PA-SoundWide Review

Alexander Lindo is no stranger to Plugin Alliance or iZotope and that can easily be proven when viewing his projects. He is not the type of person who tends to accumulate plugins needlessly, however after reading that Plugin Alliance have now joined forces with iZotope and Native Instruments through a new conglomerate called SoundWide and as a result was offering complete fully-functional perpetual “state-of-the-art” plugins for free as of consequence, he had to check them out. Through this initiative, he was able to grab the bx_console Focusrite SC plugin for free (which is normally sold by Plugin-Alliance for USD$350). It is an emulation of the rare Focusrite Studio Console made by the late Rupert Neve in 1985 for Sir George Martin of Air Montserrat. His studio was utilized by legends such as Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson, Elton John among many others. Alexander also acquired the plugin emulation of the coveted Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor for free, which normally retails at just under USD$10,000 for the hardware unit along with the famed Blackbox HG-2, which is also a faithful emulation of the hardware unit that retails for USD$3500.

Upon utilizing the plugins he obtained he did however encounter a discrepancy while using the them in Logic Pro X 10.7 under Big Sur. He filed a bug report with Plugin Alliance, who notified him that they were aware of the issue and are working on a fix. Being the person that Alexander is, he could not “learn to live with it” until then and thus did some research to better ascertain the cause of the problem.

This led him to a Reddit post in the r/Logic_Studio community. In this post the user claims to have been having UI lag ever since Logic Pro X 10.6 on Big Sur and choose to stay on 10.5.1 because of it.

He eventually found this post: where the developer confirms that the issue is caused due to the fact that in Big Sur, Apple has changed the default contents format for the backing layers of NSView. The developer states that instead of an explicit CALayerContentsFormat.RGBA8Uint value, an Automatic value is now used.

In order to resolve the graphics issue, in Terminal enter the following command, hit enter and restart Logic Pro X:

defaults write NSViewUsesAutomaticLayerBackingStores -bool false

This command will revert NSView back to its default behavior, prior to Big Sur which will in-turn resolve the graphics issues.

The hardware that these plugins emulate are truly remarkable and armed with patented TMT (tolerance modeling technology) the plugins created by Dirk and the talented folks Brainworx faithfully captures that. The tonality that the Focusrite SC can impart on the elements of a mix is truly first-class and the experience is nothing short of that. Combine that with the pristine yet solid Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor with its dual Opto / VCA compressors combined with its 3 stages of harmonic distortion and you are off to the races. These plugins are truly state-of-the-art and definitely worth utilizing in your projects. Logic Pro X is one of the most comprehensive DAWs available and these plugins compliment it very well.

In a market that has become oversaturated with plugin manufactures, In a market where the majority seem to be seem to lack direction, In a market where DAW and plugin manufactures are mindlessly attaching ludicrous system requirements to their software, further isolating themselves, In a market where some software companies have now exclusively resorted to extortion plans, eliminating the ability to own, Plugin Alliance must be commended for standing their ground, creating unique, high quality plugins that are not running competitions to see who can render our computers and engineers obsolete way before their time.

Until the month of June, through the SoundWide initiative you can obtain the bx_digital V3 among several other industry standard plugins by Plugin Alliance, iZotope, and Native Instruments for USD$50. Do check them out!