one is another must-have for us, check it out you’ll wish you had sooner.
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