This is another Brainworx plugin that’s available through Plugin Alliance. The plugin offers a Mix and a Master version. The only different being the Mix is “mono” having half the buttons as the Master. The Master has twice knobs for stereo, with a set of buttons for left and another set for right, and the ability to link them. It can also do Mid/Side instead of Stereo, since that’s all the rage (which is useful for bass heavy mixes like Hip Hop and EDM.)
The “Drive” knob is used to set the saturation, and is ideal on the Mix Bus. By default, it creates a gentler harmonic distortion (uneven) that is good for adding “color” to the mix. Adjust the Mix knob to treat it like parallel harmonic distortion across the entire mix. The “Gain” knob is used to adjust the output gain, so you can treat it like makeup gain if any volume is lost, or more likely, to turn it down if the distortion becomes too much.
The FET shred mode changes the harmonic overtones to more of an even harmonic sound, giving it the sound of a tube amp. While Turbo Boost will pump this effect up even more. This is probably better used on individual instruments than on the entire mix, unless you are going for an industrial type of effect on the whole mix. You’ll use the “Drive” knob to set the amount, and adjust the “Gain” to lower or reduce the overall volume.
The “Color” knob will adjust the “frequency relation” and is described as turning left for more “dub” and right for more “shred”.
Here’s an example of just a clean piano, first with the default gain applied, and then FET Shred and Turbo Boost so that you get a sense of what it does.
Here’s a bass track with the “Crank the Sides” preset as the starting point. An analyzer shows new frequencies at 7.5kHz. (Probably not so much new, as boosted, but unable to be seen in Logic Pro X’s Channel EQ.) This can be useful for Bass that gets lost. In Hip-Hop and EDM the kick and 808 subs can be difficult to hear on small speakers, so this is a way to bring up the higher end, allowing them to be heard on computer speakers and ear buds.
Here a bit of mid/side is applied to the drums with some FET Crush.
Here are the the tracks together as a song, first with no Elysia Karacter applied, and then with it enabled on each track. With some measure, it adds some fuzz and warmth without over doing it.
While it won’t be replacing foot pedals anytime soon, it could be useful for fiddling with distortion on guitar tracks. Here’s an example of a clean guitar, and then the Karacter applied with FET Shred. You can hear it’s in the ballpark of an amp or foot pedal emulation. I could see getting a printed track with some amp saturation already on it, and needing to tweak it further. The Karacter could be of use.
Check out our other plugin reviews.
The plugin is OK. I think there are better options to do this kind of thing, like the Vertigo or SPL offerings. I found the subtle to be too subtle, almost non-existent, and then it could get too extreme with some odd artifacts introduced, making it unusable. Perhaps with time you could learn the nuances and put it to good use. I like to start with the provided presets to see if it has any immediate uses, and nothing really blew me away. I’d put this toward the bottom of your list of plugins to acquire. If you were looking to buy the actual Elysia Karacter hardware unit, then I’d recommend getting this plugin (on sale) first before dropping too much coin so see if it really suits your needs.
Check out our other reviews of Plugin Alliance plugins.