Maximising loudness is very much a part of contemporary mastering, and it's typically done using limiters, clipping, saturation or a combination thereof.
Dissatisfied with these approaches, Slate Digital put their heads together to devise an alternative: FG-X. This is a single plug-in that houses FG Comp, a master bus compressor, and FG Level, which offers a new type of maximisation called Intelligent Transient Preservation (ITP), a sort of smart saturation process. Rounding it off are peak, RMS and VU meters.
Sonically, FG Comp is audio butter - it's one of the smoothest, most transparent compressors we've heard. It's hard to make it pump, yet somehow it still grabs the transients in all the right places.
Unlike a lot of compressors, the gain reduction meter is set to show a very small range of just 3dB by default, which is spot-on for most mastering situations. That's a sensible touch.
We found FG Comp equally adept at providing subtle mix 'glue', gentle level riding, and giving material a 'compressed' feel without being obnoxious.
Interestingly, it's one of the few master bus compressors we've found to be useful with complex, full-on material like extreme metal, as it can control these mixes without simply overreacting. Oh, and it's worth a try on instruments, too - we like what it can do on a drums bus, for instance.
Combined with FG Level, FG-X preserves punch and dynamic definition like nothing else. Anyone who does mastering needs to check it out.5 Stars