When I first read the description on Bootsy’s website of the new Thrillseeker XTC I didn’t know what to make of it. It’s a 3 band exciter, um… I think that adds mojo?
The Master Bus
When I downloaded the two files it came with I noticed the blue version was for hot (loud) material and the black version was for quieter material. Both do the same exact thing but one has more headroom than the other. The first thing I tried was putting it on after my bus compressor on an entire mix. As always, with any mastering plugin, a little goes a long way. I found that the mojo knob was better off being completely off when mastering. Also, I turned up the EQ knobs just a teensy bit but still kept them on (with the red light still on). The mix sounded better with the XTC on rather than off. It’s sort of like how mastering engineers used to (and still do) put Pultec EQ’s in their mastering chain. It just adds that little flavor you can’t do without.
After trying it on the master fader I took it off and tried it on individual tracks. Wow! At first I noticed that you can give individual tracks way more EQ with the low, mid and air knobs and it still sounds good. Another thing I noticed was that sometimes (like with my drum bus group) I didn’t like the way it sounded compared to the original track when soloed. When the track wasn’t soloed, though, it would fit much better in the mix. I ended up playing around with the mojo knob and I can’t think of a better way to describe what it does to tracks than it simply adds mojo to them. Analogue mojo, if you will. I would turn the mojo up and down until that particular track would just warmly hug everything around it. The great thing about it is it’s extremely subtle so you can really crank it up, while still really affecting your song.
For the three EQ knobs (low, mid and air) I would try to think of what I would boost if I was just using a regular EQ. When I started to crank them up, it was incredible! I felt like it just took that frequency range and the more I turned it up, the more friendly it was to everything around it- the more mojo it had. After I would get the EQ’s and the mojo knob set the way I wanted, I’d play with the mix knob (basically a dry/wet knob) to see how much of the XTC I wanted on the track. More often than not, I would have it cranked pretty high or all the way up. It just added so much analogue character to the mix that the next thing I knew I had put it on every track.
Grooving Up The Mix
Even when put on every single track the XTC only added groovy mojo and nothing else. No bad vibes were present at all. It never muddied up the mix the way I thought it might if placed on every track. It just made the mix sound better. I feel like this is one of the most original plugins I have ever used and am so surprised that it is freeware. Because of this plugin’s unique and stunning ability to add such great analog flavor to a mix, this should be ranked up there with the likes of Universal Audio and PSP Audio Ware plugins, for sure!
Rick Saxby lives in the Nashville area and since 1999 has produced and recorded various local independent artists in the area- starting on four tracks in 1998 and then moving on to computer based recording in 2001.
He interned at Osborne Studio and Sound for five years and received a Bachelors of Accounting from MTSU. He currently runs nashvillebros.com, where you can buy beats online and find cool art prints.
Download Thrillseeker XTC: click here