By now you're probably familiar with the concept of impulse response-based reverb. If you’re not, we can tell you that it uses special recordings to capture the effect of a real environment on sounds, creating a blueprint from which the character of a room can be applied to any signal.
ColorTone-Pro enables you to apply a similar process to hardware equipment. Using special recordings of a range of classic vintage and modern hardware units, the character of each one can be applied to different signals.
Not only that, but a variety of warmth controls enable you to heighten the effect, and an intriguing wet/dry mix mechanism enables some creative control and applies compression to the output depending on the wet/dry balance.
This is particularly useful for A-B comparisons, as it means you avoid the psycho-acoustic pitfall of simply preferring the louder version.
All good in theory, and fortunately the execution is pretty tight too. We hesitate to get too carried away when modelling plug-ins are described as totally realistic, but this one can certainly add a very special something to your sound and take it to greater extremes than was possible with original hardware.
At the moment, there are two versions of ColorTone: Free and Pro. The latter runs on Mac only, while the former is available for PC users too. The main functional difference is that Mac users can generate their own impulse responses.
This isn’t what we’d call an essential plug, but it is an interesting concept, and one we expect to see used elsewhere. If you want to get onboard this particular technology train early, then take a look.