Archives For Reviews

Reviews of the latest audio hardware and software.

TapeHead VSTIf you’re a regular subscriber to Cobalt Audio, you will know that we love doing Massey plugin reviews simply because their plugins sound great and are so useable. So you can understand how excited we are to announce that they are releasing a range of VST plugins!

Up until now Massey have exclusively written RTAS plugins for Pro Tools, but they will be rolling out vst versions throughout the year. That means that if your DAW can run VST plugins, you need to go and try Tapehead out!


The first plugin to be released as a VST is the Tapehead Saturator.

Tapehead is right in line with Massey’s track record. It’s dead simple to use, it sounds great and as always it’s free to demo for as long as you like!

Continue Reading…

Massey CT5

Massey Plugins have recently released the new CT5 compressor plugin, which is very much based on the earlier CT4 but with a few tweaks and added features. As with all of Massey’s plugins the CT5 is very clean sounding, simple to use and inexpensive.

Continue Reading…

Massey DRTv2

We are very fond of Massey Plugins, not least for their excellent L2007 limiter. Their most recent offering is the DRT v2.0, an updated version of their Drum Replacement Tool plugin for Pro Tools. It’s just what you want if you need to replace your kick or snare sound in a recording, or maybe blend in some samples with what you already have. The plugin can analyze an individual mic channel and give you editable MIDI patterns, or you can use it to print samples straight to an audio track directly from the plugin.

As with all Massey plugins the DRT v2.0 is completely free to demo for as long as you like, and when you buy a license you get control over things like manual trigger editing and the MIDI output notes (useful if you use a separate sampler).

So let’s take a look at it:

Continue Reading…

sE X1r

sE Electronics have taken the tough steel grill and non-slip finished chassis from the existing  X1 condenser mic, and fitted it with a ribbon to produce the sE X1R. It may seem strange to completely redesign the mechanics and electronics of a microphone and then house it in an old body, but there is a good reason for that. Usually ribbon microphones are delicate, easily damaged by being dropped and the actual diaphragms are notorious for collapsing or tearing at high volume, but the X1R is not your usual ribbon microphone – this one’s robust.

Continue Reading…

sm58 vs beta 58

The Shure SM58 has been the go-to mic in home and professional studios alike for decades, because it’s cheap, versatile and reliable.

Alongside the SM range, Shure also make PG and Beta series microphones. The PG series are essentially cheaper versions of each SM model, and the Beta series are basically a premium version. But if the reliable old SM58 was so great, should we really upgrade to the Beta 58A?

At first glance, the new Beta mic looks very similar to the original but it costs nearly half as much again. So what’s the difference and is it worth the extra cost?

Continue Reading…

ssl lmc1

The SSL LMC-1 is a free VST plugin which recreates the ‘listen mic’ compression that was built into SSL ‘E’ series desks. The compressor was originally put in the talkback channel from the studio to the control room. You needed to be able to hear someone on the other side of the room as someone standing next to the mic, so the compressor needed a very high compression ratio. It didn’t need to fulfill any other function, so a fixed attack and release was perfectly adequate.

For a while, that was its only function until an engineer named Hugh Padgham was using the listen mic channel to talk to Phil Colins in the studio, who then started to drum. Hugh liked what he heard, and a new drum sound was created! You can read the full story as part of this article.

Continue Reading…

dusty vinyl

Vinyl has been a somewhat controversial issue since the introduction of the audio CD, because there are various pros and cons of each media. The primary argument of any vinyl-phile is that it’s analogue so there’s no quantization error, or digital-to-analogue-conversion distortion. However, the big downside is that they don’t stay perfect for long. They are notorious for gathering dust and being scratched, which because it’s analogue means the dust creates ‘spits’ in the audio and scratches create a repetitive thump.

Since then, engineers have been replicating that sound as an effect to create an atmosphere of history, authenticity or just a lo-fi  kind of sound.

Continue Reading…

uhbik A

U-he have sent us a collection of nine various plugin effects and tools. Uhbik plugins are mostly conventional, but implemented in a new or unconventional way. This break from tradition is probably their biggest strength, but could easily discourage you from actually parting with money for something you are unfamiliar with.

However don’t let this put you off because once you have got the hang of them, they are more versatile than most of their competition and they sound good too. They come packed with an extensive range of presets, most of which show off how many different things you can do with the plugins, and some that you could use every day. They are vst plugins which you can use in mono, stereo or up to 8 channel surround.

Continue Reading…


If you are looking for useful mixing tools to add to your plugin collection, then the Bittersweet II plugin from Flux is definitely worth a look. It’s a transient modulator, which basically allows you to beef up or smooth out the ‘punch’ or attack of an instrument, which works well on acoustic guitars etc. and is particularly useful for drums.

In terms of compatibility Bittersweet comes in VST, RTAS and AU formats, so will integrate with any professional recording software, and just like the Massey L2007 and CT4, it’s free!

Continue Reading…

Massey CT4

If you came across our review of the Massey L2007, you probably got the impression that Massey have got a great thing going. And you’d be right, so here’s another of their creations; the CT4 compressor. It’s very much along the same lines as the L2007,  it’s simple to use as you can see from the image, and not only that but it sounds great too.

Continue Reading…