Audified have been in the plugin game a long time. Over the last while they have been focused on developing their great ToneSpot series. The series is meant to represent a number of plugins in a processing chain.
These are not amp sims, they are all-in-one processing chains designed for specific instruments. Whether you use them to replace a standard processing chain, add them to your existing processing chain or on a buss track, there are many ways to use .
There are plugins in the line for drums, bass, vocals, acoustic with more likely on the way. This review includes ToneSpot Electric Pro, Electric Express, Tonespot Bass Pro and ToneSpot Bass Express.
**All of the testing I did with these plugins was done with amp sims or a dry DI signal**
TONESPOT ELECTRIC PRO
The GUI is similar for most of the ToneSpot series which is nice if you buy more than one. Everything is laid out perfectly and the spectrum of controls users get across the plugin is impressive. Compression, EQ, Effects and a ton of other options provide any post effects chain required for a really great mix-ready guitar tone.
Many things are needed to get that “mix-ready” sound. Whether used sparingly or heavily, there are more than a few techniques and plugins involved. Asking one plugin to do all of this would normally not be something I would recommend but this plugin is awesome. I’ve never heard a single plugin do such a great job at so many things. The CPU also doesn’t reflect the amount of power this plugin has or how much work it’s doing which is a really great sign.
The presets really do a full and thorough job of showcasing ToneSpot Electric Pro’s full range of capabilities. The preset range is extensive, there are many different chains for many different players. Some use the full power of the plugin and some just a little but ultimately with a tool like TSEP, it’s good to really get to know the full GUI.
With rhythm guitars, I am a big fan of doing as little post-processing as possible. I like to make sure my source material is as good as I can get it so I don’t end up needing more than hi and lo pass filters in and EQ followed by a limiter. I was worried there would be no “barely processed” kind of approach but I ended up with plenty of settings that still provided a transparent or “bare” feel.
Processing lead work is similar for me but I’ll add some compression and delay. I found plenty of ways to create great chains for clean, rhythm and lead that normally require 3-4 plugins. The effects section really provides some nice delays, reverbs, modulation and tremolo for getting just the right feel for any lead part.
I also really like using this plugin on a buss. I’ll send my rhythm guitar tracks to the buss track and then use the compression and saturation to create some more depth in the mix. While not the intended purpose of the plugin necessarily, it’s certainly a great bonus.
TONESPOT BASS PRO
I will freely admit that my bass processing skills leave much to be improved on. My intermediate knowledge in this area actually improved when I started using TSBP. The plugin helped to show me a few things I was doing wrong while enlightening some struggling points.
I really liked the plugin’s abilities in the compression and saturation departments. A good modern bass tone can benefit from a little to a bunch of both to add cut, punch and more. There are no empty features involved, everything here does the job.
Building chains from scratch is really easy after a little time getting a feel for things with the presets. Simple to complex chains that help to create great tones for any style of bass but the bigger focus here is processing a bass tone for a mix. Users get everything needed for just that.
ELECTRIC & BASS EXPRESS
The pro version can be a little overwhelming for those that may be looking for something faster and/or more simplified. Enter the Express versions of the ToneSpot products. Basically, this is where Audified condense the controls from several knobs to just two.
All of the plugins have a little express version and they are still very handy but for my needs, the Pro versions are much better. Condensing that many controls to only two removes too many of the plugin’s most useful features so I wouldn’t see it as an alternative. I understand the purpose and aim of these but I think 4-5 knobs might allow for a little more freedom.
UPS / DOWNS
Some people may look at all-in-one processing as too much of a shortcut but there are exceptions. ToneSpot Electric Pro provides a level of quality that greatly exceeds that of the others in it’s category. There’s a high level of quality in the effects inside this juggernaut of processing power and I would say any guitarist could find a lot of use from it. Overall, I love the pro versions in the ToneSpot series.
I would advise that users have at least a basic understanding of post-processing before reaching to something like the ToneSpot series. Having a grasp on the game makes TSEP a much more effective plugin. It also helps to understand the various sections, how they operate and how they work together. It’s not a cure all unless you know how to administer the medication y’know?
See more: Audified ToneSpot release videos