Saturation—it’s the essence of what makes analog hardware sound so musical and pleasing to the ears. The sound of tubes, transistors, and circuitry being pushed to the limit has long been the key ingredient in great-sounding analog recordings. Eng...
[This article on the making of Marr's 2018 *Call the Comet* album by MixOnline.com](https://www.mixonline.com/recording/johnny-marr-finds-his-voice-on-call-the-comet) touches on some of the gear used during the recording process. "'“We used some Lexicon PCM91 outboard reverb and some EchoBoy, not necessarily timed to the track so it could bounce around a bit and fill space,' says [engineer] Doviak. 'I usually go for something slightly degraded, like a cheap Tape Echo--something with character that sits in the background, not distracting, but has some integrity. MicroShift Soundtoys is great for vocal doubling and widening effects. I’d often use Decapitator or Radiator for some dirt.'" (While the engineer is providing this feedback, the gear is housed in Marr's own Crazy Face studios, which contains gear he's collected over his decades in the music industry.)more
Used on Lamar's vocals for "All the Stars" as stated by producer Matt Schaeffer in this May 2018 *Sound on Sound* interview. > Kendrick Lamar’s vocal audio tracks, named after his teenage stage name K.Dot, consist of his first verse rap track, ‘VS 1 LD’, and 10 tracks for three moments in the track where he sings the pre-hook in a robotic voice. The verse rap track only has the AIR Flanger on it, and is sent to the ‘Dot VS LD’ aux track, which has eight inserts and five sends. Nine of the 10 pre-hook tracks have Auto?Tune, while the top four have a number of plug-ins on the inserts, including the EQ3 seven-band, Waves RVox, UAD Galaxy Tape Echo, SoundToys Little AlterBoy, SoundToys MicroShift and Valhalla Vintage Verb. These four are sent to a ‘Hook Ref’ aux track higher up in the session with another four plug-ins on the inserts and five sends. The other six are backing vocals to the four other pre-hook tracks and have no other plug-ins, other than a Trim, and are sent to a ‘Hook Background’ aux, just below them, which itself also is sent to the ‘Hoof Ref’ track. It’s a pretty complicated vocal signal chain, as Schaeffer admits. > “The ‘Dot VS LD’ aux indeed has a lot of stuff on it! I did most of the processing on that bus. On the inserts there are the SSL E-Channel, Waves RComp, Waves Q10 EQ, Waves DeEsser, UAD LA2A, UAD Pultec EQP1A, SoundToys Decapitator and Pro?Q2. The SSL channel strip, Q10 and RCompressor remain from the tracking, and maybe the DeEsser as well, but I most likely messed with the settings more during mixing. The Q10 has a high-pass at 50Hz and I notched out a frequency that was bothering me around 8.5kHz with the Q2. I added the other plug-ins during mixing, and they all add something a bit different. I’m boosting 100Hz and 16kHz with the EQP1A. As I said, I like using several EQs on one thing. > “The sends go to a ‘FlangeVerb’ track, on which I put the RVerb and the UAD MXR Flanger, then the ‘Huge Verb’ with the [Audio Ease] Altiverb and EQ3, ‘Hook Valhalla’ with the Vintage Verb, and the SoundToys EchoBoy, the ‘EMT250’ aux with the UAD EMT250, Valhalla Plate and MicroShift, and then finally a send to the ‘Dot VS Delay’ track, with the EchoBoy, set to quarter note, the Reel Tape Flanger and the RCompressor. The EchoBoy is the main delay you can hear in the verse. The EMT250 is not set to a reverb, but to a phaser effect, which gives a cool stereo effect. The Valhalla adds a bit of reverb here, though it’s set to -12, so it only gives a tiny bit of ambience, and the MicroShift makes the whole thing a little wider. It probably still sounded a bit dry, which is why I sent the track to the ‘Huge Verb’ aux with the Altiverb, again taking out low end with the EQ3.more
In an interview, when asked what some of their favorite VST / FX Racks are, Odesza reply, "Right now, my go to is Soundtoys. They have the best delay I’ve ever used, some really nice compressors and the saturation they have, this thing called Decapitator, is absolutely fantastic." (original interview [here](http://lostinsound.org/odesza-interview/)).more
"FabFilter EQs, in fact the whole FabFilter suite sounds incredible - there's not a session that doesn't have a ton of Fab Filter Pro-Q2s and Simplons on it. Soundtoys also makes great sounding plugins that can really destroy or sweeten your sound, and they're all over my productions."more
Louis The Child use multiple Soundtoys plugins, such as Decapitator which is visible at 3:33. "We ran this synth through this plugin called Decapitator, that's like a distortion plugin and it's got this cool feature called Punish which just, like, fucking pushes the hell out of it"more
