Cobalt (EQ, Compressor, Preamp, Channel Strip) by Acustica Audio Review

  • By: Thorsten Meyer
  • Date: Tuesday, 3 May 2022
  • Time to read: 13 min.

Cobalt (EQ, Compressor, Preamp, Channel Strip) by Acustica Audio Review

Acustica is serious about developing plugins modeled after vintage, modern, and high-end boutique gear. Acustica has replicated some of many professional all-time preferred hardware, including many devices that are not available at all or very limited in the vast plugin market of emulations. They have one of the most extensive and unique collections of carefully modeled software.

COBALT2 is a VST/AU/AAX plug-in suite with an equalizer, a compressor, a preamp section, and a dynamic equalizer. It’s made up of hand-built vacuum tube units that have a warm, expensive, and distinctive sound.

Cobalt2 – What’s new?

Looking for a powerful and versatile EQ? Look no further than the COBALT2 EQ. This amazing tool features a -10/+10 dB gain excursion, perfect for shaping your sound exactly how you want it. Plus, with two new preamps added to the COBALT2 PRE module, this EQ is more powerful than ever!

If you’re looking for world-class audio processing, look no further than the Cobalt2 suite. This powerful collection of four different plug-ins provides everything you need to get the most out of your sound.

The COBALT2 EQ is a precision tool for sculpting perfect sonic shapes. With its flexible interface and wide range of features, it’s perfect for both subtle refinement and radical alteration.

COBALT2 COMP is a high-performance compression plugin that can add punch and power to your tracks. With its easy-to-use controls, it’s perfect for getting the dynamics just right.

COBALT2 PRE is a versatile preamp plugin that can add warmth and character to your sound. With two new preamps added, it’s more powerful than ever.

The COBALT2 DYN is a dynamic equalizer plugin that can add life and energy to your tracks. With its easy-to-use controls, it’s perfect for getting the sound you want.

Whether you’re looking for a versatile EQ, a punchy compressor, a warm preamp, or a dynamic equalizer, the Cobalt2 suite has you covered. Get the most out of your sound with this powerful collection of plug-ins.

This review is part of an ongoing look at the different Acustica plugin solutions. Today we are looking at Cobalt. Cobalt is a bundle of four plugins, modeled after Luca Martegani’s boutique hardware.

Derived from Luca Martegani’s (Xelius) zero-compromise fully tube-based and hand-build boutique gear, Cobalt sets a new benchmark for in-the-box equalization and compression,” said Nik Georgiev, Marketing Director, Acustica Audio. “Moreover, after combining these ‘building blocks’ we created a new hybrid impossible in the analog domain – the first-ever analog-modeled Dynamic EQ entirely based on sampling.

Luca is the manufacturer of a fantastic suite of hand-built audio equipment, defined by great sound, and quality.

With Cobalt, you receive four different plugins an EQ, a compressor, a preamp, and Channel Strip & Dynamic EQ. Cobalt is one of those plugins that was modeled after specific hardware that you do not find elsewhere. Acustica did send a review copy with no strings attached.

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Cobal Acustica Audio Review

Acustica Audio has announced a new plugin that takes advantage of “augmented reality” technology to create an emulation of a vacuum tube dynamic equalizer. This is a major leap forward for the company’s analog emulation technology and a milestone achievement in the realm of audio plugins.

The new plugin is said to provide an accurate recreation of the sound of vacuum tubes, and to offer a wide range of tonal options. It is also said to be very user-friendly, making it easy for even novice users to get the most out of it. This is sure to be a popular plugin, and will no doubt find its way into the studios of many top producers and engineers.

Installation

You download and install the products after purchase. Acustica provides a tool to authenticate the plugins which you have to use. Recently Acustica has also enhanced the end-user experience when downloading and installing the plugins. If you did use their services before mid-Jan 2018, you would now have a much better experience.

Acustica provides now an excellent tool to install your purchased software.

Cobalt Install

The tools also authorize the plugin through.

Cobalt Authorizing

COBALT2 – Sound

Cobalt as a bundled solution includes an EQ, Compressor, Preamp, and Channel Strip.

