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It was Digital Performer 4.5 that saw the introduction of the MasterWorks EQ MAS plug-in, “inspired by legendary British console EQs...[to deliver] the look, feel, and sound of the most sought-after classic equalizers.” DP 6 introduced the MasterWorks Leveler—”...an accurate model of the legendary Teletronix LA-2A optical leveling amplifier...”— and also a handy CPU-efficient convolution reverb called ProVerb.
Collectively packaging these plugins for Mac OS X as The Master- Works Collection, MOTU is making them work with Cubase, Live, Logic, PT and other AU/VST hosts.
At $295, The MasterWorks Collection could be said to represent remarkable value when compared to individually priced plug-ins from other weighty brands. Installation was flawless. I launched my DAW of choice—Apple Logic Pro 9 (Version 9.1.3)—delving immediately into MOTU’s marvelous ProVerb convolution reverb, scrolling through and applying its many factory-supplied impulse responses (IRs) to a variety of instruments. It didn’t disappoint. Designed to meet the needs of music production, Foley and dialogue replacement, variety is key here, with a fair degree of tweak-ability available.
MOTU’s ProVerb permits loading any audio file as an impulse response directly from the Mac OS X Finder, provided it’s in a standard audio file format (such as WAV, SDII, AIFF, and the like). As far as this reviewer is concerned, this is the proverbial ace up ProVerb’s sleeve. MOTU’s planned MasterWorks maintenance update (Version 1.0.1) will add the ability to drag and drop entire IR libraries into ProVerb.
I tested the MasterWorks EQ with a variety of musical material within Logic Pro 9; to these ears, it clearly represents a marked improvement over Logic’s standard stereo Channel EQ, for example. Its accompanying filter response display provides comprehensive control and visual feedback of the EQ curve being applied. Pressing the composite curve and filter curve buttons shows/hides the curves in question, while the FFT display button dynamically displays whatever signal is passing through the MasterWorks EQ plug-in. Another nice touch.
So does the MasterWorks Leveler succeed in accurately modeling the “legendary�� Teletronix LA- 2A? Truth is, original LA-2As can sound distinctly different from each other—time, maintenance and modifications having taken their toll. Complicating matters further still, there were three versions of the original LA-2A before it was discontinued in 1969 (Teletronix having been acquired by UA back in 1967). MOTU masterfully acknowledges this by providing four Model buttons (Fast Modern, Slow Modern, Fast Vintage, Slow Vintage). MOTU avoids visually “modeling” the LA-2A’s front fascia, instead sensibly opting for another practical GUI.
Without having access to either an original or “replica” hardware LA-2A, I cannot comfortably comment on how successfully MOTU’s modeling process has been in this instance. Let’s just say I like it as is...a worthwhile additional flavor that I anticipate making much use of in future, as will also be the case with its MasterWorks EQ and ProVerb plug-in partners.