Freebie of the Month – IVGI Saturator from Klanghelm
If you do not know Klanghelm, there are several reasons you should, and this free saturator/distortion plug-in certainly is one of those reasons.
by David Baer, May 2017
Today we look at IVGI, a saturator/distortion plug-in from Klanghelm. It does warm and sweet, and it does aggressive and nasty, and it does everything in between with aplomb. And, of course, it’s free.
Klanghelm is a small Berlin-based company that offers a boutique collection of audio plug-ins. Founder and sole employee, Tony Frenzel, is a music-loving software developer who got in the audio plug-in business in part because he wanted a few things he couldn’t buy and so developed the skills to create them himself. In his own words (from the Klanghelm web site):
I only create plugins I need / want for myself, something I am missing. I am not trying to fill a market niche or something. I want to code decent sounding stuff that’s easy to use and, most of all, a joy to use. I am not interested in emulating existing analog gear in the digital realm. I want to build stuff that’s missing in the analog world. I want to code stuff that stands on its own feet sound-wise, being different, not worse than the best existing gear (analog and digital).
One of the most notable things about Klanghelm is Tony’s philosophy regarding software copy protection. Again, in his own words:
I hate copy protection. I’ve suffered from it in the past. I’ve lost countless hours because of copy protection. I believe copy protection only punishes the honest customers, because the software gets cracked anyway. I simply refuse to waste my resources on copy protection schemes. Instead, I want to spend my time supporting existing products, improving them and developing new plugins. I believe in a world of trust and copy protection has got nothing to do with that.
Starting to sound like a company with whom you’d feel good about doing business? Add to that mix the fact that Klanghelm plug-ins are of high-quality in spite of having modest price tags and the picture looks even better. Add further to that mix that three Klanghelm products have limited-edition but fully usable free versions – better still.
The plug-in we look at today, the IVGI (and I have no idea of what those letters are an abbreviation), has been around a while, so it’s not exactly newsworthy from that standpoint. But we have never covered it here, so that’s reason enough to call it to the attention of our readers. The IVGI’s full-function sibling, the SDRR, is priced at only €22 EUR, so if you fall in love with the freebie, chances are good you will find the commercial product affordable.
The IVGI could hardly have a less complicated UI. Six knobs control its function (and, yes, that small input trim knob in the upper left actually turns out to be kind of important). There is no preset capability, but with such a sparse interface, it’s hardly needed. You would probably need to tweak at least half the knobs while setting up your track even if you started from a preset in any case, so lack of a preset capability is no big deal. Briefly, let’s look at the controls.
The documentation recommends that the aforementioned input Trim control be set so that the In signal on the VU meter is close to 0 for optimal performance. The meter can show In level, Out level and Out minus In. This last option is convenient. Having set the input trim, set the Output control such that the Out minus In difference is zero, thus avoiding the common louder-is-better misjudgment when evaluating your settings.
What the ASym Mix control does is rather complex, if you read what the user documentation says, but I think you are well-served by treating it as one of those set-by-ear controls. At all but high Drive levels, changing this setting is subtle, or at least that was my experience. The Response control is a little more audibly obvious. If you think of it as a somewhat restrained EQ function, you’ll get by just fine, although there is more to it than that according to the documentation. The function of the Drive control should be obvious. Finally, another quite subtle control is the X-Talk knob in the upper right. It controls crosstalk, but even at the highest setting, I found it to be hard to hear what effect it had on the sound.
And there you have it. Get to know this effect and I would expect you’ll be interested in checking out the other two free Klanghelm downloads (compressor modules, both) and quite possibly be interested in opening your wallets for the full-function versions of these very capable plug-in effects.
IVGI is available on PC and Mac in all major formats (including VST3) and 32/64-bit compatibility. Find out more and download from here: