Unfiltered Audio has released Zip — a powerful, unconventional plugin that bravely breaks the compressor/expander mold to solve difficult dynamics challenges and create unique effects using ingenious Analysis modes and synth-like modulators.
As a truly trailblazing processor, Zip uses novel Analysis modes to easily remedy complex dynamics challenges that traditional compressors and expanders are inadequate to treat. Additionally, an abundant assemblage of modulators — freely patchable to most of Zip’s other controls — creates striking effects impossible to achieve using conventional dynamics processors.
Perfectly executed, Zip’s six Analysis modes — Amplitude, Quietness, Brightness, Darkness, Noisiness, and Tonalness — spark deeper compression or expansion based on signal level, frequency content, or noise feeding its Input. Indeed, Noisiness mode can, for example, be used to compress overdriven electric guitar chords while leaving cleaner-sounding phrases on the same track untouched. Darkness mode, meanwhile, makes Zip compress lower-pitched notes on a track more heavily than higher-pitched ones — excellent for taming headroom-robbing low notes on a bass guitar, while Brightness mode does the exact opposite — reining in high-pitched vocal choruses, for instance. Amplitude and Quietness modes respectively trigger processing with louder or softer input signals, while Tonalness mode reacts more strongly to signals containing stable frequencies. Taken together, Zip’s Analysis modes empower its sidechain detector to react selectively to a much broader range of variables than traditional dynamics processors are capable of, greatly improving its ability to tame the most challenging tracks. And when an external sidechain input is needed, Zip has that, too.
Zip’s four Envelope Styles — Classic, Goopy, Quick, and Extreme — modify the processor’s attack and release curves, tailoring them to the engineer’s specific needs. The Extreme style’s lightning-fast response is great for aggressive processing, such as crushing room mics for drums. The compressor’s Classic style and multimode sidechain filters can be used to enhance low-end punch and weight on mixes and masters. Goopy adds vintage glue to individual tracks and full mixes alike. All Envelope Styles can use Peak or RMS (Root Mean Square) detection, with or without Lookahead detection, along with manual settings for Attack and Release controls that further refine Zip’s response. Together, these controls give Zip an extremely wide range of flavors — all dialed in to perfection using the included wet/dry Mix control.
Creatively, it’s Unfiltered Audio’s flagship automatable modulation system that takes Zip into an entirely new realm for compressors and expanders. Its eight different internal modulators, as well as a patch to an external ROLI Lightpad controller, can be used — up to six modulators at once — on most of Zip’s controls. Each modulator can be routed to multiple destinations using simple drag-and-drop technique, unlocking a world of driving rhythmic effects synchronized to the tempo of the host DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). Routing the square wave LFO (Low Frequency Oscillator) to the expander’s Threshold control creates a pulsing gate, transforming a static synth pad into a dynamic staccato dance groove. Patching the sawtooth LFO to the compressor’s Ratio knob creates a big room EDM-style ducking effect synchronized to the song’s beat. Other internal modulators include sinewave LFO, Step Sequencer, Input Follower, Macro Control, Sample and Hold Noise, and a new Gain Reduction control that responds inversely to compression.
Zip shapes tone, too. Its continuously variable Color control provides post-dynamics processing in seven modes, respectively offering phase-modulated distortion, soft saturation, bitcrushing, and four 2-pole cutoff filters (two of which feature cutoffs modulated by Zip’s Analysis modes). Used without Zip’s modulators, the Color modes can be used to fatten up vocals, make drums pop and create dramatic swings in timbre on keyboard tracks with each note attack. When patched to Zip’s LFOs, the Color knob becomes a gateway to tempo-synched filter sweeps and pulsating distortion that make guitar and keyboard tracks come alive.
Whether using its inventive Analysis modes and versatile Envelope Styles to compress or expand tracks in new ways, or its state-of-the-art modulation system to create driving tempo-synched effects, Zip delivers a world of dynamics and tone shaping far beyond the ordinary. It’s a forgone conclusion. Calling Zip a compressor is like calling a Lamborghini a passenger car. It does neither one justice. Zip creates unique effects and solves thorny audio challenges in a flash, leaving traditional compressors in the dust! Dig it? GRAMMY® Award-nominated composer/producer/engineer Charles Stella sure does!
Zip is available for purchase — as an AAX AudioSuite, AAX Native-, AU-, VST2- and VST3-supporting plugin for Mac OS X (10.8 through 10.12), Windows (7 through 10), and Pro Tools 10.3.10 (or higher) — exclusively from Plugin Alliance at an introductory promo price of $99.00 USD through to November 30, 2017, rising to $149.00 USD thereafter.
Fully-functional, 14-day trials are available to anyone registering for a free Plugin Alliance account here:
Note that the proprietary Plugin Alliance Installation Manager means users can select, download, and install only the products and formats needed for their system.
For more in-depth information, including several superb-sounding audio demos, please visit the dedicated Zip webpage here:
Watch Plugin Alliance’s tantalizing trailer for Zip here: