Channel4 is the latest Airwindows port. This plugin has always been popular: once I had someone shoot it out in a blind test against commercial rivals, and it trounced some heavily hyped and widely known plugins!
At the time, I was amused and distressed, because I would have liked to see one of my $50 plugins in that comparison. To use the freebie seemed like missing out on some helpful sales.
Now that I’ve switched over to Patreon for Airwindows’ only means of support, it doesn’t matter and all the plugins are steadily becoming free :)
Channel4 uses a very good-sounding saturation function, a calibrated slew clipper and a highpass to approximate the tone coloration of a recording console. (the plugin Console4 approximates the space and depth on the mix buss, which is different.) Because the bandwidth-limiters are set up based on measurements of real gear (through impulse responses), Channel4’s console type is labeled ‘Neve/API/SSL’. It doesn’t actually contain any of those things or any convolution kernels, but the presentation of the sound ought to suggest those voicings.
There’s also an argument for doing it that way, because in many cases you can’t hear those limitations unless they’re being way overloaded. Channel’s a very clean, pure ‘coloration’ plugin, especially with the drive kept at 50% or under. It’ll voice extreme sounds the way it’s labeled, but you would struggle to consistently set plugins like Slew to those targets because mostly you can’t hear what it’s doing, especially on normal/musical sounds.
I’ve got a big list of further free VST ports, and am looking into some bugfixes for PC hosts that aren’t handling generic VST2s right, and I’m actively supporting users on several forums and email and Patreon messages, so if you’d like to see this continue to expand, please support the Airwindows Patreon, that is now the way things are done around here :)