Our Rating: 4 Out Of 5
Our Rating: 4 Out Of 5
KSHMR Chain review
The latest Excite Audio release to speed up your workflow
The new plugin from Excite Audio offers workflow speed improvements for your DAW (if you don’t have them already). A clever plugin to speed up changes across multiple tracks, we take a look and see what it has to offer in our KSHMR Chain review.
What is KHHMR Chain used for?
The USP of this product is the avoidance of repeating tasks while producing music. To try and not interrupt the (work)flow is key to keeping inspiration moving and getting the track finished. The whole concept of KSHMR chain is to have a primary set of plugins and settings (known as the chain leader) and be able to apply these across to other tracks by simply adding one plugin to each of these tracks (the chain follower). The follower is then linked to the required Chain leader and all settings will replicate across.
Explain that again please?
Ok – remember those comedy dance acts where there was one man in the middle and then three or four other mannequins in a line connected to him with sticks – well think of the Chain Leader as the man and then the Chain Follower as the mannequins. Whatever the chain leader does, the follower follows.
Sort of. The extra features here are that the settings can be individually tweaked if you want and dialled in and adjusted where required. But the concept is pretty much that. Now we know what it does, let’s look at the features.
KSHMR Chain review features
- Leader-Follower Workflow
- Powerful Macro Control
- Developed with KSHMR
- Automatic Categorisation
- Parallel Processing
- Customisable FX Chains
At first, I was a little sceptical about the requirement for this plugin when using Bitwig Studio. It didn’t offer anything that I couldn’t do already with FX chains or grouping tracks. However, I also found myself discovering things I did like about the plugin too such as the way my VST plugins are organised by type, and some other features we can cover further down the list.
How does KSHMR differ to FX Groups?
With KSHMR Chain, you get the ease of applying effects to a group – only now they are applied to each track individually. This is different do applying via an FX group because while the whole effect is only set up on the Leader, the effect applies to the individual follower track. Meaning that if you have something like a compressor which has to deal with each track indiviually, you only need one instance but it will behave as though there is an instance per track.
This simple but powerful development means you can fine-tune both individual and collective elements of your mix at the same time. It’s also a big advantage when exporting stems, as you can bounce out separate stems with effects and automation intact – a process that is not possible with all DAWs (but you can with Bitwig).
What I liked during the KSHMR Chain review
The main thing I like with this plugin was the plugin hub that puts every tool in your collection right where you need it. The library of plugins I have makes it difficult to find them on occasion and this utility offered a neat solution to organise.
KSHMR Chain’s browser will scan all the plugins you own and group them in a clear and logical order, making it easier than ever to find your favourites.
You can also create your own categories, as well as store Chain presets that can include multiple plugins along with their predefined settings. I noticed during the KSHMR Chain review was the fluid UI can pull up your go-to vocal chain or bass preset in seconds, and skip the fiddly steps that slow you down. And, if something isn’t quite working, simply swap out a plugin in the chain and try out a different flavour of compression, reverb, or whatever you think it needs.
What I didn’t like about KSHMR Chain
I’ll be honest, it’s a bit bland and not very intuitive. It doesn’t grab as a modern looking plugin however in all fairness the effort looks to have gone into functionality over looks and so it wins back some points there. If there was a way to have even a dark or light choice of interface, that would work better for me however that is a personal choice.
I also mention how it is not very intuitive. I’m a hands on and learn that way kind of person however this was a product where I had to read a manual (well watch a video) to understand what it was for and what it did. Having said that, I’ve learnt a lot from doing so and found out about some neat features too. A flick through the book is the definite way to begin with this one.
Overall I think the more I use this the more I’ll grow to like it. It’s dropped a star on this KSHMR chain review purely for the points I didn’t like about it, however the intro price of £29 at Plugin Boutique feels about right. I can certainly see where some producers would benefit from this product and I look forward to seeing more from Excite Audio.
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