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Acustica Audio Coral : A great way to achieve pro-sounding and polished mixes



I'm printing some mixes through this "beast". It sounds warm and full but in a transparency way. I really love the EQ for the tonal shaping. It’s based on a classic Baxandall configuration, its smooth slopes easily allow broad musical corrections with minimum phase smearing. It' quite easy to find the best curve eq for your track, few gain boosts in the correct frequencies, give width and depth to your mixes. The Compressor section, basically works around 9 presets, where each preset sets a different configuration of the attack and release curves : starting from the left the attack and release times increase (and are further split into individual attack and release settings). Here you can then select the attack and release times among 6 different values (stepped). As other recent compressors of Acustica Audio, it is included a control knob called SHMOD : a modulation of the attack that increases its flexibility and moulds its shape. I found it very useful to fine-tune the behavior of the compressor, in general lower values allow to get a more detail and cleanliness in the low frequency range. The values of SHMOD starts from 1 to 4 (2 is the default position). There is also a Mix knob, that allow you to control the amount of compression (from Dry = no compression to Wet = full compression)...from 30% to 50% it's great to add more body to the mix (like a parallel compression). The sidechain button when activated avoid compressing the low frequencies while maintaining a more natural behavior of the compressor. The Preamp section is an addition to the various modules of Coral that allows you to give a special color to the mix. You can choose 3 different modules : CORAL, TAPE or AIR. The first (CORAL), is the most balanced, giving to the mix a stronger cohesion between sounds. TAPE is pretty cool, resulting more controlled in the high frequency (working as a hpf) but, at the same time solid and punchy in the low range. AIR is like a "Smiley face EQ" with reduced midrange frequency power. Last but not least : The Elliptical Filter! It is a crossover filter followed by a stereo image controller. The use of an elliptical filter is mandatory when the mastering process is intended for vinyl-cutting. But I found it very interesting to use it in many other situations. In conclusion Coral is complex and takes time to assimilate the functioning and interaction between the various parameters of the different modules. Anyway, what really counts, is that it sounds very good, so that it has become, and will be one of my first choices in mastering, alongside all my analog setup.

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