iconic recording studio gear in your DAW –

You can step into not one, but two of the world’s most iconic studios inside your DAW with KIT Plugins Blackbird products. We tested the EQ and channel strip in the studio.

Expansion kits are a relatively new company on the scene, but it’s quality over quantity here as they strive to set a high standard for analog emulation. Based in Nashville, it’s in their Blackbird products that they’ve created what might be out of reach for many musicians around the world.

Their newest product – the BB Mo-Q – is a recreation of the EQ used in the Motown studio in the 60s, while their BB N105 Channel Strip is a world-first emulation of the Neve 8078. . renowned studio, Blackbird, where their office is located. We tested these plugins in the studio.

Beginning with a blast from the past, the BB Mo-Q is a simple emulation that has been painstakingly modeled and crafted to capture the heart and soul of those Motown recordings. While there’s not much to it, there’s so much more character to this EQ than you could find if you go with any stock EQ.

It’s refreshing to see something imitated that hasn’t been done to death (*cough-1176-cough*). Motown was a successful factory line, and the quick tape-printing decisions of the in-house engineers—Russ Terrana being one—required quality equipment that could be trusted. The actual hardware unit is incredibly rare to find and has been lacking in the software world until now.

Their BB N105 channel strip – taken from Blackbird’s famous Neve 8078 console – is what put the company on the map. It’s no wonder the audio community was excited, it’s this studio where modern classics were created. I’m talking about Dolly Parton, Kings of Leon, Beck, Taylor Swift and many more.

Upon launching the plugin, the Happy desktop team were blown away when we installed and opened it. (Yes, the installation was extremely easy). This channel strip sounds stunning as it is.

We found that the extreme effort they put into modeling this from saturation, EQ, noise (analog hum), distortion, depth to width was perfectly represented. Both of these plugins have FRM (their proprietary Gen 2 Full Range Modeling technology), which brings all the glory of analog hardware to life, claiming that the recreation includes frequencies from 10Hz to 96kHz.

neve graft

Using these two elements on an electric guitar and a software synthesizer, our goal was to try that saturation, make them shine, and then transform the sound, just to show you how far you can push them. Having access to pieces of gear from these two iconic studios is really exciting and makes me want to keep working in the box!

We look forward to what other KIT plugins have to offer, especially what else might come out of their Blackbird products.

Both plugins cost 99 USD and you can get them from their website kitplugins.com

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