Accurately and according to the timetable for the year 2017 appeared COBALT.

 

Behind this name is a set of four, powerful plugins from Acustica Audio, which both look and performance are breathtaking...

COBALT allows us to take advantage of the extremely precise, hand-built and very unique hardware devices by Italian engineer and composer Luca Martegani (also known as Xelius).

This remarkable man has more than twenty years of experience in the design, refinement and construction of studio equipment characterized with excellent quality and superb unique and unattainable sound reproduction.

Luca Martegani came to the world in 1966. In 1988 he started working in a recording studio.

He started as many before him, as an assistant. A few months later he was a keyboard programmer.

Over time he became more interested in the fundamentals of electronics and analogue equipment and analogue technology based on the Vacum Tubes which he devoted himself to. 

Since then, he has designed and built dozens of very original analog studio equipment, including analogue synths, effects, equalizers, preamps, power amplifiers, and compressors. 

 

Today he works as a sound engineer in his own studio. He is also an external sound engineer in several other recording and mastering studios based in Italy. Luca is also an active musician and composer who revolves around several genres of electronic music. From electro pop, dance to more experimental underground genres.

Since the early nineties, he has worked on a project of two high-end prototypes, which we know today thanks to Acustica Audio. The components used to build these devices have been carefully selected and calibrated to offer their users unmatched and admirable results each time. This approach probably led (as we can see today) to a very fruitful meeting between Luca and the Team of Acustica Audio. This meeting give to us a rare and not in mass production equipment which has created the basis of COBALT library that I will tell you today...

It is no secret that almost everything in the world of audio starts with tubes...

Its construction, its types... finally, how great influence "they" have on the final shape and character of the sound... 

It was Luca Martegani who dedicated his adult life to "them"...

The countless number of notes, tests and hours in the workshop resulted in the creation of devices, which on the one hand pay homage to classic tube constructions and on the other, are their logical and modern continuation.

Ideal marriage of tradition and the latest technology? Let's find out...

So, after a very analog and very vintage sounding channel strip called GOLD (my ultimate and all time personal favorite) we get this time something quite different. Something that certainly will not be bothered by all the more picky both home and professional engineers and producers (including all respectable digital mastering studios located all over the world). Sounds good, but what is it actually?

COBALT is a full-scale, hand-made kind of finalizer, which provides a refined and subtle sound.

A finalizer endowed with a unique top end, definitely different from everything you have heard so far.

Original, atmospheric and very HI-FI sounding, equipped with a gorgeous GUI and the most powerful today in the box compression. But that's not all, because COBALT is also an extremely soft and very musical LPF and HPF filters, and the first ever Acustica Audio dynamic multiband equalizer.

Thanks to the additional and appropriate parameters available only for this units. COBALT will raise all the tricks known from classic tube passive equalizers to the higher, yet unknown level...

Traditionally I'll start with the GUI, but before I take a look at how this plugins are presented, you must know that I decided to test this bundle on three extremely different projects. 

 

On a very well-recorded and open jazz track, on polished radio kind pop track, and on modern death metal, full of bustling production. I also cannot fail to mention the process of their authorization, which with the new application called AQUARIUS was finished with a click of a mouse. COBALT called to action appeared quickly and...

 

After all the first surprise. Why? Because such a refined GUI does not happen often even in the camp of Acustica Audio!

I have to admit, that the graphic designers have this time come themselves.

 

Beautiful, three-dimensional, very realistic and very addictive interfaces, not only catching all the nuances of the navigation of the plugins, but also stimulating our imagination, makes us feel like in the best studio...

With the rest, there is nothing to write here. This is probably the most beautiful GUI ever made by the team of Acustica Audio. Of course, Luca Martegani has a lot of interest in this, as COBALT does not just look like, but it looks exactly like the hardware! COBALT is immediately associated with modernity and despite its inherent vintage origins, that is exactly what it is. The beautiful blue color of the finish refers to another very popular tube Danish construction, but do not get bogged down. This is only the look... I bet that in the case of COBALT its "taste" is quite different.

