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SKnote SDC - Stereo Double Compressor
2.75 2.75 out of 5, based on 1 Review

The sound is good. Unfortunately there are problems with the meters and controls that were supposed to be fixed about two years ago. It seems to have been abandoned since.


25th February 2021

SKnote SDC - Stereo Double Compressor by Illusionaire

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 1 out of 5
  • Features 3 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 2 out of 5
  • Overall: 2.75
SKnote SDC - Stereo Double Compressor

The plugin sounds good. It is different but equally good as the PA Shadow Hills version. The price was attractive so I tried it. There are some extras on this version, not included in PA or the hardware:
-M/S mode
-Three opto modes: Old, old with new components, modern. This makes the opto circuit more versatile.

It has some issues: The threshold on the discrete compressor skips two values. I believe they are 7 and 14. Also it has been agreed that the theme is dark and the numbers small and not resizable, so sometimes it is really hard to read.
Also the sidechain HPF which is supposed to work for both modes, does not work on the Opto circuit which is prone to pumping on low frequencies. There is no manual so there was no way to know this but I asked the developer at some point and he said that it was so. And agreed to change it and make it work on both circuits, but it didn't happen.

The Discrete mode attack and release times are just marked 1-2-3-4-5-max instead of the actual values like the hardware. And the final step of the release should be a dual mode identical to the opto release, so these can be synced and work together. A very nice feature of the hardware. But from my tests on the SDC this is definitely not a dual release, but rather just a setting that is slower than "5". That's a pity and I would appreciate it if at least it was stated in some kind of manual. The same with the sidechain not working on Opto but not being clarified.

And the biggest issue is the metering. It used to have a very slow refresh rate so it wasn't smooth at all. It has been improved although it could be improved further. But the main problem is the GR dB scale: It does not correspond to the usual values. Instead it can read up to 40dB of GR which is highly unlikely in a mastering situation, but the first 5dBs which are the most usable are only a couple of pixels apart. As the needle is not very smooth, it makes it really hard for me to read the GR. I'm all for using my ears etc, but in a mastering scenario it is essential to cross-reference with an optical meter. This was so frustrating that I got the PA version at last and uninstalled this one. It's a pity, because it sounds good. But there have been no news or response from the developer for quite some time and I had to move on.

This plugin has potential with its good sound and MS feature, but it lacks in several other aspects that made me walk away frustrated in the end.