In audio, there are many things that are of fundamental importance to the basic sound stage. The depth of the sound spaces, the way transients are handled, etc., so my approach has been focused on the entire sound, not just about the tonal color. The original devices are completely tube-based.

Tubes are used in the input stage, then in all of the internal gain sections, up to the output stage. This gives the audio a certain ” warmth” that is missing in solid-state devices. In addition, tubes have a much higher input impedance than solid-state devices, so they do not load down the signal source.

This is important because it means that the audio signal is Preserved in its original form and is not corrupted by the amplification process. As a result, tube-based devices tend to produce a more accurate and natural-sounding reproduction of the original audio signal.

Acustica Audio’s Cobalt EQ is a powerful tool for shaping the sound of your mixes. But what if you could take it to the next level? With the new Cobalt 2.0, you can. Cobalt 2.0 features completely re-sampled EQ and preamp sections, for better performance and sound quality.

Plus, Acustica Audio has added two new features, for extra versatility. With the new Lo/Hi Cut functionality, you can easily roll off unwanted low or high frequencies. And with the new Mono/Stereo Balance control, you can dial in the perfect blend of mono and stereo signals. Whether you’re looking for a little extra punch in your drums or more clarity in your vocals, Cobalt 2.0 has you covered.

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COBALT2 – Overview

The COBALT2 EQ is a precision tool for sculpting perfect sonic shapes. With its flexible interface and wide range of features, it’s perfect for both subtle refinement and radical alteration.

COBALT2 COMP is a high-performance compression plugin that can add punch and power to your tracks. With its easy-to-use controls, it’s perfect for getting the dynamics just right.

COBALT2 PRE is a versatile preamp plugin that can add warmth and character to your sound. With two new preamps added, it’s more powerful than ever.

The COBALT2 DYN is a dynamic equalizer plugin that can add life and energy to your tracks. With its easy-to-use controls, it’s perfect for getting the sound you want.

Cobalt Preamp
Cobalt Preamp introduces five selected preamps to add emotion and intensity.

Cobalt Preamp
Cobalt Preamp

If you are looking for coloration only this pre-amp is for you.  Available coloration options are two mono Mic preamps (perfect for vocals), a stereo Mic preamp (this combines the two mono preamps), and a stereo EQ (LM 9736 EQ) preamp, and the final preamp which is shaped after the LM 9804 compressor.

The Cobalt Pre is a great way to add warmth to your audio recordings. The five different tube preamps included in the unit precisely emulate the phase, frequency response, and harmonic distortion of their corresponding circuits.

This gives you a wide range of options to choose from when trying to find the right sound for your recording. The best use of these colors can only be decided by the user on a case-by-case basis, and the engineer’s final judgment should always depend on his or her own ears and imagination. With the Cobalt Pre, you have all the tools you need to create rich, full-sounding recordings that will stand the test of time.

Cobalt Preamp
Cobalt EQ (based on the LM 9736 Vacuum Tube)

Cobalt EQ (based on the LM 9736 Vacuum Tube)

The EQ based on an LM 9736 Vacuum Tube EQ developed by Luca Martegani has the classic options (inspired by the Pultec EQP-1a EQ) to cut and boost frequencies at a few points and added frequencies to manage the Hi/Lo boost and cuts bands.

The Pultec EQP-1A is a classic piece of audio equipment that has been used on countless recordings over the years. Its unique sound is derived from its ability to boost or cut specific frequencies, as well as its separate bass and high-frequency sections.

The EQP-1A has been carefully recreated in software form, preserving all of its original sound characters. The result is an incredibly powerful and flexible EQ that can be used to shape the sound of any track. Whether you’re looking for subtle enhancements or radical sonic transformation, the EQP-1A is a must-have tool for any serious producer or engineer.

The hardware unit LM 9736 is an “old-school” passive eq around a resistive divider, using Lundahl Transformers, resistors, inductors, and capacitors.

The hardware is entirely handmade and manufactured in vacuum tube topology, including the high voltage power supply. All the components in the boutique hardware are carefully selected. As there is only one hardware unit of the LM 9736 that exists this plugin emulation if you just realistic chance to use this EQ.