However it seems impossible, COBALT is on the one hand more modern and on the other more analogue (read tube'ish).

 

But hold on! Don't forget that we are dealing here with a premium custom design! If you are expecting a filthy, heavily textured character typically supplied by the vintage passive tube equalizers, you will be surprised. Considering its construction, the plugins included in the COBALT library give a very clear and modern sound... 

Distinctive, classic and near almost sterile character with an unusual delicate, but definitely Tube-like color.

Impossible? Maybe, but now thanks to Acustica Audio it is as real as possible!

 

Going back to the bottom. The bundle is made up of four separate modules (devices), which were created based on the latest tenth generation (core X) engine nicknamed COREX.

COBALT includes: five tube preamps, a fully tube two-channel LM 9736 equalizer, a dual tube LM9804 compressor and a total novelty in the Acustica Audio plugin catalogue in the form of a dynamic multiband tube equalizer enclosed in a modern and powerful channel strip. 

THE PREAMP SECTION

We have here two monophonic, full-range tube amp preamps, perfect for any vocals and all tracks recorded through D.I, as well as all tracks recorded by the line which usually require more coloring and additional harmonics.

Both preamps differ in their sonic character. During my tests Mic 1 seemed more classic, a bit more vintage and usually fit very well with all vocals, while Mic 2 in most cases was great on every instrumental track of the projects.

Of course this is purely subjective opinion. It all depends on the source, mic technique and music genre.

Both preamps sound equally good. Just different. Both enhance the sound in very natural way, giving it a little more analogue character.  

The third available preamp choice is the stereo version of the microphone preamp created by summing the signal from the two preamps listed above (Mic 1 + Mic 2). This very useful and interesting solution will perfectly suit when you want to get more analogue sound of any stereo tracks such as: overheads, room mics or a piano recorded by a few microphones. 

In some cases (for example snare tracks) this option has given me a very interesting results also on some tracks recorded in mono.

 

We also have a preamp from the original LM9736 equalizer which is also tasty. The whole preamps section of this library is crowned by a very organic preamp section of the original LM9804 compressor. 

All preamps options available in COBALT, although quite subtle, have their own distinct and desirable character, which thanks to the use of the new engine seems to be a bit clearer than the previous preamps of AA (especially the ones based on older CORE 7 and CORE 8). It is enough to mention the tube's refinement of the LM9736 equalizer preamp or trailing the project tracks into one solid whole harmonic content by the LM9804 compressor preamp.

Each of five preamps affect the signal in a very unique and musical way. I drew my hard attention to Low's and High's of the spectrum that clearly became more subtle and sizzle in a delicate and pleasant tube'ish way...

Let's move on to the next hero of today's article. Here it is. The first main event of the evening...

 

THE COBALT LM9736 EQUALIZER

 

 

This equalizer is not another typical software reproduction of the hardware unit. It's not a digital soulless clone with an mimic, artificial character. COBALT LM9736 is something more. Much more...

Innovative and unique, fully parametric and all tube design two channel five-band equalizer with a very refined (built only with inductances instead of the more customary capacitors), original, very own sound.

 

At the base of this equalizer are solutions best known from the first classical passive tube designs.

Luca's ambition, however was to develop them. To introduce them into a brand new era, while preserving his best, most desirable qualities. As with the original, famous prototype, the LM 9736 uses a purely tube topology (including the high voltage power supply). The hardware LM9736 is fully handmade.

All the components are wired point to point, expect for the filter networks. MKP capacitors and high-grade carbon resistors were used to build it, which are located throughout all of the circuits. All in all, to get an equalizer capable of processing powerful sound in very unexpected natural and musical way...

 

"The input circuitry is designed around a Lundahl input transformer driving the gain potentiometer, which is coupled to the grid of a cathode follower. The cathode follower is an ideal solution to drive the following filter network with a low output impedance. It is conceived around a 6C5GT tube that can be exchanged for a less common 6L5G if a smoother hi top is needed. The filter network is basically a variation upon the classic Pultec style topology, with the added bonus of independent frequency selections of Low Cut and Boost sections. The Presence cell can reach almost 12dB of gain, and its center frequency can be varied in 11 steps, from a warm and smooth 680Hz bell up to a sharper 7,5KHz one. A continuous Q control allows to narrow or widen the bell shape".

