Softube Drawmer S73 A Plug-in Review
Let me start out by saying that I am a fan of modeled compressors and equalizers. As of late the accuracy has become astonishing. When I first heard that Softube is modeling the Drawmer 1973 about two months ago it really peeked my interest. I love my Softube FET compressor a lot, I have been using it for a few years now. The Drawmer S73 compressor is the newest release from Softube and it is a plug-in recreation of the award winning Drawmer 1973 FET multi three band compressor, Softube added some nice goodies like the STYLE and AIR settings. It is formatted for AAX Native, DSP, VST, VST 3, AU, RTAS. for both MAC/PC with a price of $89.00.
I decided to try out the 20 day fully function demo in my studio, I put in on the Master 2 buss of a few songs that in mixed at my studio. The first is an unplugged style rock song. The second is an R&B dance style song. On the rock song I found it really nice at opening up the mix, I used two of them on my Master 2 buss output. The first one I placed in the Gentle setting of the STYLE section and the second one in the Wide Mix setting of the STYLE setting. What I like a lot about this compressor is its simplicity and power. You do not need to use much to get great results. I found myself never going pass 60 percent on the AMOUNT knob. I found that keeping the percentage below 45 percent gets my a real nice result. Anything over that really brings out the grit. In an unplugged rock song I am not really after grit so much, however as the song started to really kick in the compressor did bring out a nice analog warmth that added to my mix nicely. The AIR switch works great to add some sheen to a dull mix, but be careful because it may make you think about adding a de-esser to your vocal tracks. The STYLE section is very well thought out and seems to fit well into the styles that they are representing. The styles are Clarity 1, Clarity 2, Neutral, Gentle Comp, More Air, De-Rumble, Punch, Wide Mix, Ambience, and Vocal Enhance. Out of all of these styles they pretty much say what they are doing. I found the vocal enhance style really useful if I am mastering a mix that I do not have access to session with the mult-tracks. This is almost always the case when mastering, you sometimes think why didn't they bring up the vocals, this artist has a great voice? Well, the vocal enhance is perfect for that. Just be careful this is best used for miner adjustments.
The second song that I tried it out on was a R&B song that featured a cool dance vibe. I again keep going back to loading two of these in my Master 2 buss output. I placed the Clarity 2 style followed by the DE- Rumble style. This really worked great for taking out the muddy sound and at the same time getting the vocals and brass to really sparkle. There are a lot of great possibitilies with this compressor. I played around with all the styles and I found that you can get some nice grit giving your mix energy when called on. I am a fan of using these chained in series together in the Master 2 buss. I simply just use two inserts and load two of them. The folks over at Softube did a wonderful job on this terriifc plug-in and I recomend picking one up when you get a chance. Just remember, on this compressor a little goes a long way, it is VERY easy to over compress your mix with this beast.
4.5 out of 5 Stars
Drew Puzia is a multi-award winning Mix Engineer at SoundBurst Studios in Las Vegas. Drew is certified in Audio Engineering from the world renowned Berklee College of Music. His experience spans over three decades in the music industry and he has recorded and mixed countless musicians in many genres of music.