Hey, guys! Jackson Ward here, and today we’re going to take a look at the True Iron and Synth Warmer by Kazrog.
Kazrog is known for making great plugins at an affordable price point, especially with their guitar amp simulator Thermionik. However, they’ve been making audio plugins for mixing and mastering that are seriously good.
If you’re looking for a plugin that adds weight, warmth, and the tasteful harmonic distortion that mix engineers love, then True Iron is your ticket. When I first tried this plugin I couldn’t believe it was only $39.99. This rivals saturation plugins that cost 3 and 4 times as much. The saturation True Iron provides is based on classic line transformer saturation of popular outboard equipment. The unit emulates 4 different transformers – the UTC 108X, Malotki E4M – 4001B, Western Electric 111C, and Haufe V178. It features a variable mix blend knob, a variable “Crush” knob, unity/boost switch, and a “Strength” knob.
From my experience with it, this is an excellent plugin for thickening tracks and making them hit a little harder. The natural compression that this does when you push it hard and engage the “Crush” knob is stellar on drum shells (try this on a kick!), guitars, vocals, and maybe my favorite – the mix bus. Having the blend knob let me dial in some extreme settings and then mix it in to taste. Each transformer setting has its own characteristics, meaning you really get four different flavors of saturation. Another thing to note is that cool “x2” button near the “Crush” knob. This takes the Crush to an extreme and really lets you hit the unit hard – especially when you have the boost switch engaged – which I should add brings the most accurate transformer sound, according to Kazrog.
The other plugin that took me by surprise is the Synth Warmer. It is an analog emulation of the 1973 Model D Monosynth. It features High Pass and Low Pass filters, 12dB and 24dB per octave topologies, a drive circuit, and a wet/dry mix knob. The purpose of the plugin is to be an analog filter and saturator.
I really liked using this on reverb aux sends for filtering and adding some vibe. It sounds excellent in this application. Synth Warmer shines on synth pads, guitars, and FX tracks. I liked using it in conjunction with True Iron to dial in thick saturation while getting the frequency curve sitting just right. The High Pass filter in this has a really musical tone with a great resonance.
Kazrog has delivered with some excellent plugins at a price point that seems almost too good to be true. My personal favorite of these two is True Iron. Since getting it, I can’t stop putting it across my mix bus and my drums! Seriously – go grab these plugins.