Product: Desert
Developer: Acustica Audio
Price (MSRP): Introductory price €103 [€159] - Save 35% OFF* - For the first four weeks after release or until the first official version is released.
Plug-in Format(s): VST, AU, AAX
System Requirements (Windows): Windows 10
System Requirements (OSX): OSX 10.14
Desert web-page: https://www.acustica-audio.com/store/products/desert
Desert User's manual: https://app.box.com/shared/static/ft...obbpe38bgu.pdf
* The introductory period implies the product may receive improvements, changes, or fixes available through Aquarius Desktop updates during the first four weeks of its release.

Desert is a suite consisting of four plugins embodying a unique, recapped recording/mixing desk from the early 1960s and other rare gear of the same brand from a recording studio located in Lagos, Nigeria, owned by a famous British record label.

The first in a new series of 'Boutique Collection' Acqua plugins that aim to reproduce the essence of unique gear, those elusive, extremely hard-to-find devices, of which very few units were ever built whose traces have almost been lost in the mist of time.

The centerpiece of this project is the recreation of an iconic vintage console module assembled with the best elements that British technology offered at that time, sampled thanks to the invaluable contribution of Zarma Studio (www.zarmastudio.com) and music producer, composer, and sound engineer Sodi Marciszewer, the owner of this priceless equipment.


How can you recreate that mojo and aggressive sound, typical of early Germanium transistor technology, when you only have a few and rare pieces of this gear left worldwide? That’s what we have proudly done!

Make It vintage!
Give your mix an effective and aggressive sound, with unique colors from the ’60s all in one suite. Get the sound of an iconic vintage console assembled with the best elements that British technology offered at the time.

Inimitable sound
The harmonic content generated by the Germanium preamplifiers can reach astonishing levels. For this reason, we have also introduced the possibility of combining eight Input amps with eight different Output amps, plus a DRIVE control, to produce inimitable germanium circuit distortions and the best and authentic saturation that you can find in a single plugin suite.

All–in–one
With DESERT you get:
• A crisp and captivating sound with two very rare switchable Equalizers which are absolutely dazzling, plus eight germanium transistor-based preamps from the eight channels of a unique tracking/mixing console
• Astonishing versatility thanks to an ultra-rare, total refurbished Opto compressor/limiter unit
• Eight Line-In preamplifiers plus eight Line-Out preamplifiers. Go from a clear, powerful and colorful sound, into a range of distortions whose musicality is unmatched.
• A Drive control that increases the harmonic distortion of the output preamps by providing extra saturation (to be used sparingly!)

Rare stuff
We are currently the only company to have reproduced this device in the digital domain, there are probably only few refurbished units left worldwide right now!


Desert Deep Dive

Desert includes:

• DESERT EQ: Two switchable Equalizers (a 2-band passive EQ derived from an iconic tracking/mixing console from the early 60s and a 2-band passive germanium transistor-based EQ with HP-LP filters originally part of a 60s mastering console) plus eight germanium transistor-based preamps from the eight channels of a unique tracking/mixing console.
• DESERT COMP: An Opto Compressor / Limiter made in the 60s; featuring 3 different switchable dynamic processor emulations (the original model called COMP 1, a 'Frankenstein mode by Acustica called COMP2 and finally the limiter) with a preamp emulation.
• DESERT PRE: Eight Line-In preamplifiers plus eight Line-Out preamplifiers that can be used individually or in combination to recreate the same sound as the original console. A clear, powerful, and colorful sound that can evolve into a range of distortions whose musicality is unmatched.
• DESERT CHANNEL STRIP: Two switchable Passive Equalizers, an Opto Compressor/limiter with three different switchable modes, a complete preamp section with a Drive control.

Each plugin included in the Desert suite comes in a "Standard" version and an alternative "ZL*" version, which operates at *zero latency and is thus suitable for use when tracking, at the cost of extra processing resources.







Details


Desert EQ

The Desert EQ includes two switchable passive EQs plus eight different preamplifier emulations. It represents a tribute to a prestigious and iconic British-made, high-quality audio desks and outboard processors manufacturer.

In Sodi's words:

'These extremely fine and very rare equalizers are absolutely dazzling, thanks to their passive inductance design. There are all kinds of positions where you can get some really interesting tweaks that are unique to their concept. They display up to 32k in shelf position and even the possibility of boosting or digging in a notch at 30 Hz in the bass! The old ©Gardners input and output transformers also guarantee such a special tone color'.

• EQ Model A: A Two-band (Bass – Treble) passive equalizer that combines smoothness and efficiency derived from a 60s mixing-tracking vintage console manufactured in England. The Low-shelf filter significantly increases or de-creases (approx. +/- 8 dB) the amplitude around 50 Hz, while the High-shelf filter significantly increases or de-creases (approx. +/- 8 dB) the amplitude of the frequency range around 20 kHz.

• EQ Model B: The second Two-band (Bass – Treble) passive equalizer, derived from a 60s Mastering console manufactured in England by the same brand, features different frequency choices and is equipped with a filter section that offers a unique softness and great personality. NOTE: This version is dual-mono, unlike the original stereo unit.




