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Slate Digital FG-X Review

Wazzup Dawfreaks
Before we start i want to wish you all a great new year!
Do you like me sometime struggle to get your master to sound in place well maybe the plugin we will look at to day might be something for you as Today we are going to look at a a plugin that is meant to aid us to get a perfect Master of our Songs, From Slate Digital i bring you the FG-X Virtual Mastering Processor.

Before we start i want to thank Slate digital for letting me do this review.

slate-digital-logo

The FG-X

FG-x 1
Slate Digital wanted to approach the ITP Mastering from a different angle and  wanted to create a plugin that would give that extra punch without killing the dynamics.
The FG-X Virtual Mastering Processor has a great GUI and comes with a Transparent  Stereo compressor (FG Comp), Limiter (FG Level) and Constant Gain Monitor (FG Level) and the metering system is based on a digital RMS meter and two channel VU meter.

 

System requirements For the FG-X

Dual Core Intel Processor, At Least 2 GB of RAM
Mac OS® X 10.5 or later
AU, RTAS, VST
(iLok2 Required)

Dual Core Intel or AMD Processor, At Least 2 GB RAM
Windows 7® (32/64 Bit)
RTAS, VST
(iLok2 Required)

Lets have a look at the GUI and controls of the FG-X

FG Comp

FG-x 1 
The first section of the FG-X is the FG Comp, A transparent Stereo Compressor that comes with a standard setup of controls for Attack, Release, Ratio and Threshold.

We also find a nice large In/out reduction meter something i personally like allot as it makes things easy to se without having to be up close to the Screen.

FG-x settings1
This image shows shows the configurations possible in the FG-Comp settings.

Test thoughts
When testing the sound of the FG Comp alone i fount the sound to be what it is said to be very transparent and this is really required when you push allot into it like a complete mix.

 

 

FG Level
FG-x 1


Control elements
LOpunch:  LOpunch can help lifting the kick back into the right place in the mix with just a small twist of a knob.

Detail: Detail can help lift things like a snare to its right place and ads clarity to give that extra clarity mixes can get a bit extra shine when the Detail feature is used right.

Gain: Ads volume and punch, but with the FG-x it also has a connection to the ITP so to gain the optimal result we need to tweak them both in parallel, and with the dither & ceiling settings we can set the final Celling level.

Dynamic perception: This is the magical knob, it helps keep the dynamics even though the audio is getting pushed  through a limiter.

 ITP: ITP Stands for Intelligent Transient Preservation and is a advanced and complex look ahead detection that analyzes the transients and adapts so the right saturation curve is applied for each transient and by so treating each transient different to give the best result as possible.

Constant GAIN monitoring: This decreases the output level to the same amount you ad on the Gain knob, this is meant to help us find out what the FG-X is actually doing to our Audio file.

Dither ON/ OFF: Adjusting if you want to use the FG-X Dithering feature, we can also adjust the dither depth from the Dither settings.

FG-x settings2FG-x settings3
These two images shows the configurations possible in the settings of the FG Level

Test thoughts
The FG Level is by far the best sounding and still easy to use Limiter i have used, The advanced control elements are spot on and tweaking makes a difference and the results are a nicely balanced Track. I really like what Slate and his crew has done here, The FG Level makes life easier for us people who still are learning and it can be a time saver for people who work with allot of songs and need a awesome Limiter.

 

The Metering section.

FG-x 1
On the bottom of FG-X we find a huge Barograph and two VU meters, The barograph displays the Peak and RMS output level and the VU meters shows the RMS Output level for Left and Right.

FG-x settings4
We can adjust a huge amount of options for the way these meters behave from the settings options and from the quick buttons 1, 2, 3.

 

Putting the FG-X to the test
Lately I have been digging deeper into how I can use Loops for different situations so I brought up a small tune that is using the nice Nine volt audio loops that comes with Studio One 2 professional, The drums in these samples are from the great Steven Slate Drums 4.

 

The first sample is without any plugin on the Master BUS.

 

The next example has the FG-X on the Master BUS.

 

 

Test thoughts
The FG-X is a great mastering tool, I took small steps in tweaking and I was quiet impressed with how things just blend better.

Conclusion
There are a other plugin  suites on the market that focus on MASTERING, iZotope Ozone, IK Multimedia T-racks and WaveArts Finalplug are some names you will read about when you start looking for a Master plugin. The FG-X is very advanced in the way it handles the audio but the controls are easy and with a bit of practice this will be the tool that will help you get that perfect balanced punchy sound. The price for the FG-X is $199.00 and that’s not a bad price at all for what u get.

Pros
+ Amazing sound
+ Low learning curve
+  The LOpunch Detail and Dynamic perception makes a difference

Cons
+ would have loved to se more presets from Mr. Slate included.

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