Used on Cardi B's vocals for "Bodak Yellow", as mentioned by mix engineer Evan LaRay in this February 2018 *Sound on Sound* interview. An image of the "VOX 1" settings can be found [here](https://dt7v1i9vyp3mf.cloudfront.net/styles/news_large/s3/imagelibrary/I/IT_02_18_04D-HCW2x76GT8U6qyVTR5aB38OGJjuT_NoL.jpg). > In his mix of ‘Bodak Yellow’, Evan LaRay used almost identical vocal chains on two auxiliary busses. The ‘Vox 1’ chain includes FabFilter’s Pro-DS de-esser and Waves’ C4 multiband compressor, plus the Waves CLA Vocals plug-in and SoundToys’ Decapitator saturation processor. > The main ‘Hook’ and ‘Verse’ vocal tracks have similar plug-in chains, incorporating the EQ3 seven-band, Waves CLA-76 and Waves De-esser, though the ‘Hook’ also has FabFilter’s Timeless 2 delay. LaRay explains, “The EQ on the ‘Hook’ has a high-pass, around 100Hz, and I’m also cutting 3dB at 300Hz, because the vocal sounded a bit muddy, and again 3dB at 4kHz, because there was a piercing frequency there. The CLA keeps the peaks in check, and the de-esser again takes some higher frequencies out, at 4270Hz, and the Timeless is another favourite plug-in. I think in general the FabFilter plug-ins are extremely dope. I wanted the ‘Hook’ vocal to stand out from the ‘Verse’ vocal, so I used a stereo delay preset, and then tweaked that. The presets on the FabFilter plug-ins are pretty good: you just run through all of them and then choose the best one. In this case I lowered the width and the wet value of the stereo delay preset, and that sounded good and gave the hook its own space. The three plug-ins on the ‘Verse’ track do pretty much the same. > “The ‘Inout’ tracks that are below the ‘Hook’ and the ‘Verse’ are vocal doubles. They are words or lines we use for emphasis and additional power on these lines and words. They come from one of her original vocal takes, which I just cut and cleaned up. Both ‘Inout’ tracks have the Waves RCompressor, just containing these words and lines so they don’t overwhelm the ‘Hook’ or the ‘Verse’ vocal, and then the FabFilter Pro-Q2, taking out some high frequencies, again to make sure it doesn’t clash with the leads, and also cutting below 200Hz. And there’s a delay on these tracks to put them in a slightly different space from the lead vocal tracks. > “In addition to the two ‘Inout’ tracks, both the ‘Hook’ and the ‘Verse’ tracks are also accompanied by an ‘Ad Libs’ track, which were some ad libs Cardi had recorded with Mike over at Krematorium. Mike had also set up a separate aux track for these ad libs, which is ‘Vox2’, and I liked that and kept two of the plug-ins he had on that: the [Avid] Sansamp for some distortion and the SoundToys Panman. I then added the D-Verb and the [Waves] CLA Vocals. I adore the CLA Vocals. I use it on every track I work on. When I don’t use it, the vocals sound completely different. I’d love to know what exactly it does! Finally, the inserts have the Waves L1, just to control the peaks. > “The other tracks — ‘EXF1’, ‘EXF2’, ‘EXF3’ and ‘EXF4’, are because I prefer to create a new track if I want to have a specific effect on specific words or phrases. I prefer doing that to automating the effects on a track. Automation is great, but I tend to only do volume automation. So I copy audio to another track, and then put the effect on that, and in this case I created four different effects tracks with four different delays. ‘EFX1’ is the main one, and has the same three plug-ins as the Verse tracks — EQ3 three-band, CLA76 and Waves De-esser — just with the EQ3 cutting more of the high frequencies. Then there’s an eighth-note ping-pong delay from the Waves H-Delay, and then a D-Verb set to ‘hall’ with 7s decay and a 15ms pre-delay. ‘EFX2’ has another H-Delay delay, ‘EFX3’ the Timeless 2 delay, and ‘EFX4’ again has the H-Delay plus a D-Verb.” > All the main vocal audio tracks go to LaRay’s ‘Vox1’ aux group track. This, he explains, has “A FabFilter Pro-DS de-esser, then the Waves RCompressor controlling the peaks, the Waves C4 multiband compressor boosting the high end and containing the lows in her voice, so it doesn’t cut through too much, and Waves CLA Vocals. Again, it’s really making my vocals sound good. I push the Pitch fader to stereo, spank it on the compressor, also push up the treble to brighten it up, turn the reverb down to ‘tight’, and lower the delay by 9dB because my own quarter delay is my main vocal delay, and it sounds great. There’s also a SoundToys Decapitator, to add more harmonic distortion, and then there’s the Waves RVox. That was supposed to be the final plug-in on the insert, but then I realised the vocal was still peaking too much once she began rapping loudly, so I put on the L1 [limiter] to control that.” > The ‘special sauce’ in Evan LaRay’s mixes comes from a parallel aux channel containing a blend of compression, saturation, EQ and other processors. Key ingredients are Waves’ PuigChild compressor and PuigTech equaliser. > The ‘Vox1’ and ‘Vox2’ tracks also each have a Trim plug-in on an insert, and sends to the ‘Verb’ aux and to the ‘ELR’ (LaRay’s initials) track. “I put the Trim on all my tracks at the end of the vocals, and at the end of the beat, because the vocals actually began distorting in places. These two tracks were too hot, and I wanted to make sure they had a good level before going to the ‘Sub Print’ track. I have the ‘ELR’ aux track in every session. It’s most of all parallel compression, but I also