Fuse Audio Labs has just released VPRE-72, a free virtual tube preamp plug-in for macOS and Windows.
It emulates classic studio equipment released in the early 1950s, a glorious pre-amp that became the blueprint for the later V76 and the classic REDD.47 preamps used on numerous Beatles sessions.
I’m always excited when some vintage gear comes in plugin form, especially if this is free!
I’m used to starting my mixing sessions by inserting subtle saturation at the beginning of each channel’s chain of effects. This usually helps create more sonic glue, some warmth, and overall harmonic excitement and polish.
The VPRE-72 aerial tube pre catches the spirit of the original hardware with a faithful emulation of the input and output transformers, the dual EF804s pentode circuit with its peculiar feedback structure, as well as the heavy output choke which produces a subtle touch of air.
The plugin is very simple to use, so you can start using it straight away in your sessions without any sharp learning curve.
Use the Drive control found on the left to apply as much tube saturation as your audio source needs, or even push it a little further for some gentle and musical saturation.
The best part is that no matter how far you go with it, the gain is always compensated. That way you’re not fooled by the louder-is-better trap, but you can focus on the added sound colouration.
The Trim knob on the right has a range from -18 dB to +18 dB, so you’re able to perfectly gain match or attenuate your signals.
A cool addition to the VPRE-72 is the V76-style low and high-cut filters that let you shape the result to your needs.
Saturation and filters are two audio processes that should always come side by side since they perfectly complement each other.
If the filter knobs are fully turned left, they are Flat, so basically, the filter stage is bypassed.
The low-cut filter can reach 80 Hz, while the high-cut filter can arrive at 3 kHz.
There’s even a classy VU meter at the top, for the vintage aficionados.
The Power button is a global bypass, to easily switch on and off the overall circuit effect.
Talking of the design part, it has screws, textures, and some scratches for vintage look-feel.
VPRE-72 is available for both macOS and Windows in VST2, VST3, AU, and AAX plug-in formats.
Download: VPRE-72 (FREE for registered users)