Desert Compressor

The Desert Dual-Mono Comp comes from an ultra-rare, total refurbished Opto compressor/limiter unit part of a 60s Mastering console. Its primary utilization was for cutting vinyl since one of its tasks ensured that the dynamics excess would not pierce the matrix.

In Sodi's words:

'I couldn't believe my eyes when during the refurbishing, this old meter that hadn't been used for at least 30 years immediately started to move again as soon as it received a signal! A considerable difficulty with it was that we didn't know anything about the original supply voltage, so it was necessary to carry out many calibration tests with threshold and ratio values to stay as true as possible to the original configuration. The various operating modes allowed by the multiple settings allow an astonishing versatility for a design of that time! You can also hear this unique sound due to the combination of the original ©Gardners transformers and germanium components!'


Acustica has kept its spirit and introduced some improvements to make it even more versatile and usable by creating three different emulations (Modes):

• COMP1: A faithful 'digital' copy of the original compressor.

• COMP2: Here is where things get fun. A 'Frankenstein' Compressor by Acustica featuring additional attack-release times and ratios (not present in the original gear).

• LIMITER: A faithful 'digital' copy of the original limiter.




Desert Preamp

The Desert Pre plugin includes 8 Line-IN preamps plus 8 Line-OUT preamps to recreate the same sound and behavior of the original console from the early 1960s adapted to be used as a 'Channel-strip' addition. As with the hardware, the plugin can also be used to obtain various colors depending on the level setting between the preamps and the faders, starting from a clear, powerful, and colorful sound that can evolve into a range of distortions whose musicality is unmatched. Don't forget the Drive control, especially added in the plugin version to increase the harmonic distortion of the output preamps by providing extra saturation (to be used sparingly!). You can use the distinct palette of tones in this plugin as a 'mojo sparkler' for your mix.

• PRE LINE IN: 8 Line-IN preamps (Ch.1 through 8)

• PRE LINE OUT: 8 Line-OUT preamps (Ch.1 through 8)

These preamps are derived from the vintage mixing vintage console. All channels exhibit a slightly different response, which you can use to recreate an authentic analog desk experience in the box.




Desert Channelstrip

The Desert Channel-strip is the perfect choice that packs all the features of the standalone versions, with a sensational and distinctive sound to enhance and massage your music.


Did you know?

The mixing/tracking console carried serial number #100 , and it was developed when record labels maintained their own recording studios, going as far as designing and building most of their recording equipment. This fairly simple console includes eight channels, each delivering a preamp built around early Germanium transistor technology and a passive two-band shelf equalizer. The Desert preamplifier section and the Model A EQ are derived from these circuit blocks.
The harmonic content generated by this string of Germanium input and output preamplifiers can reach astonishing levels. For this reason, we decided to introduce in Desert the possibility of combining eight Input amps with eight different Output amps, plus adding a Drive control. Any engineer and sound creator will immediately be excited by the possibilities to intuitively play with these various, straightforward settings, which allow you to produce inimitable germanium circuit distortions.

In Sodi's words:

'I was able to acquire this console from a mythical recording studio in Lagos, Nigeria. There, during a session, I could notice in a dark and secluded place this monster lurking from ancient times. I was well aware of its potential: I knew that she was quietly waiting for someone who would take care of her! I had the opportunity to work in such studios thanks to my relationship with the Nigerian icons Fela Kuti and Femi Kuti, for whom I produced, recorded, and mixed many albums.
By continuing my musical commitments in these unique places, I also had the deep joy of discovering other elements which employed the same technology… Namely, I found some stereo equalizers and Opto compressors from another mastering console (same brand)! After I deciphered the operation and philosophy of this console, equipped with germanium preamps and passive equalizers, I had to search for many original components to achieve the original sound down to the finest detail. This long treasure hunt was very tedious but also fun in a way! I met a few collectors that owned these kinds of rare items; they agreed to share some of the last existing ones with other enthusiasts like me, and at the same time, they made me understand quite quickly that they didn't even really do this for the money... in the end, that means that the equipment to be restored must be really worth it! So this is how I found myself describing my quest to experts in old electronic components whose interests are vintage air navigation communication devices and very old submarines. We were then able to undertake the restoration of this console thanks to the team of technicians and assistants from the Zarma Studio.
Over the following years, many musical projects that have taken place in my studio www.zarmastudio.com were able to benefit from the exceptional sound these machines can deliver.

Isn't it great that today's technology can now bring these unique colors from the past to everyone? The time has come to be able to turn this inimitable sound into a plugin suite!'



How to try a plugin: TRIAL MODE

• Create a user account (if you do not have one yet) on our website
• Download and Install Aquarius, our products manager, for either Mac or PC
• Log in to Aquarius using your user email and password
• Type the product name in the 'search' field inside Aquarius to find the '(trial)' version of the product, then click on the thumbnail or on the 'Install' button. This will take you to the product page (the trial version of a product is also visible in the 'related products' section on the right)
• Select the correct plugin format according to the DAW you are using and click 'Install'
• Aquarius will download, install, and authorize the trial product automatically
• Run your DAW. You're set!

Please note:

• For more details about installation/authorization, please refer to the following page: Acustica Audio - Professional Audio Software - Acustica Audio
• Available sample rates: 44.1 - 48 - 88.2 - 96 kHz
• CORE 17
• M1 compatible