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Plugin Alliance releases : Black Box HG2 M/S Version
Old 9th March 2021
  #1
Gear Guru
 
Jeezo's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Plugin Alliance releases : Black Box HG2 M/S Version

Meet Your mix buss’ best friend







Celebrated mix & mastering engineers like Dave Pensado, Bob Horn, and Heba Kadry rely on the sweet tubes and creamy-sounding transformers of the Black Box HG-2 to help their mixes sound louder, bigger, and punchier at the same peak level. Now, the HG-2 MS version offers mid-side processing, advanced filters, and more for even greater sonic refinement. This new plugin has also received Brainworx patented Tolerance Modeling Technology (TMT)*.

“MS” in many ways

The HG-2 MS is a Mid/Side version of the acclaimed HG-2. But it’s more than that. It also includes dedicated Mono mixing and Stereo buss versions, and now delivers More Saturation options and a wider variety of colors than ever before thanks to its new filter section. Select from highpass, lowpass, bandpass, and bandstop filters to tailor your saturation separately for each channel.

Sweeten your audio in mono, stereo, or mid-side modes


For the first time, process your audio with the rich, brilliant sound of the Black Box using mid-side processing for more sophisticated control over your sound. Saturate the sides, while keeping the center clean and punchy, or use more edgy odd-order saturation on the side and warmer even-order saturation on the center—or vice versa.

Paint Your Tracks with a Whole Palette of Tube Colors

HG-2 emulates four different vacuum tube stages combined in series and parallel circuits to color your mix and individual tracks with a wide range of rich and varied harmonics. Separate gain controls for emulated 6U8A pentode and triode tubes are placed in series between buttery virtual transformers warming the plugin’s input and output.

Dial-in the perfect blend of pentode and triode tube sweetness

...then adjust the Density control to drive both tubes harder without changing their relative balance or the plugin’s output level, adding more girth and mass. The Calibration menu emulates the effect of an internal trim adjustment in the original hardware unit, instantly modifying the HG-2’s high-frequency response to produce Dark, Normal, or Bright coloration.

Sprinkle, punch und tube softness

An added Air knob lets you control how much high-frequency fairy dust you sprinkle on vocal tracks, string instruments, piano, and full mixes. Turning down the Mix control adds back dry signal at the plugin’s output, combining HG-2’s beautiful tube softness and luster with your mix’s perfectly preserved detail and punch.

New stuff :
  • The MS version of the Black Box offers Mid-Side, Mono/Stereo, and More Saturation options
  • Brainworx Audio's patented Tolerance Modeling Technology (TMT)
  • Additional digital-only controls like Input Gain, Density, Calibration, Air, and Mix
  • Redesigned Filter Section - 4 variable Filters and the Flat mode for the Saturation circuit
  • Variable Density control to boost gain equally for virtual pentode and triode tubes
  • Loaded with plenty of useful presets created by Josh Gudwin, Michael Brauer, Matt Weiss & Eric Racy

Old 9th March 2021
  #2
Here for the gear
 
Exactly what I needed, amazing update.
Old 9th March 2021
  #3
Gear Guru
 
Jeezo's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
And heres's my take on what i consider easy one of the top 3 best ITB Sat box around !!!


00:00​ Plugin tour / session presentation
05:28​ Usage on beat
08:30​ Pan **** /TMT
11:39​ Density
00:19:00​ Conclusion

Special guests : PA Knifonium , Klevgrand Skaka and Ting and Kool Keith




Hope you guyz enjoy , be sure to try this baby .

HG2 previous version owners can have it for 69 $ and personnal vaucher working also on it !!!
Old 9th March 2021 | Show parent
  #4
Gear Guru
 
Jeezo's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stefan502 ➡️
Exactly what I needed, amazing update.
This will bring it to a whole other level like crazy !!
Old 9th March 2021
  #5
Here for the gear
 
Just waiting for folks to realize they're selling this as a separate plug-in, not an update(eating popcorn gif)
Old 9th March 2021
  #6
Lives for gear
 
RaySoul's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
“Save BIG if you already own one of our Tone/Character plugins, bx_digital V3, Neold V76U73, ACME Opticom XLA-3, bx_townhouse, bx_opto, elysia alpha compressor, elysia mpressor, Mäag Magnum-K, Millennia TCL-2, Purple Audio MC77, Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor (or Class A), SPL IRON, or Vertigo VSC-2. Log in to your account and simply add the Black Box HG-2MS to your cart!”

Now, My intro price is $69.99(And with my voucher, even lower at $44.99). But, since I own 10 of the aforementioned plug-ins(HG2 included) , shouldn’t it be a little less?
Old 9th March 2021
  #7
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Is it just new features or is the sound modelling better too? Not sure if TMT is just marketing or not?

What about the gain staging? Any help to keep equal loudness without changing 3 different knobs all the time with the mouse?
Old 9th March 2021 | Show parent
  #8
Gear Maniac
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RaySoul ➡️
“Save BIG if you already own one of our Tone/Character plugins, bx_digital V3, Neold V76U73, ACME Opticom XLA-3, bx_townhouse, bx_opto, elysia alpha compressor, elysia mpressor, Mäag Magnum-K, Millennia TCL-2, Purple Audio MC77, Shadow Hills Mastering Compressor (or Class A), SPL IRON, or Vertigo VSC-2. Log in to your account and simply add the Black Box HG-2MS to your cart!”

Now, My intro price is $69.99(And with my voucher, even lower at $44.99). But, since I own 10 of the aforementioned plug-ins(HG2 included) , shouldn’t it be a little less?
Well no, what they mean is if you own either of those qualifying products you can get the new HG2 at the $69 tier. It doesnt stack and never has with Plugin Alliance.
Old 9th March 2021 | Show parent
  #9
Lives for gear
 
RaySoul's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Yeah, I understand what you’re saying and I’ll probably still buy it. But by their own logic… Just a thought.
Old 9th March 2021
  #10
Lives for gear
 
Mercado_Negro's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 10 years
Love it!
Old 9th March 2021 | Show parent
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AreYouHuman ➡️
Is it just new features or is the sound modelling better too? Not sure if TMT is just marketing or not?

What about the gain staging? Any help to keep equal loudness without changing 3 different knobs all the time with the mouse?
The equal loudness was the reason I couldnt use the original HG2 in my workflow, it was always great for adding juice but there was no way to properly balance the levels with the tweaks, they really needed a link button that locked an output volume knob moving counter-clockwise to the Pentode and Triode knobs that we (lets face it) would crank clockwise.

Regarding the sound, in the blurb it does say the 4 filters have been reworked, TMT is probably much of a muchness to a lot, too subtle and only really worthwhile when stacking multiple instances of the plugin to get its mileage.

The M/S may be much more interesting for spatial fattening, the tweaking on that front is most welcome IMO.
Old 9th March 2021
  #12
They said Ray's original circuit modeling is untouched, which is probably a good thing. Awesome update though, the new filter section and saturation solo button might be even better than the MS ability. It's just a ton more flexible than the original now.
Old 9th March 2021 | Show parent
  #13
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by trackbout ➡️
They said Ray's original circuit modeling is untouched, which is probably a good thing. Awesome update though, the new filter section and saturation solo button might be even better than the MS ability. It's just a ton more flexible than the original now.
Ray originally made this plugin?
Old 9th March 2021
  #14
Lives for gear
 
zvenx's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Part of the team..
yes.
Attached Thumbnails
Plugin Alliance releases  : Black Box HG2 M/S Version-screen-shot-2021-03-09-2.56.46-pm.jpg  
Old 9th March 2021 | Show parent
  #15
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by AreYouHuman ➡️
Is it just new features or is the sound modelling better too? Not sure if TMT is just marketing or not?

What about the gain staging? Any help to keep equal loudness without changing 3 different knobs all the time with the mouse?
There's a keyboard modifier for compensating for the gain change, see page 14 in the manual. The density knob also does something similar (also in the original HG2 plugin).
Old 9th March 2021
  #16
Gear Maniac
 
Reimund is the GOAT. Don Corleone of all things digital.

and people in Black Rooster arguing with me he doesn't own their bottoms. LMAO. big time he does.

he owns BR and Brainworx, he is the player, he got game.
Old 9th March 2021 | Show parent
  #17
Lives for gear
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by zvenx ➡️
Part of the team..
yes.
Thanks. Did not know that.
Old 9th March 2021 | Show parent
  #18
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jdtrbn ➡️
There's a keyboard modifier for compensating for the gain change, see page 14 in the manual. The density knob also does something similar (also in the original HG2 plugin).
Great!
Old 9th March 2021 | Show parent
  #19
Gear Guru
 
Jeezo's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Insanelysane ➡️
The equal loudness was the reason I couldnt use the original HG2 in my workflow, it was always great for adding juice but there was no way to properly balance the levels with the tweaks, they really needed a link button that locked an output volume knob moving counter-clockwise to the Pentode and Triode knobs that we (lets face it) would crank clockwise.

Regarding the sound, in the blurb it does say the 4 filters have been reworked, TMT is probably much of a muchness to a lot, too subtle and only really worthwhile when stacking multiple instances of the plugin to get its mileage.

The M/S may be much more interesting for spatial fattening, the tweaking on that front is most welcome IMO.
Teh money is in the sat filter section / and the M/S

Auto gain isn't a problem here imho , since the new digital ouput is wayyyyy better than orginal knob AND the density working basically like a headroomm , let's you simple dial the balance you want and add flavor to taste without messing you gain stage ./...