 

"The High Boost cell is the real gem of this unit. Designed around a custom multi-tapped inductor, with a very low parasitic capacitance and the lowest possible DC resistance, the cell is able to develop about 9dB of pure musical brightness, from a very transparent “air” top around 20KHz to a coherent smooth mid-high boost starting from just below 1KHz. As with several shelving curves that change their shape depending on the boost amount, it has been very difficult to estabilish a constant relationship between gain steps and frequency. Each frequency step refers to a knee point located 3dB below the shelf line at maximum boost. The lower the boost, the lower is the starting point of the curve frequency-wise. The HI CUT is made from another very well sounding network and it’s able to effortlessly solve excessive brightness or harshness problems in its shelving mode. Each cut control has a final CUT position, in which the shelf is transformed into a 6dB/oct HPF and LPF, respectively for gentle low and high cut. As an operating example, a combination of a 3KHz cut with a 20KHz boost is able to produce a large, smooth dip in the mid-high zone.

Because of the reciprocal interactions between the passive networks, don’t be surprised if you have to boost and cut relatively many dBs, in order to obtain only a gentle 3dB dip. Then the signal flows past the passive filters into the gain stage".

 

Luca Martegani spent many years experimenting around this stage, to finally choosing a hybrid SRRP/mu-follower stage, based on a couple of asymmetrically loaded 6SN7GT triodes. "This stage is coupled with the output transformer through a large film capacitor". In his experience, this was the best way to balance quality, dynamics and musicality.

This arrangement provides the sound that Luca always looked for... quoting to his statement in the COBALT manual: 

"In my designs I’ve always almost obsessively wanted to minimize the noise from the AC supply leaking into the signal path: not a trivial task to undertake when dealing with vacuum tube circuits. Thus I’ve opted for an external box containing the power supply transformers. Heaters and services have their own separate transformers, as well. Grounding is entirely star point wired, and there’s no ground buss. Moreover star point wiring is used with the internal supplies, too, instead of the more common power supply rail arrangement. RF decoupling is placed as close as possible to each single cathode connection. The 5mm-thick aluminum chassis is earth grounded and all the internal shields are chassis grounded. The 0V audio ground is RF grounded in ground-lift position, and fully chassis grounded without lift. Audio signals are carried by OFC shielded cables. Audiograde relays act as single cell bypasses. A total bypass allows to use tube stages and audio transformers as a “warming” chain stage, bypassing the whole filter network".

As you see, the two-channel COBALT LM9736 equalizer is a very unique and powerful, dual channel construction, which can work in both dual mono and full stereo mode. Each channel brings us five independent fully parametric frequency bands that can be freely switched off at will.

 

THE BLUE CUSTOM DESIGN TASTE

 

The sound of this unusual plugin can be described as innovative. We have here a very original blend of two different flavors, where the delicate pasive tube taste is mixed with a completely new, modern and unknown flavor.

Thanks to its design, COBALT LM9736 equalizer is behaving differently than the typical old passive equalizer.

Especially in the lower frequency region. Thanks to independent control and the possibility of choosing completely different frequencies of both boost and cutting we get very interesting and extremely organic curves unable to achieve with any other device. So, evan if you think that this equalizer is not your cup of tea, I am convinced that you should give yourself a chance to taste it.  Believe me. It is worth to buy it even because of his unusual high shelf band (consider also his distinguish low end) which I recommend to check at the earliest opportunity. Suffice it to say that this is currently the only sounding, so designed upper band in the plugin market today.

 

We remain in the topic of equalization... let's go straight to the second highlight of the COBALT bundle. To the second main event of the evening which brings us something really special...

 

The one of a kind and first such plugin in the whole Acustica Audio catalog.

 

Ladies and Gentlemen. Please welcome... Created and powered by the amazing "Vectorial Volterra Kernels Technology",

the first ever, one and only...

