How does this sound to you… a set of totally awesome FREE plug-ins (that is, with an unlimited demo period), and if you want to have settings that are savable, automation and bypass mode you can buy each program for between $69 and $89?  Sound amazing?  Well, that’s the deal with Massey Plug-ins (www.masseyplugins.com).  The idea behind Steven Massey’s company is that you’ll use his plug-ins and love them so much that eventually you’ll want to buy them (dirt cheap, for what you get) to get the full functionality.  That’s exactly what happened to me with the L2007 Mastering Limiter.

I’m not a mastering engineer, but I do at times master tracks for people.  Even when I’m putting together a mix I always try to throw a compressor/limiter combination on the Master output so that I have a sense of what it will sound like after it’s been mastered.  The idea is that once a song or album is mixed you bring it to a mastering engineer to have him or her put the finishing touches on it.  They try to get a good EQ balance that stays consistent from song to song, and they compress and/or limit the stereo track to make it competitively loud against other records out there.

The second part of that process, the making-it-louder part, is where a mastering limiter comes into play.  I have messed around with many buss compressors/limiters and the L2007 is amazing.  It has four different modes (Loud, Mellow, Smooth and Vibrant) that determine which algorithm the L2007 uses and how it goes about compressing the signal.  Each one has its own vibe and it’s easy to find one that suits the material you’re working with.  Likewise, the release function determines how quickly it recovers from hitting the threshold and each time setting (Normal, Fast, Medium and Slow) affects the overall “glueyness” of the track.  Obviously, the Threshold sets the level at which it starts going to work on the track and the Max Output determines the hotness of the final output.

The L2007 is easy to use and it gives you top-notch results.  Every engineer I know uses some sort of buss compression and everyone loves the L2007.  I’ve had the L2007 for a while and used it for free, but the last track I was mastering I ended up needing to automate the Threshold.  The track got a lot louder at the end and one consistent setting made the end part sound over-compressed.  So, I dropped the $89 and I felt great about it – I love the program, I use it all the time and it didn’t break the bank.

I’ve tried other Massey Plug-ins and they are great.  Check them all out at www.masseyplugins.com.

by Michael Vecchio