Voxengo Elephant - User Reviews
Been using these for about 6 years and I wanted to express how much I appreciate them. HarmoniEQ is such an asset to adding color. In the tradition of the Pultec EQP-1 I often bring frequencies down with the stock Reaper EQ and bring them back up with HarmoniEQ, adding color when I don't even need an EQ adjustment. It's been especially effortless to change an electric guitar's tone when I feel like, "I wish he'd played a tele here instead of that SG." Even after I picked up Warm Audio WA-412 for overall coloration, HarmoniEQ is still invaluable for shaping coloration so I'm less in need of spending thousands on different analog devices to achieve the specific profile I'm after.
I have some feature suggestions, first would be to add a non-colored EQ for pulling down frequencies so the Pultec trick is fully integrated, and also I think it could benefit from higher oversampling factors since the difference between 4x and 8x is plainly audible to me, would love to see 12x, 16x, 24x, and even 32x since CPU is pretty abundant these days. Even folks who are light on CPU can adjust the mix at lower oversampling, then set up a render queue with the oversampling cranked, and have the DAW process it slowly overnight while they sleep.
I still use the old version of SPAN because I'm set in my ways, but also those average and peak RMS readings are such great measures to ensure my mixes are the same general volume.
The bass saturation feature in LF Max Punch gets so much use, even on vocals to give them a "closer" feel to them, on overheads and ambient mics to get more room impact on the lows, places I never would have thought to use them. Brilliant tool!
Elephant is the only remotely pumpy limiter I'll use. I like my mixes to be highly realistic, which means I can't stand LA1176's, but sometimes a bit of pump sets the right tone without sounding desperate. Elephant nails that every time.
Here's some pearls for folks who don't appreciate how awesome a phase adjustment tool PHA-979 is. Any recording that's live or live off the floor with ambient mics, you can use PHA-979 to phase-align direct mics to the ambient mics by adjusting the phase so the lower frequencies combine the most (might actually be nice to have a mono version just for this). Then put a PHA-979 on an aux bus with L/R set to -90/+90, to generate a side channel. Mute the ambient mics and send all your direct mics through that side channel bus and feather it up until you can barely notice the widening effect. Now unmute the ambient mics, and you can't tell where they end and the direct mics begin. It's the glue between the two without the muddying of early reflection reverb. I haven't found any other plug-in that accomplishes that nearly as well as PHA-979, and it's not nearly enough anti-phase to ruin the mix when summed mono.
Voxengo plugs do more than just a good job, they really make the job more enjoyable.
I use Voxengo Elephant on Linux (kxStudio 16.04) in Ardour via LinVST.
I pretty much use it in all my mixes in the master strip. If you don't drive it into insane compression, it performs very well, you can't hear it but you're forever safe from clipping. Best practice seems to be to use a multiband compressor first to create a transparent master, and then apply a little bit of loudness and limiting with the Elephant.
A valuable tool for me which I use every day. Great!
In a market bloated with 'emulations' of classic gear, it's rare to find juicy sounding plugins that capture the best qualities of 'classic', offer some flexibility and don't break the bank. In the universe of more tweakable plugins, here too only a few offerings stand out.
After years of working with hundreds of plugins from numerous companies, I've found only a handful of offerings that keep me coming back. One of those companies that still hold a top spot is Voxengo. Their plugins are 'analog' without being slavishly limited to a given hardware model; flexible but not overloaded with 'feature bloat'; affordable without sacrificing sound quality; and have excellent & consistent GUIs to work with. A winning combination.
There is definitely a place for well designed emulations of classic gear, but when you require some flexibility and/or modernity, Voxengo is great choice. Their uniform GUIs also promote actually listening to the music!
Voxengo also has an easy robust activation system (no dongles), exceptional reliability (I've never had a Voxengo plugin crash my DAW in 14 years) and full 64 bit floating point processing*.
I was at an awards evening a few days ago and it occurred to me just how much I have come to rely on the Elephant Limiter.
Like most professional mastering engineers, I own a range of top quality limiters (including the old L2 hardware even). However, in my chain anyway, nothing seems to equal the Elephant in terms of getting the best out of the song. I chose it almost 100% of the time.
And it has served me well … in the last little while alone it has seen songs I have mastered go to #1 iTunes, sell double platinum, #2 hot 100, #1 iTunes metal, make the ARIA charts (our equivalent of the RIAA), #1 country radio, over 15 million streams on Spotify alone, win song of the year, artist of the year and so on. All with the Elephant as limiter.
I just wanted to say how much I genuinely appreciate your work on the Elephant. Thank you so very much for such an outstanding limiter!
All the best
I'm using Elephant for years now, and I'm a very satisfied customer. I'm not an engineer, just a musician, and Elephant helps me to finish my backing tracks before the gigs, and give them the power needed for a big nice sound. To be honest, as I said, I'm not an sound engineer, and never tried to work with the settings, as I don't know what they do. I just use the presets and everything is just fine.
I wanted to express my gratitude to the developper for this wonderful plug-in, which by the way is not expensive, and is doing miracles, at least for me.
Thank you sir, thank you...