 

COBALT MULTIBAND DYNAMIC EQUALIZER

 

 

There's no secret that Acustica Audio creates plugins according to its own taste and own rights.

Plugins definitely different than all. COBALT dynamic equalizer is no exception. Created as a result of a far-reaching collaboration between Acustica Audio and Stefano Dall'Ora (from SoundDrops), who is a very important collaborator of AA, this dynamic equalizer entrance the brand new level of analog modeling and was designed not only to help us to get along with all serious problems occurring in the frequency spectrum of our mixes, but also to amaze...

Its mechanism works differently than all other types of dynamic eq plugins available currently. Here we have a fresh approach that, even if it was forced by the technology, it only worked out well and redefined the concept of dynamic frequency correction...

For those who have not come across this type of device before, I will try to explain briefly what this dynamic equalizer is...

Well, if we assume that the typical dynamic processor (which usually is a compressor), deals with the overall dynamic level of the material, and the task of the average equalizer is the static change within the spectral, frequency-sensitive nature of the input signal. The COBALT dynamic equalizer in a very smart way combines both functions, resulting in a modern channel strip that can filter any unnecessary frequencies beyond the level indicated. It does it dynamically, not on the whole of the material, but only when the frequency starts to disturb...

 

So it is the ideal de-esser? Surely. It is a device that widens and makes bass tracks alive? Of course!

Can it be the best cure for busy and lifeless master buss? Yes, yes and yes...

COBALT DYNAMIC EQUALIZER consists of four sections:

 

- Equalizer 1 (main eq based on the LM9736 equalizer but with a few additional bands)

- Equalzer 2 ( sidechain EQ)

- Compressor (reworked LM9804 design with additional features)

- Dynamic Equalizer section (this is the place where the magic really begins)

As I mention before, this dynamic EQ was created as a sort of a mix of COBALT equalizer and COBALT compressor.

This approach gives us a possibility of incredible powerful, deep and at the same time musically, dynamic correction without any danger of destroying the mix. Each of the devices making up this COBALT dynamic channel strip have some controls which are not present in his standalone (solo) versions. They are well thought through to expand the possibilities and are essential to provide us the maximum of power and flexibility.

First at all, in the EQ1 module, the team of Acustica Audio (with the help of previously introduced Stefano Dall'Ora) was added six negative gain steps in the presence band. These values have been added specifically for the COBALT software version and are not available in the original analog Luca Martegani hardware.

Two additional faster attack times was also added in the compressor section and three different ratios are available,

in order to provide specific and different amounts of dynamic equalization or gain reduction.

 

The available ratio settings are fixed and stretched between low, medium and high type. They called:

- MANTIS (it can be considered a very moderate low compression ratio; it is a sampling of Stefano’s PWM compressor)

- VIOLET (a medium compression ratio taken from our VIOLET compressor, included in N4 library)

- COBALT (the original ratio of Luca’s hardware) higher type ratio

 

The PWM Technology, which are included in MANTIS type ratio parameter has developed quite a long time, one of the first and also most well known example of its capabilities is widely recognized as the world's best compressor, the legendary PYE, which is most often found next to the iconic 69 equalizer, which is an integral part of one of the best consoles built in the early seventies. This compressor is co-responsible for the character of many classic bands and songwriters such as Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin or The Rolling Stones...

 

Today, this technology is still expanding. A few PWM compressors to this date do a fair job, but modern units based on this technology are used primary for sampling duties. This is mainly due to the advantage of its very good linearity/ low harmonic distortion at any gain reduction value and a quite predictable control voltage/ gain reduction ratio.

This ratio has a very smooth curve, a kind of "ultra-soft knee", so to speak, that's extremely transparent and forgiving with any audio material. The VIOLET setting is quite different. It behaves very optically. It evokes the spirit of the best classical optical compressors of the world, finds its application on all bass and vocal tracks.

The COBALT parameter gives us the highest possible ratio setting. Irreplaceable during heavy metal projects and friendly in all moderate radio pop tasks.

After mixing all three test projects i must admit that this is a very useful, highly specialized kind of tool that you will appreciate especially when encountering any problems encountered not only during mastering, but also in every situation when you need a more precise frequency correction.

