Since the Softube Saturation Knob is a free saturation plugin, there’s absolutely no reason not to try it. Plus with just one giant knob, it couldn’t be easier to use. There is also a toggle switch, with “Keep High”, “Neutral” and “Keep Low” that allows you to tweak it just a bit.
The following drum track has the Saturation knob set midway, and “Keep Low” is enabled to preserve the kick drum so less distortion is applied to it.
I do the exact opposite on the Trap drum track. I want to distort the kick, so the Saturation knob is a nice quick (and free) way to do that. However, I want the signature Trap Hi-Hat sound to be a crisp hi end, so I toggle the Saturation Type to “Keep High”.
This next example is admittedly a pretty bad bass track, but it illustrates the plugin well. A fairly clean 80s sounding synth bass line sounds a bit more modern with the fattening of the Softube Saturation Knob!
Here’s another Bass example because it’s just so good on bass. And it’s very flexible. Put about a quarter of the way up, it makes it sound better but not out of control. But set to a little more than half way, it gets very aggressive. So you really can go from subtle to obvious, and automating it for various parts of a song might not be a bad idea!
Check out this article for more ideas on adding saturation, distortion and harmonics to your tracks.
Now for some vocals. This is maxed out, all the way up, which can sound quite horrible, but can also be used for effect.
To show that it can be use to add character and thicken up a vocal, here is the main dry track out front, with the other two examples panned left and right, and the volume brought down on them.
Here is a female vocal example with their “Vocal Exciter” preset applied. It adds some presence, but in a subtle way, so I guess you could also look at this as a poor man’s exciter.
Here is a clip from one of my songs title “I Am Lost” with the Saturation Knob on the mix bus. It’s up about a third of the way and the toggle is set to “Keep Low”. What a difference it makes in warming up the track!
Softtube makes some really excellent plugins. In fact they make several exclusives for Universal Audio. As you can see, the Softube Saturation Knob is pretty impressive for a free plugin. Give it a try, you’ve got nothing to lose.
Check out the Logic Fiends’ list of other free vst plugins.