NC-17Demo?is a universal binary Audio Unit plugin that takes the lead in the new breed of loudenator plugins typified by the Slate FG-X, but louder, more musically coherent, much less CPU hungry and at one-fifth the price. (yes, that’s going to be considered the bar: this copy was written at a time when I had a lot of Slate on the brain)

The main thing I wanted was this: the sound can’t just get disassociative, when it goes for stupid loud you have to both get the bass and also lock onto the lead vocal with ruthless clarity. It’s better to sound a little dirty than to sound a little dissipated. It’s better still to not abuse these tools in the first place… *shrug*

When the dust settled, NC-17 was up and running- named as a joke on FG-X and because what else would you name a plugin for making stuff obscenely loud?

It’s not got MORE bass than FG-X but the bass is quicker and more driving, rather than filling in after the kick- it’s not cleaner, but it’ll project the intensity of a lead vocal out to considerably hotter levels without losing focus. It’s more CPU-friendly. It’s surprisingly transparent for this type of loudenator, and it is one-fifth the price of its only rival.

Changes to version 2.0 were very interesting. The point was to include antialiasing, because it uses saturation processes, and that went great- textures got more analog in character, it hangs on to the underlying tonality more- but a lot of internal values had to change to adapt to the new mechanics, and the end result got tuned in to a noticably different sound.

That sound is rather interesting. It still has the ‘dirty’ quality of the original NC-17, but it does a new thing. It manages to put snare and kick hits on top of everything else, no matter HOW much gain you add- and the boost control allows for FOUR TIMES as much gain as before, 12 db more to be precise. Nothing else can do this. When you’re willing to wreck the sound with distortion, this is the only thing that will really keep the beat from submerging. No, you can’t have that and the beat and a ‘clean’ sound all at the same time. For clean sound, master less loud ;)

NC-17 is $50.