Kiriki Liszt releases JS Inflator, a freeware Sonnox Inflator clone in VST plugin format for Windows.
Sonnox’s Inflator is one of those storied plugins that’s probably a bit simpler under the hood than it seems.
Attempts to clone the sound of Inflator have been present for quite some time, with a notable one being a preset developed for MeldaProduction’s MWaveshaper, as shown in the video below.
JS Inflator is done in a similar vein but was developed for the express purpose of replicating the functionality of Sonnox’s Inflator. JS Inflator has an uncluttered interface, with a handful of controls present on the interface. The interface is easy to read, with a pair of meters denoting the input and output gain.
Bypass cuts the processing; it’s a typical bypass. Clip introduces soft clipping and prevents overages. If you’ve typically run Inflator before your mastering limiter, it functions identically here.
Curve manipulates the distortion curve of the waveshaper, with higher values representing more distortion or saturation applied to the incoming audio. Effect is a bit more nebulous control-wise, but it seems to serve as a blend knob when applying the waveshaping to your audio material.
So, how does it sound? I’ve been a long-time owner of the Oxford Inflator, and it stacks favorably. The original Inflator is perhaps more efficient on the CPU, but the differences between the two are negligible.
One area where the JS Inflator doesn’t quite stack up is in the multiband processing of the original. Wideband processing is the order of the day here, which is fine. If you’ve been on the fence about purchasing Inflator, this is a quick and effective alternative that costs nothing.
JS Inflator is a capable waveshaper, and it sounds great on most materials. The lack of oversampling isn’t a massive deal, as the original Inflator also lacks it.
JS Inflator is freeware and is found readily on this GitHub page. It is a Windows-only plugin and requires a 64-bit host. Supported plugin formats are VST and VST3, but you’ll need some development know-how to compile for VST2.
Download: JS Inflator