Once you understand its mechanism, and make yourself a several hours of run, it's highly possible that this strip may become to you an essential and important tool. Unmasking the kick and bass tracks in my metal mix was a breeze.

The effect of this treatment has gone far beyond my expectations.

The kick has been cleared. The bass has glowed and his articulation has become more prominent.

The de - essing capability of this COBALT eq are also truly unique. What can I say more?

In summary COBALT DYNAMIC EQUALIZER is the first of its kind, based on a very detailed multisampling technology dynamic multiband equalizer, that perfectly blends the best of both analogue and digital work environments.

It is also unique that, despite the many advanced features reserved so far mainly for digital processors, we have here a true tube-like character. To fall in love with this unit is not difficult, although at the beginning the methodology of working with "him" may seem difficult and unclear. Fortunately, the added manual is quite accurate and in easy way explain the basics of its use. After reading it this equalizer becomes a high effective, uncompromising and overall easy to use tool.

In addition, it is not destructive to the source material (what cannot be said about some of the algorithmic plugins of this type used inappropriately).


Despite the fact that dynamic, active equalization is a complete novelty in the camp of Acustica Audio, the gold letters should be separated by a section on compression in COBALT, which for me personally, nevertheless stole the priority laurel. Time to introduce you to the heavy weight main event of the evening...

 

The great and breathtaking software analog reproduction of... 

 

 

THE LM9804 COMPRESSOR

 

 

This compressor is also a fully-tube two-channel dynamic processor, which, like both COBALT equalizers, can work in both mono and full stereo. The compressor was created to deliver a unique, signature sound with it's unique character and personality. And yes, the software version created and developed by Acustica Audio has a strong and beautiful personality. Already at this point one thing should be clear. AA once again redefines its compressors!

The LM9804 project started as "a reproduction (exercise) of a classic Altec Lansing style feedback compressor.

The whole circuit was then re-designed for experimental purposes, first around a 12AT7 tube as a gain control element, then a 12AU7 and finally the classic 6BZ7. The output stage was designed around a parallel push-pull of two 6SN7GT driving a custom built output transformer. The vacuum tube signal rectifier is a classic 6AL5 circuit which drives a passive attack/ release network. The timing capacitor is charged/discharged in an unusual way because of its particular placement in the circuit. As for the LM9736, the power supply has a power transformer external box with a multicore cable/ connector to the main chassis. Two large “industrial” VU meters support the elegance of the smooth and slow character of this compressor. It's kind of dynamic behaviour might be defined quasi-RMS. Peaks and transients pass through it practically untouched, until the attack knob is set at its fastest setting. Then the LM9804 exhibits a few very different personalities depending on the timbre, the amplitude and time distance between transients (ie. a single shot or a burst).

A notable amount of distortion (consisting of both odd and even harmonics) appears as the rectifier starts to work.

The threshold control sets this point. An accurate matching of tubes and trimming of their respective bias is mandatory to minimize a “thump” artifact at the beginning of the compression. I’ve introduced a further negative feedback loop in the circuit, to accomplish a more stable operation and a lower ratio compression. Stereo Link is obtained simply putting in common the control voltages of the two channels; in this case both threshold controls are active and interactive".

As a hardware device, the LM 9804 is capable of max. 18/ 20dB of gain reduction; this range has been considerably extended in its plug-in software version, and the same is true for the threshold range.

 

The COBALT LM9804 compressor fits perfectly into the line of dynamic processors available in the shop of Acustica Audio. We get here a very clean and open compression that, if we want, we could easily change into full power fat unit with which we can achieve not only excellent transient control and overall dynamic signal, but also true tube color with a very pleasant cream saturation. Personally, this compressor charmed me quickly.  All the tests it went through singing, and it's worth mentioning, that it did not disappoint even in the more extreme, heavier music genres. The compressor behaves very analogously. Very faithful to the familiar to me real hardware compressors. It surprisingly well synthesizes (in a true analog way) the lower frequency band. This is something I have paid special attention to and something that puts this compressor in a totally different place than almost any other plugin compressor on the market today.

