IK Multimedia — T-RackS3
When it comes to getting a “bang for buck” bundle for mastering without compromising sound quality, you should look no further than T-RackS mastering suite.
Included in the bundle are 9 effects processors and 3 models of vintage analogue processors. This, along with 2 optional “classic compressor” add-ons for the 1176 and LA2A. These are typically not used in mastering, but are rock mix staples. Maybe you can see where IK Multimedia is progressing with T-RackS? IK Multimedia hears my cries for a Distressor and Fatso Emulation!
The beauty of T-RackS, compared to many other mastering bundles, is its flexibility to not only operate as a standalone program, but also as a single plug-in with up to 12 processors, or as a series of “singles”, to allow you to mix and match easy and save valuable CPU resources. Take note Izotope!
I’d be lying if I told you that every single processor in this bundle is my preferred plug-in for its purpose. For instance out of the digital EQ’s I prefer the FabFilter Pro Q and for the Limiter I prefer the Fabfilter Pro-L and PSP Xenon. HOWEVER none of the processors are at all bad in fact they are all very good and if I could only afford one bundle then I wouldn’t think twice about buying only the T-RackS bundle.
Also the Classic Clipper, White 2A, Black 76, Tube Limiter 670 are all readily used in my productions and masters and it I can’t think of a single production of late that hasn’t used at least one of them. In my humble opinion IK multimedia’s emulations of classic hardware is second to none (although processor hungry) and a reason on its own to buy the T-RackS bundle.
Metering is nice and efficient, the Peak, RMS and Phase meters are excellent however I’d love to see a more flexible Spectrum analysis like in Waves PAZ Analyzer and also a Dynamic Range and K-system meter.
There is some room for improvement. With such an array of plug-ins in a bundle I find it a surprise that there is no Stereo-expansion functionality (although I understand the phase minefield you enter with Stereo-expansion). I also find the standalone mode clunky and difficult to navigate and would always recommend that you used T-RackS inside a host sequencer.
The T-RackS bundle although marketed at the mastering engineer is in fact as much use when mixing (using singles) as mastering, which shows their versatility and stability.
To conclude IK Multimedia’s T-RackS bundle is the best value and highest quality complete mastering bundle out there. If you can only afford one then this is the one to go for. If you can afford multiple plug-ins you certainly have more options but for the price I would still strongly consider buying the whole bundle especially for the quality of the analogue emulations quite frankly the LA2a and 1176 emulations are sound superior to the waves and UA versions, also heavier on the CPU than both.
PLUG IN RATING [8/10]
IK Multimedia T-RackS is available here:
PRICE = $199.99 for the basic bundle.