But yeah this could be in my cons for sure , a autigain is always welcome , giving that Ray does'it superbly on it's stuff , Vpre 2C is the perfect exemple !!!
Old 9th March 2021 | Show parent
  #20
Gear Guru
 
Jeezo's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by zvenx ➡️
Part of the team..
yes.
And if i'm not mistaking , Gary is behind the superb Townhouse .... Dream team here !!!
Old 9th March 2021 | Show parent
  #21
Lives for gear
 
DownSideUp's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeezo ➡️
Teh money is in the sat filter section / and the M/S

Auto gain isn't a problem here imho
Sort of is, auto gain is "Teh money" ahah as requested in interviews by Scheps/Brauer and half the world.
MS is by default on Logic Pro, so yeah
this things is a duplicate of my HG2 but it's got a couple filters I wish I had, now try to grab 80$

I got great PA plugin for cheap, I'm grateful, but that's a hard pass this time.
Old 9th March 2021 | Show parent
  #22
Gear Maniac
 
Black Box Analog's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Insanelysane ➡️
The equal loudness was the reason I couldnt use the original HG2 in my workflow, it was always great for adding juice but there was no way to properly balance the levels with the tweaks, they really needed a link button that locked an output volume knob moving counter-clockwise to the Pentode and Triode knobs that we (lets face it) would crank clockwise.

Regarding the sound, in the blurb it does say the 4 filters have been reworked, TMT is probably much of a muchness to a lot, too subtle and only really worthwhile when stacking multiple instances of the plugin to get its mileage.

The M/S may be much more interesting for spatial fattening, the tweaking on that front is most welcome IMO.
With the original, you have to use the bypass button as you adjust the output until it's at the level you are after. It's just like the hardware. Obviously it's harder to do with the software and although I've never found it to be bothersome on any level, I know it's something a lot of people asked about and REALLY wanted for a feature. With that in mind, the ability to link the pentode or triode to the output with an inverse response has been added but it's far from perfect, which is why we were extremely hesitant to add it at all. I'll explain....

When you have a single gain stage with a linear input trim and linear output trim, it's extremely easy to simply lock the two together and have them move in opposite directions. This is how the density works and it works amazingly. The problem is that things change dramatically when you start attempting to do it inside the unit with individual controls.

The saturation, pentode, triode and output pots are not linear and actually have different curves. That means that if you divide the pot up into steps (for ease of explanation), one click up or down will produce a very different change in volume depending on where the control is positioned. So if you imagine that on the Pentode, one click up adds 3db of gain but one click down on the output knob (based on its current position) gives you 1db down, you can immediately see the issue. But that's just the beginning....

Now keeping in mind that the curves on each pot are different, imagine that the stages interact so not only does the position of the pentode knob change how much gain you get for each step, so does the position of the triode knob (it affects not just the triode gain but also the pentode gain)! Aaaaaaaand if that isn't enough, each tube has a saturation curve that isn't linear so how much gain you get out changes based on how hot the signal is and how hot the stage you are adjusting, AND the previous stages are!

So yeah, it's mind numbing and the best you can really do is to try and find a curve that works best at most settings, which is what we've done.


Since I've already written an (unbelievably boring?) essay, I'll touch on the other approach that a lot of people suggest. What about using RMS detection and matching?

As I'm sure most of us know, RMS is measuring the energy over a period of time. It's allowing us to get an idea of the average level, which corresponds fairly well to perceived level in a balanced spectrum. By its nature, this takes a period of time, or a sampling window that needs to be analyzed. The longer the window, the more accurate a reading we get in terms of average level. So if we have say a 3 second window, that would mean that every time we turn a knob, we have to wait 3 seconds. Obviously that is a non-starter.

So what if we make the window much shorter and look at only milliseconds, the delay would still be super annoying but maybe workable. The problem is that we no longer have an RMS detector. What we have is something that is measuring the instantaneous level or peak level and if we set the output to compensate for or ride that, we just created a compressor (or expander depending on what the rest of the unit is doing)! Obviously the output acting as a dynamics processor, mangling the output signal is a non-starter as well so we're trapped between these two unworkable solutions.

Sorry for the long response but with so many people asking about it, I wanted to explain exactly what the hurdles are.
Old 9th March 2021 | Show parent
  #23
Lives for gear
 
DownSideUp's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Black Box Analog ➡️
As I'm sure most of us know, RMS is measuring the energy over a period of time. It's allowing us to get an ides of the average level, which corresponds fairly well to perceived level in a balanced spectrum. By its nature, this takes a period of time, or a sampling window that needs to be analyzed. The longer the window, the more accurate a reading we get in terms of average level. So if we have say a 3 second window, that would mean that every time we turn a knob, we have to wait 3 seconds. Obviously that is a non-starter.
Letimix does that and people happily wait 3 sec, but also insert two plugin in order to do better A/b. integrated to HG2 would be awesome.
I'd totally use that, and that'd be a fresh new concept nobody dares integrate, yet Letimix has sold a lot and got praises for it.
Just put a toggle on/off the the 3 sec RMS for people that don't care.

great concept
Old 9th March 2021 | Show parent
  #24
Gear Maniac
 
Black Box Analog's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
No, it is a separate plugin as the original isn't going anywhere. There is however a cross grade offer for existing HG-2 users. As you know, PA uses dynamic discounts, vouchers and other promotions so in a lot of cases it will likely mean still getting both for less than someone just buying them now.
Old 9th March 2021 | Show parent
  #25
Gear Maniac
 
Black Box Analog's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
You would wait 3 seconds every time you touched a control on the HG-2MS? You literally couldn't adjust it with audio playing. It wouldn't make any sense.
Old 9th March 2021
  #26
Gear Maniac
 
Peter N.'s Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
fantastic update !

last work with HG-2 Stereo:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hVAtJm4iGeM
Old 9th March 2021 | Show parent
  #27
Here for the gear
 
🎧 5 years
Looks like paid DLC is not just for videogames anymore
Old 9th March 2021
  #28
Gear Head
 
marsian's Avatar
Awesome new features. Exactly what I need. Bought it instantly as an upgrade for about 44$ with voucher
Old 9th March 2021 | Show parent
  #29
Lives for gear
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Black Box Analog ➡️
With the original, you have to use the bypass button as you adjust the output until it's at the level you are after. It's just like the hardware. Obviously it's harder to do with the software and although I've never found it to be bothersome on any level, I know it's something a lot of people asked about and REALLY wanted for a feature. With that in mind, the ability to link the pentode or triode to the output with an inverse response has been added but it's far from perfect, which is why we were extremely hesitant to add it at all. I'll explain....

When you have a single gain stage with a linear input trim and linear output trim, it's extremely easy to simply lock the two together and have them move in opposite directions. This is how the density works and it works amazingly. The problem is that things change dramatically when you start attempting to do it inside the unit with individual controls.

The saturation, pentode, triode and output pots are not linear and actually have different curves. That means that if you divide the pot up into steps (for ease of explanation), one click up or down will produce a very different change in volume depending on where the control is positioned. So if you imagine that on the Pentode, one click up adds 3db of gain but one click down on the output knob (based on its current position) gives you 1db down, you can immediately see the issue. But that's just the beginning....

Now keeping in mind that the curves on each pot are different, imagine that the stages interact so not only does the position of the pentode knob change how much gain you get for each step, so does the position of the triode knob (it affects not just the triode gain but also the pentode gain)! Aaaaaaaand if that isn't enough, each tube has a saturation curve that isn't linear so how much gain you get out changes based on how hot the signal is and how hot the stage you are adjusting, AND the previous stages are!

So yeah, it's mind numbing and the best you can really do is to try and find a curve that works best at most settings, which is what we've done.


Since I've already written an (unbelievably boring?) essay, I'll touch on the other approach that a lot of people suggest. What about using RMS detection and matching?

As I'm sure most of us know, RMS is measuring the energy over a period of time. It's allowing us to get an idea of the average level, which corresponds fairly well to perceived level in a balanced spectrum. By its nature, this takes a period of time, or a sampling window that needs to be analyzed. The longer the window, the more accurate a reading we get in terms of average level. So if we have say a 3 second window, that would mean that every time we turn a knob, we have to wait 3 seconds. Obviously that is a non-starter.

So what if we make the window much shorter and look at only milliseconds, the delay would still be super annoying but maybe workable. The problem is that we no longer have an RMS detector. What we have is something that is measuring the instantaneous level or peak level and if we set the output to compensate for or ride that, we just created a compressor (or expander depending on what the rest of the unit is doing)! Obviously the output acting as a dynamics processor, mangling the output signal is a non-starter as well so we're trapped between these two unworkable solutions.

Sorry for the long response but with so many people asking about it, I wanted to explain exactly what the hurdles are.
My 2cents. It works already much much better for me even when it's not perfect. I don't get these big loudness jumps when changing just one knob that made it very difficult to tweak in real-time. With knobs you have two hands and can compensate easly, with the mouse you can just turn one knob. That's why it's already very helpful.


My ideal is combining the imperfect, but instant counter clock matching with optional RMS matching. I think 3sec is rather short, I think something like 15sec integrated loudness measurement after the last change, with updating the loudness every 2 seconds until it's roughly stable works well, so you have rough matching quickly and almost perfect after some time.

This way you keep volume in the same ballpark while tweaking, and after a shot time you can bypass and do perfect A/B comparison loudness matched.
Old 9th March 2021 | Show parent
  #30
Here for the gear
 
scott_free's Avatar
Looking forward to picking up this great update!
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