Slated for ExcellenceThe release of a channel strip plug-in doesn’t typically generate a lot of excitement, but it sure has in the case of Slate Digital’s Virtual Mix Rack (VMR). Slate’s hardware emulations are considered among the best in the industry, and VMR offers a flexible suite of processors in a virtual 500 series rack…
My configuration : 3rd gen iCore 5 laptop with 12GB RAM + UR 242. Used to mix my first EP – along with other plugs, of course.
Very stable, but it takes long to start. Not CPU-hungry, which is great.
It’s very easy to use, provided you know what an EQ and a compressor are.
The concept of a rack allowing to switch the plugs’ place is pure genius and allows to work your audio chain…
At first I was a bit surprised by the sound of the plugs – before that I only used free plugins, including the Reaplugs, plus a few paid ones such as the CLA which I soon got tired of.
Tweaking the settings, I managed to find THE sound that comes well for each instrument, and instead of using truckloads of plugins a few ones are enough – a VMR EQ, a comp, then also Revival which contributes to carving the sound.
In the end, my virtual drums have THE sound, and I use each of my VSTis like real instruments in the mix – which works wonder. You’d put it everywhere, so you have to take care to avoid overdosing!
The alliance of VMR to Native Instruments (the "solid" suite and "transient master") and reaplug plugins allow me to get the sound I was after with my humble solo home studio artist level. I’m finally satisfied with my sound, and I’m finally gonna be able to release my own record (I’m going to do everything, music, texts, arranging, recording, mixing – all except mastering). For such a price, this pack of plugins is really great – though not exempt of faults…
One of these is the violence of the sound : you soon get everything distorted, especially on the Neve EQ replica which preamp really is heavy-handed. Thankfully, Slate also provides a free trimmer plugin, which integrates within VMR.
Something else : the compressor (FG116) is great, but it seems to “darken” the vocals, so I prefer the “reacomp” plugin which sounds cleaner and less “violent” to my taste (I find its threshold setting to be more progressive, allowing for a lighter compression – more “refined” I’d say, even if I still don’t know the FG116 that well and my opinion might change as I use it more). Anyway, that depends on the music you make, as the FG116 will perfectly suit heavy rock and works wonder on drum tracks when associated with the Neve emulation: the drums stand out of the mix easier than ever!
As for the “SSL” EQ, it makes a great job to add frequences or take them away, and if ReaEQ can’t do the job properly on any given material I’ll use the “SSL” instead. On vocals, it also provides all that’s needed.
Not so many features, but the essential is here – and it’s really well done. For serious mix work, I’d say this plugin is a must-have to give your mixes both punch and color.
Value-for-money is excellent to me, as i got a double discount when i bought it from jrr shop – i paid it almost half off compared with the price anywhere else, so i don’t regret seizing that opportunity. I had used it in trial mode for 15 days before deciding to buy.