Used on a few instrument groups, it helped me get solid compression without the unwanted coloring of the signal.

I Almost do not feel that the compressor is pinned and yet... the dynamics difference is significant.

It's not everything. The overall stereo image is much pleaser and a bit wider and this is not all...

If you ever wondered if a software tube compressor can convincingly warm up its virtual tubes? I'll answer immediately, that COBALT can do it for sure. And that's it! I do not know every "making off" detail on how Acustica Audio reaches it, but the truth is that they are able to capture the real analogue spirit in a plugin. COBALT, thanks to the latest engine puts in this matter a strong proverbial dot.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

Just crank it a little and you understand what I'm talking about here... then the real beast comes out of this compressor. When his virtual tubes start to burn, we become witnesses of something that is not common in the world of digital plugins. We get a real tube analogue mojo. Just as if we were dealing with a hardware physical unit.

Curled, digital tubes are creamy and gives a very musically reinforcing sound. I'm speachless...

 

The LM9804 compressor is a device that is definitely worth the price of the whole COBALT bundle.

Ideally it will look for any long sustain sound signals, as well as vocals, guitars, bass tracks, almost any synthesizers and pads. I also recommend to check it during the mixdown (and if you have a powerful CPU also while the tracking) of classical orchestral session and instrumental groups. During such applications, a very unique SH MOD parameter is useful to fine tune the behavior of the attack of the compressor. The compressor is equipped with a dedicated preamp, a very useful external sidechain, an insane mode button (for high quality compression), a mix potentiometer (for convincing parallel compression) and a unique stereo link parameter that makes it possible to tweak in the compressor stereo panorama. Do we need more?

COBALT LM9804 without any doubt is a very serious candidate for the title of the best buss compressor currently available in the world of In the Box. In stereo mode it turns into a true mastering specialist.

For such a processor I waited and certainly would not be exaggerated if I say that such a processor was waiting for all the fans of software compression today.

OVERALL SUMMARY

So, both the COBALT equalizers can be specified as distinguished. All components of this bundle are firmly original and surprising (in the best sense of the word). You must remember that COBALT is not what it seems. If you look at the GUI and already think that you have some idea of ​​its sound, I assure you will be surprised.

 

If you expect another return of the classic Passive Tube eq, it's not a good hunch. It's not a good address...

Classic passive  on steroids? In a certain (narrow) sense maybe yes, but not quite. This is not the best comparison.

Remember, that Acustica Audio never repeats themselves. And in their collection they have a very successful PURPLE bundle. COBALT is something quite different, something in between...

 

It came to me especially in the context of my jazz mixing session. COBALT was able to took the natural sound of the recorded tracks, emphasized it, polished it and prepared for mastering without leaving unnecessary artifacts and unnecessary coloration of the tracks.

 

WHEN TO USE COBALT?

 

If you care mainly about the tube and very modern sound, you can successfully apply it to everything.

Each track will be beautifully and in a very subtle and musical way underlined. Like a fine makeup on a beautiful face.

The main purpose of COBALT however seems to be the group of instruments and master bus.

COBALT is designed to add sweetness. Although the plugin is subtle it does with the tracks something special.

COBALT works great with SAND and LIME, which both are more clean type channel strips. 

With the conjunction with more greasy coloring equalizers and channel stripes, COBALT might not show all of its capabilities, but it will be still usable even on the most vintage master bus.

Great results can also be achieved by combining COBALT and PURPLE, which is a sort of his natural extension.

An additional top of the line is a very unique top end design of the both equalizers. It is mostly unusual to find such a purely inductive circuit in a high frequency cell. As you will hear, this eq is able to impart a unique sonic signature with a characteristic personality. Suffice it to say that this is currently the only sounding and thus designed upper band in the plugin market. 

 

COBALT is yet another surprising move from Acustica Audio, which once again went completely different to the predicted direction. Interestingly, it turns out that it just comes out to them for good.

It seems that COBALT is a successful try to push (transfer) the technology based on "Vectorial Volterra Kernels" to a different dimension. Extension it to another ground.  This time however, in my opinion it is not a plugin for everyone...  

