Any fans of IK T-Racks?

I just got the crossgrade as IK was running special and I had some credits left.
Had the original T-Racks and was quite happy with it at the time. Anyone have/try T-Racks Max? I am wondering how that’ll compare to Ozone which I also got recently as I needed to beef up my mastering options.
From what I see the cool thing about T-Racks is that I can use inside the DAW as a separate plugins its eqs, compressors, etc. Ozone is a huge resource hog, so bad that I have to max out my latency and still clips occasionally so I’ll have to master blind.

You should have a standalone application with T-Racks 5 that is specifically designed for mastering. There’s also a TR5 Suite which is kind of like a plugin rack where you create a gain-stage chain or mastering flow in the DAW. I don’t have Max, but picked up some extra plugins during their awesome group-buy thing last year.

I love their plugs,one of the best 1176 plugs going and i use the tape delay all the time .

I jumped in on the Group Buy last year too. I like the plugins but find their whole “ecosystem” quite convoluted and confusing… Still, nice plugins. :slightly_smiling_face:



So far I like this so much better than Ozone. I don’t know what it is, maybe the old school feel or the fact that I’ve used their old suite, which I think wasn’t even IK back at the time…don’t know, I still have it on my old studio Windows XP machine that gets opened up once in a while.

I found I can pump more overall volume thru the Sound Forge 10 and Ozone plugins for that I had at the time so the T-Racks got abandoned for a bit as it had quite a few limitations. Now they’ve opened it up so well tha I had to do the crossgrade. I am finding so many good standalone plugins as well as the whole suite just killer.

I am a bit confused on how to use it to achieve no clipping as Ozone has an option to put limiter last in the chain and set to hard at - 0.1db so it doesn’t overshoot :slight_smile:
It’s getting there…definitely enjoying T-Racks 5 MAX so far.

Yep, big fan of the IK stuff - particularly the compressors.

I used the neve EQs a lot in the past, I think I slightly prefer the Black Rooster '73 pre for that these days, but their newer utility EQ is perfectly usable at the Master EQ is fantastic.

Yes, some of the compressors are superb, especially the vintage emulation, super happy with this so far.

The Bus Compressor is supposed to be an emulation of the SSL Bus Compressor, the Dyna-Mu is supposed to be an emulation of the Manley Vari-Mu, and the Precision Comp/Limiter is supposed to be an emulation of the Neve 33609. I really like all 3, though the Dyna-Mu I’m still trying to get my head around as to what it’s best on. The others fell right into place.

I feel the same with the dyna-mu - I can’t quite get a handle on it. The bus comp is great for getting some punch going on, the precision comp is a bit softer, more glue-ey and seems to emphasise the mids a little.

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So the 33609 is a diode bridge compressor that’s great on a 2 bus and similar in Vibe to the Focusrite Red 3 in that it compresses gently without digging. On the rare occasions where I track in a large studio, I love to use it on orchestras and choirs. Here (in the picture below) are the settings I typical start with for 2 bus use. All the studios I track film scores at have at least one of these. All of them also have SSL 9000J’s. When we were screwing around after the sessions were over, I was able to pick the 33609 apart from the SSL bus comp pretty consistently on a digitally level matched, bounced/printed blind test in the actual control room.

Again, when I use this on the 2 bus, its never pop or rock. Its always either film scores, musical theater stuff, or church choirs.

I don’t use the T-racks but I use the UAD version of the Vari-Mu regularly. I shouldn’t say regularly because I’m hardly recording any music these days. But I when I did it was a go-to. So the Vari-Mu is a modernized offshoot of the Fairchild. Same type of circuit. The signature sound is created by the internal tubes re-biasing on a timed basis. The tubes re-bias automatically according to the program information (volume and frequency content) of the incoming audio source.

A super layman way of thinking about this compressor is that it self-adapts to whatever it hears.

What this means is it doesn’t create the slam and punch of an 1176 or distressor. It gives you a smooth, super transparent, and highly controlled ‘feel’ of compression. This is because the mechanism that causes it to compress reacts to program information ‘slower’. An 1176 and Distressor can be slowed down, but when they slow down, they don’t sound the same. I use the Vari-Mu on southern gospel vocals, opera singers, broadway style vocalists, acoustic pianos, and pipe organs. Where you want the compression to sound almost unprocessed. I don’t ever use this to control dynamics. In my opinion there are much better compressors than a Vari-Mu which can be placed infront in order to achieve the same level of transparency. The Vari-Mu is NOT a leveling amp. If you want a transparent leveling amp, but one that’s uber transparent, the 33609 can actually do this because of its Dual Stage design. Same with the Shadow Hills Mastering Comrpessor. (The 33609 has a comp stage/limit stage, the Shadow Hills has a opti/discrete stage)

So for dynamic control with grit, edge, character, and dirt. 1176 ->LA2A or Distressor -> LA2A for me. For Transparency 33609 -> VariMu/Fairchild or Shadow Hills->VariMu/Fairchild. Chandler Limited comps also fall into this category.

