Softube Console One - First Impressions
I received my Softube Console One MKII yesterday. The box and sleeve came in a cardboard flip design and the hardware was well packed. The build quality is excellent and tactile. No loose buttons or bad LED lights! The installation process was simple, installing Gobbler which has an installer for Softube plugins. The onscreen panel for Console is a standalone app that syncs with the hardware. You'll have to put Console One plugin on every track. For me, I tried to load as many instances as possible in a current mix. My CPU hit was around 60% then it had a high distortion and crashed. I took off a few instances and it worked. I used the compressor, EQ, distortion and transient shaper. The EQ sounds incredible, very clean and precise like a new SSL would sound. It definitely gives tracks some width and depth, just having a few minor EQ adjustments. The compressor is versatile from being a level controller to a grabby character. The transient shaper and gate are great! The punch and sustain is awesome for added weight and sustain to tails for snares, claps, percussion to cut through. The drive section has two sections for driving the distortion and a character which can be positive or negative values. Positive values add a high end crunch and the negative values added weight and a darker tone similar to a tone control.
Using the Console One has the feel and familiarity to people who have used analog consoles. This is not a toy. It's a high end piece of a equipment and one of the best purchases i've made in 5 years. I was already using it how I would EQ on a console. The Console One approach from the start, makes you use less plugins which is my goal. I always had a EQIII and RCompressor or the Metric Halo Channel as my go to. Now, its the Console One where I can trim, gain stage, EQ, and compress in one plugin. I did have issues this morning with the hardware connecting but it worked out fine. I opened up the Console One app and it worked out fine. Those are my first impressions and we'll see where the Console One goes in the next 2-5 years.