COBALT is a dedicated and a very powerful tool especially for those who know what sound production is.

I think it should also be point that this is probably not the kind of an first need and first choice equalizer.

If you do not have in your collection any other analog like stripes, or other digital equalizers and you think of COBALT as your first adventure and main equalizer with which you will mix. I would suggest starting with GOLD, SAND or LIME.

COBALT will perfectly finish what you start there...

In case of a product like COBALT, in terms of its hardware faithfulness we have to believe Acustica Audio for the word.

The closest AA environment and the people directly involved in the COBALT production process have heard the hardware and they have the last word in terms of fidelity to sound and behavior of the unit.

This causes that plugins such as COBALT to appear differently. Usually when we get that long awaited digital reproduction of a well-known all-purpose studio device, there are so many discussions, so many comparisons to other manufactories. With COBALT as a rule, there are not many opinions, and there is not enough pressure, which on the other hand can also affect the interest of potential buyers. Today everyone primary wants to have a good-sounding digital clone of well-known vintage hardware. But there's another way to great results...

All those who are looking for their own, who are focused on utility, quality and above all on the unique sound. All those who seek their own identity  and who are looking for a product not available anywhere else... exclusive, powerful yet affordable. COBALT is the best choice to afford all this points. Besides, who does not like rare, fully custom-sounding devices that will allow us to achieve unique and widely unused sound?

 

Taking into account all the collaborations and all the people involved in production of this bundle, COBALT is an exceptionally Italian product that can successfully be regarded as a showcase of their culture, passion and technology. Beautiful, blue, very Italian GUI color also seems to indicate the origin of this unique plugin...

COBALT proves that Italy today is a very important point on the musical world map.

It seams that this is the cradle of digital modeling, which in this country has just reached its full bloom.

Digital modeling of analogue hardware is very seriously there, and the results achieved there exceed the expectations.

 

Modeled hardware today is more difficult to distinguish from real hardware. 

Pick up the real deal is a currently a really hard task and Acustica Audio from product to product seems to blur more and more this already extremely thin border.

 

As Italian references are more recent than in any of my previous reviews of Acustica Audio plug-ins, I will take the opportunity to devote a few words to the team of Acustica Audio, and especially to Mr. Giancarlo Del Sordo, who has been on the track for some time now and I have to admit that all this what he does for the whole In The Box community and environment is truly amazing and worth the highest recognition.

His vision, passion and huge commitment... all the solutions transferred into any product developed by AA , their faith in the fact that the digital plugin may sound just fine. Finally his world, thoughtful, designed and perfectly arranged.

A world in which almost everything (every element) is like it should be...

 

Mr. Del Sordo is a real visionary, a great mind and basing on (still very few of his speeches that I found on the web) a really humble man. He managed to gather very talented and intelligent collaborators. Dedicated and determined to succeed. AA team is a mad scientists, pasionate practitioners constantly raising the bar...

If they can do something, if they can try something new, they will do it!

With the rest it finally starts to make really loud about them in the audio world community (what I have been predicting for a long time). More people (as well as mainstream) are beginning to see (and use) their products. They talk about them once more, in my opinion that's great. The market needs good products, and users need analogue sound. Today may need this sound perhaps even more than ever. Acustica Audio today has all the tools to become the most important player in the VST plugins market. They deserve it very much and in my opinion they deserved it from the beginning.

 

POST SCRIPTUM

The article first nickname was: "a new face of power", and the new chapter for the power of Acustica Audio is called COREX and it is the crowning of many years of hard work. Tenth generation engine allowing for more...

 

What has been improved? First of all, we are dealing with further optimization in terms of performance.

Now, COREX lets you do more with less CPU usage than ever before. 

There's more.  Internal plug-in saturation no longer exceeds +3dBFS and the brand new algorithm for hard clipping so any dangerous sound wise bugs are now a things of the past!

 

There is a lot to point out that the chapter titled overdrive and saturation is much closer to us...

 

For any additional info please visit: www.acustica-audio.com


 

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