Your half-way-in-between compressor might be your API2500 or TubeTech CL1B. Other option are a Summit Audio or Elysia which have accurate models available as plugins.

Hey @Tesgin… we talked about some of this stuff a while back. Thought you might find some of this dialogue helpful - I know you like to sort of classify and categorize how things function and organize :slight_smile:

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I find it quite interesting because I use IK’s fairchild quite regularly - especially on vocals. I guess I’ve just got to spend more time with the vari-mu.

Same concept, same technology, same general type of circuit. But a VERY different sound. Both are jam packed full of tubes (A variable Mu compressor by definition requires tubes) and both have similar strengths and weaknesses. But again, the sonic imprint should be entirely different.

I wonder part of the issue is that the T-racks version isn’t real dead-accurate to the particular strengths of the Manley hardware. I’m not suggesting it ought to be, but if it is, it helps to give an idea of where and how you can apply it.

Try the Vari-Mu on a drum bus. I think Paul has a real one, and he uses his there a lot. If you don’t have content that has pianos, real choirs, and strings, you could could try it on background vocal busses BUT UNLINK THE TWO SIDES!! lol. I really don’t use the Vari-Mu on often on vocals, but I agree with you that the FairChild is a rockstar on in this application. When it comes to vocals, if I want a Manley sounding object in the lead vocal chain, I have a VoxBox that typically lives at the front. That’ll end up feeding a UAD LA-2A most of the time. The compressor circuit on the VoxBox is somewhat similar to Vari-Mu but its tweaked to be faster. Its super super transparent though. In this case I find it necessary to run a color and grit compressor behind the Voxbox sometimes.

In the pic it looks like your Comp threshold is +8 to +10, wouldn’t it be acting more like an Expander with a positive threshold like that?

Thanks for all the info, I’ll have to try it more things.

That’s not really a positive threshold. Its just how the knobs are labeled. I basically start with it all the way up (which would be like all the way down on an SSL) then get it to 2-4 db of GR. Remember that this thing was designed for use in radio stations and that’s why the signal hits the limiter stage first before the compressor. What Neve had in mind was if the announcer suddenly shouts into the mic the limiter catches the abrupt transient before sending it to the compression stage. Fab Dupont and Yoad Nevo have some videos out there where they do a 2 compressor thing where a limiter (but not a brick wall limiter) first anchors the vocal in place (so it doesn’t go anywhere) and then a compressor follows. The 33609 kind of does that, but all in 1 unit. And like other vintage hardware (LA-2A for example) people gradually discovered that some stuff built for broadcast sounded really freaking cool when used for recording)

That sort of goes with what I was saying to @Cirrus… Fairchild 660/670’s and Vari-Mu’s suck at dynamics control (in my opinion). Its just not their thing. And they’re also completely useless (again in my opinion) if you need a high precision surgical compressor like a Weiss, Millenia, Crane Song, or Shadow Hills.

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First mastering attempt on T-Racks:

Oooops…I chopped the intro a bit :slight_smile:


Did mix eq matching as I was curious what that’ll do, so I picked 3 songs in similar genre, then did a parallel compression as it was interesting to try it out, different comps and settings attenuated different things, kind of a neat trick.

So now if someone can explain LUFS to me, that’ll be great :slight_smile:

Also - can’t seem to pick up T-Racks in Studio One, I imagine that’s cause I am using the 32bit version of Studio One?

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The TR5 “One” unit is a type of mastering or all-in-one processor, so in parallel with the Black 76 seems like an odd combination to me. Could produce unusual effects?

A newer loudness measuring standard. Read around and see what your style of music recommends and then experiment with what you like. Kinda/sort like RMS or the Dynamic Range meter scale, but it’s been defined for a broadcasting and streaming benchmark. I think for “dynamic music” (not heavily compressed) LUFS 14 may be a good one to try. For metal and heavy rock you could go up to 9 or 10 LUFS, though some wouldn’t recommend that. It depends on if someone is asking you to meet a standard, what your personal taste is, and if it’s hurting the music or not high enough for streaming services. Too high and they’ll turn your music down, too low and they may not touch it and it’ll sound weak. I think YouTube and Spotify recommend around -14 LUFS.

Yeah, it’s only 64-bit VST2 and VST3.

IK says theirs goes through the compressor first and then the limiter. It’s supposed to be closely modeled on the original, but I guess they chose to keep it a more standard configuration. Their GUI puts the compressor on top and limiter on bottom. It doesn’t mention the signal flow in the manual, but I found the YT video for it and they clarify it there.

Still playing around with it. Haven’t done paralel multicomp on master mix so that’s turning to be addictive.

I’ll check on lufs. Been using dynamic range forever so that had me baffled :slight_smile:

Next comes the T-Racks vs Ozone vs Studio One mastering tools comparison. Seems I’m more of a T-Racks kind of guy, like a new pair of shoes from a favorite manufacturer :wink:

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You CAN use your T-Racks and Izotope plugins on the Studio One Project page. Just sayin’…