Acustica Audio has announced their holiday freebie, which at this point, is a proud tradition. Arctic is a mix bus utility plugin for Windows and macOS, available for free until January 8th.
Arctic combines multiple channel strip functions into one individual plugin.
The plugin functions as a compressor, limiter, and saturator and can morph between these functions. This is another of Acustica’s plugins featuring their HYPER technology, which is a combination of algorithmic software and Acustica Audio’s proprietary impulse response implementation.
As a mix bus utility, Arctic is simple to use. The left and right sides of the plugin house the input and output knobs, which serve to feed gain to the compressor and balance output for gain staging purposes.
Beside the knobs are meters that operate off RMS. These are clear and easy to read with both a numeric display and traditional metering.
The center panel houses the side chain high pass filter, threshold, and mix knob. Above these controls is the morph slider, which dictates which processor is being engaged. The compression function sounds quite nice. The timing slider below helps to dictate just how grabby or smooth the processed signal ends up.
Limiting is more in the old-fashioned sense than as a final limiter for mastering purposes. There is a clear shift in the compression ratio, but it could do quite well on more energetic mixes. The saturation is pleasing as well, imparting clean harmonics without overly distorting the sound.
Arctic also features oversampling, which is always a blessing when dealing with compressors and saturation alike. The oversampling is a welcome addition and one Acustica hopefully implements into some of their older products soon.
Acustica is offering up Arctic until January 8th, and installation is conducted through their Aquarius application.
Arctic is available for Windows and Mac computers. Windows users have the option of installing VST2, VST3, and AAX plugin formats. Mac users have the option of VST2, VST3, AAX, and AU.
Download: Acustica Audio Arctic (FREE until January 8th)