Getting Started with the SPL Tube Vitalizer Stereo Mastering Enhancer

In the video below, Maxe Axelsson of Swedish-based Pama Studios covers the basics of using the the SPL Tube Vitalizer in the Analog Matrix.

The SPL Tube Vitalizer is the top model in the Vitalizer product range and employs a symbiotic combination of tubes, LC filters, IC technology, multiband compression & Vitalizer technology. It was designed for discerning applications in professional recording, mastering, and cutting.

Video Transcript: 

“Hi! Today, we’re going to look into the SPL Tube Vitalizer Program equalizer that I first used at Gateway Mastering in the United States with the guru Bob Ludwig.

It’s maybe not the easiest unit to get started with so that’s what we’re going to cover today. And it’s definitely a favorite tool that I like to use on the master bus, a mix bus, or in the mastering stage. So let’s check it out.

Okay, let’s dig into the unit and see how I use it. So these are my settings when I start to work on the unit. So first of all, you see that I have drive on 0, bass on 0 and I have no compression at all included in the signal path. The level on the high frequency, high mid and intensity is set to 0, which means that there will not be any effect on the high frequencies coming into the signal path.

Process level is on five. And I have no tubes included when I start. Sometimes I do, depending on if I want to use it in a way with more saturation for example. So this is my starting point. And if you use another preset when you load the unit, this will be the setup for it.

Okay, we will now dig into the bass bottom end with passive filter. First, we will look into the left side called soft. And we will look into what happens in the bass bottom end when you use the parameter bass. So let’s start. So you can see the frequency and pay attention mostly on this side here. And let us now first of all increase the process level so it will be easier to hear the difference here.

So let’s move the bass to the left side and check out what happened. And also listen to it, especially if you have some headphones or good studio monitors. So you can clearly hear the difference here with what happened in the bowl and bass bottom end. Up in the right corner here you can see it says 54 Hertz, there we see the peak for these.

Let let us now move over to the right side called tight. First on 0, reset over to tight. And now we’re going to include the passive filter with the coil and condenser in the signal path. So pay attention around 50 hertz here. And listen and look into the frequency analyzer here. And you can directly see the effect of the coil. This is a great way if you want to add a little bit of a punch around this area. So try these settings out.

This was an introduction to the bass, and how to use these in your mixes. I use it on mix busses, drum busses, and even for mastering.

Okay, we’re now gonna look into the high frequencies and we have a several buttons and knobs to work on here. So let’s dig into it. So, first of all the high mid frequency here is set to 1 kilohertz. So everything from one kilohertz and above will be affected on the settings of how much of the effect we want to add to the signal path. If I go up to 22,000 Hertz that means you get just a little bit of a silky smooth kind of thing that you would maybe want on some vocals or in the mix.

High frequency here. I should say that this filter is kind of also a transparency filter and I have used it on old tapes. That has given a very cool result.
Intensity is how much of these effects you want to add to your mix.  So let’s just start to listen a little bit here and we will start at one kilohertz and I will bring up the intensity to full so you can easily hear what the difference is. I never use it on full but right now we will. And as you hear right now, we’re only in the top end regions to affect the sound.

We also have a passive filter. LC filter with the coil and condenser. So let’s hear the difference here. And you can hear a lot of differences that you can work with on your mixes with that unit. I really like this unit and I use it pretty often on mix busses, subgroups or even when mastering.

The compressor: the compressor is a soft knee compressor. Just play around with it and add it to your mix. So as you see right now, I’m running it a little bit pushed to the bass in the tight side and also with the filter. And also, I have the high frequency pretty… I should say a lot. But this is just how to show you a little bit about how the bass comp and the high comp works. So we can add the bass first and just listen to it. So as you can hear you can control the bass using the bass comp in these and as I said as a soft knee compressor. So backing off and let’s do the same on the high compressor. So it’s pretty easy to just control a little bit of the peaks here in your mix. That is a little bit about the high compressor.

The last part of the SPL is tubes and saturation. When I’m doing mastering I am using the attenuator settings and I often have these on full all the time. When I do vinyl mastering, I use it with tubes and LC filter not every time but regularly. I like these kinds of settings because you have a crossover as you have on the old vinyl and stuff like that. So I like these settings. When I want to crank it and work with sounds that makes the drums dirty and stuff like that I’m more over on the limiter side.

I’m using the drive fully up, +6 DB and also as you can see, I’m driving the input stage a little bit harder and I have a 3.5 DB increase on the input now. Let’s bring up the process level and listen. What happens when you are working with sound design and stuff like that and you want to add distortion into it? So you can definitely hear the distortion in the bottom end here. And depending on how you have your settings and stuff like that, if you think that your mid and treble gets a little bit dull, in that case play around with the bottom ends high frequency and intensity.

That is a little bit about the tube section and how you can use it.”


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