Neo Preamp is reminiscent of a vintage channel strip which not only boosts or cuts the audio signal, but also adds "things" to it. Many of us remember any given “this or that” piece of vintage gear that would add a certain ‘color’ to a recording. This is exactly what Neo Preamp was created to do. By modeling several famous vintage units, both for Neo Dynamic and Neo Preamp, Sound Magic has found “something” that works well for them.
Part of the Neo Series Giveaway, here on Reviewer's Revival!
That “something” was the catalyst for the development of Neo Preamp. SoundMagic even purport to have cloned the on-board EQ of those vintage units, incorporating special-shaped Baxandall EQs into Neo Preamp. With this feature, when you tweak the low or high bands with Neo Preamp, you can produce even more color to your sound.
Well . . . that’s what SoundMagic claims. Is it true? I don’t own any SSL, Neve, or Harrison bus hardware to make direct comparisons with; I have fairly keen ears though, and I really enjoy the sound of this plug-in. I am particularly fond of what it can do for a lacklustre vocal track. I’ve been doing this whole “sound thing” for a long time. I started playing with my father’s old Phillips 4-track reel-to-reel recorder when I was 14. North Star running shoes were “in” back then, and Adidas wasn’t ‘retro’; it just ‘was’.*grin. This nifty plug-in really does put an honest-to-goodness vintage, anolog ‘vibe’ into your mix.
The resultant, subtle “analog ish” saturation and ‘color’ that Neo Preamp puts on your digital “clean” recording is very pleasant. You won’t notice any harsh, grainy sounds or over-exaggerated distortion.
The GUI design will annoy some, but will bring a grin to the faces of others. I’m in the ‘grinning’ camp. The plug-in is a nice size (almost 800px wide, by 600px high) and fits nicely on high-res monitors. The photo-realistic interface is well-detailed and is very nicely complimented by the dynamically changing “glow” of the virtual tubes. It can actually be kind of kool n’ fun to “watch”. As you drive the input signal up, the tubes glow a darker shade of orange. The sliders and knobs are clearly marked and are sized comfortably. The overall look is very 3D ish and photo-realistic. I like it – it’s a unique take on the concept. €49/$64 (USD)
Brother Charles is a freelance writer, Gospel artist and minister. Charles had been a professional touring musician during the nineties; working primarily as a lead guitarist in the Canadian country music industry. Brother Charles is also involved with music production and quality home recording.
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