Black Rooster Audio has introduced VHL-3C, a freeware vintage Pultec-style filter effect in VST/AU/AAX plugin formats for PC and Mac.
VHL-3C is based on Black Rooster Audio’s component-based circuit simulation technology which was used to emulate the classic Pultec passive filter design. The plugin is suitable for cleaning up the high and low end of the processed signal’s frequency spectrum before it reaches an EQ or a compressor. The emulated filters sounds very natural and transparent, making them more suitable for use on certain types of audio material compared to a standard parametric EQ (most of which have built-in high-pass and low-pass filters).
The control scheme is very simple and intuitive. There’s a bypass switch, two cutoff knobs (one for each filter), and a switch for adjusting the filter slope. The cutoff knobs aren’t smooth. There’s a range of preset values to choose from, along with the “OFF” setting for each filter. The high-pass filter ranges from 50 Hz to 2 kHz, whereas the low-pass filter ranges from 1.5 kHz to 15 kHz.
The plugin performed well during my test and the CPU hit is reasonably low. The GUI is large enough for use on high-resolution monitors and the design is quite decent as well. One thing to note is that you’ll need to sign up for a free Black Rooster Audio user account in order to activate VHL-3C on your computer.
On a related note, the same developer has released VEQ-5, a commercial equalizer plugin based on the classic Pultec push-pull equalizer design. If you’re looking for a freeware Pultec equalizer to add to your arsenal, check out the excellent PTEq-X plugin by Ignite Amps (it was included on our list of the best free VST plugins released in 2016).
VHL-3C is available for free download via Black Rooster Audio (88.3 MB download size, ZIP archive containing EXE installer, 32-bit & 64-bit VST/AU/AAX plugin formats for Windows & Mac OS).