always try out new things with distortion, exciters and things like that, and I label that ‘ELR’. In this case it really is the ‘ELR’ track that makes the vocals cut through the mix. > “The compression on the ‘ELR’ track comes from the Waves PuigChild 670, which is a great compressor, and it’s compressing a lot, so the vocal stays right there in the middle. The signal is then going to the PuigTech EQP-1A, which is boosting some low end to add some warmth to the vocals, and some 5kHz, and then the Waves Aphex Vintage Aural Exciter, set to AX Mix 6, for some added crispness and clarity, then the EQ3 seven-band to control the low mids, and another De-Esser cutting 4398Hz, to finalise the vocal sound. The L1 also helps keep the vocals in the same place. Finally, the ‘Verb’ send on the ‘Vox1’ and ‘Vox2’ tracks goes to the ‘Verb’ aux, which has the Waves RVerb, and that pretty much glues everything together.”more
In this interview, in his top three desert island plug ins GALLAGO,talks about Soundtoys Decapitator, Ni Transient Designer, and VALHALLA ROOM. He primarily uses Ableton live. The drum samples used in SUN come from the Andre Crom OFF RECORDING's sample pack. In terms of soft synths he rates MONARK for bass, a REAKTOR instrument that mimics a MOOG. Also he highly rates the U-HE Diva. For his distinctive piano sound he blends NI The GIANT with Ableton Live's GRAND Piano.more
Saturation—it’s the essence of what makes analog hardware sound so musical and pleasing to the ears. The sound of tubes, transistors, and circuitry being pushed to the limit has long been the key ingredient in great-sounding analog recordings. Engineers use saturation to beef things up, thin them out, give them edge, add warmth, pull elements out of the mix, and create signature sounds.
From the very subtle to the extreme, analog saturation is an integral part of great mixes. That’s why we took our time, studied all the great analog classics, and painstakingly created a plug-in that brings the best of analog saturation to your digital studio.
With five different analog saturation models to choose from, Decapitator is perfect for adding character to every kind of track and instrument in your mixes. We’ve also included a modeled tone control that lets you shape the saturated sound, and a mix control that lets you blend in some dry signal for parallel processing without the need for routing and sub-mixes. Combine all of this with the flexibility and reliability of a Soundtoys plug-in, and you’ve got the best of analog and digital together in one essential effect.
Decapitator is not just a simple approximation of the analog sound. We’ve worked hard to capture the feel of analog gear. Not a static snapshot, but a changing responsive model of all those tubes, wires and transistors. That means you can hear subtle changes as Decapitator reacts to a track and follows the dynamics of an instrument. That’s what analog is all about.
In creating Decapitator, we collected and analyzed both vintage and modern hardware—consoles, preamps, input channels, EQs, compressors and studio distortion units. We picked the pieces of gear we felt had the most distinctive sound, and had unique character when used both subtly and at extremes. Then we created painstakingly accurate models and made them instantly accessible. By adding an analog-modeled tone control and mix knob, we’ve opened up the sonic potential of these models even more.
Decapitator is capable of some wonderfully subtle sounds, but we know that sometimes subtle just won’t do it. That’s why we’ve added the Punish button, which kicks in an extra chunk of gain to push Decapitator over the edge. When you drive it hard it reacts just like great analog gear—it screams in pain.
And we’re not talking about fizzy stomp-box distortion. Decapitator gives you those unique qualities that only come from driving high end studio gear. Each model has its own sound of beautiful agony when you hit the Punish button and crank it up. Try it on vocals, drums, guitars, synths—anything that sounds a little too polite!
Infuse your tracks with the natural vibe of analog gear
Get real, dynamic analog saturation with 5 detailed models of studio hardware
Push your tracks over the top with the Punish button
Shape the contour of the saturation with analog-modeled tone control
Create parallel effects simply with the mix knob
The 'Decapitator' by Soundtoys is one of my favorite 'Saturators'... it has 4 different modes and all of them have unique sonic character... Try it on BASS.... !!! In fact, insert it into the chain of your main bass track and then PUNISH IT...!!!
I can't begin to express how much I love this plugin and I've barely had time to use it. It feels like it has unlimited possibilities and can give you any kind of distortion tone you could possibly want, from subtle and warm to severely mangled, and yet everything sounds musical somehow. Magic!
The Decapitator from SoundToys is incredible, I use it on all my synth tracks, really adds a fantastic "color" to the sound that compliments whatever project i'm working on. One of the best plugins ever!!