Cobalt EQ LM 9736
Cobalt EQ LM 9736

The EQ works great on a large variety of instruments and has its sweet spot with vocals, drums, and bass.LM 9736 Vacuum Tube EQ originated from a Pultec design with some appended characteristic innovations. The wide range of supported frequencies is possible as this unit compared to a Pultec has more fixed frequency points that are changed by the EQ.

The COBALT2 Dyn EQ is a dynamic equalizer that is the first of its kind. It is based on a sampling that is characterized by some new and important features. These features make it qualitatively unsurpassed compared to other products in the digital audio market.

The COBALT2 Dyn EQ is a versatile tool that can be used for a variety of purposes, including remixing, producing, and composing. It is an essential tool for any musician or producer who wants to create professional-quality music.

With this EQ, you are more flexible in selecting the low band you cut or boost than a Pultec. Results sound like a non-existing smooth Pultec. The Cobalt EQ is a 5-band fully parametric equalizer.

  • Low Cut: 30 Hz to 250 Hz. Gain from 0 dB to -10 dB. Shelving plus low-cut filter.
  • Low Boost: 30 Hz to 200 Hz. Gain from 0 dB to +10 dB. Shelving.
  • Hi Boost: 2 kHz to 20 kHz. Gain from 0 dB to +10 dB. Shelving.
  • Presence: 680 Hz to 7500 Hz. Gain from 0 dB to +10 dB. Peak with Q variable.
  • Hi-Cut: 3 kHz to 22 kHz. Gain from 0 dB to -10 dB. Shelving plus high cut filter.

The EQ includes a preamp feature that can be pulled into Tube saturation.

Cobalt Compressor (LM 9804 )

The compressor is a stereo channel tube compressor. When I applied the compressor, I could hear the life that this compressor is adding to a song. With the SHMod you can adjustable attack response for your audio source.

The Cobalt2 Comp is a tube compressor that has been designed to faithfully reproduce the sound of the original device. Thanks to Acustica Audio’s Acustica technology, the company has been able to create a compressor that captures the nuances of the original while still offering a versatile tool for modern producers.

The Cobalt2 offers a wide range of controls that allow users to sculpt their sound, and its all-tube design ensures that it will provide a warm and natural compression. In addition, the Cobalt2 features a sidechain input, making it an ideal choice for those who want to add ducking or sidechain pumping to their tracks.

Whether you’re looking for an authentic recreation of the original device or a versatile tool for modern production, the Cobalt2 Comp is an excellent choice.

Cobalt Compressor LM 9804

The LM 9804 hardware is capable of max. 18/20 dB of gain reduction; this range is extended considerably in its plug-in software version, and the same is true for the threshold range.

Cobalt Compressor LM 9804
Cobalt Compressor LM 9804

The compressor shines on bass, guitar, pads, strings, and vocals tracks. When used on the master stereo track you got a phenomenal mastering compressor. Cobalt Compressor can carry your tracks up in the mix and add a punchy sound with a lot of coloration characteristics emulating a true-to-life tube glow and fullness.

The compressor works on natural and compacter sounding mixes with outstanding results. It is one of the best compressors that Acustica has released overall.

Cobalt Channel Strip and Dynamic EQ

The Channel Strip and Dynamic EQ have different sections first and EQ, a sidechain EQ, a compressor, and dynamic EQ. It mixes and combines a Cobalt EQ and compressor.

Cobalt Channel Strip and Dynamic EQ
Cobalt Channel Strip and Dynamic EQ

The compressor has different ratios to offer a very moderate compression, a medium compression, and a higher original ratio found in Luca’s hardware.

Cobalt Channel Strip and Dynamic EQ

User interface & Usability

The UI is based on the unique hardware units and offers all controls that you need to manage the plugins.

Conclusion

The Cobalt EQ, Compressor, and Channel Strip by Acustica Audio are all high-quality tools that can be used for a variety of purposes in the digital audio world. The EQ is particularly versatile, with a wide range of controls that allow users to sculpt their sound. The compressor is also well-designed and can before sound, the company has been able to create a compressor that captures the nuances of the original while still offering a versatile tool for modern producers.

The Cobalt2 offers a wide range of controls that allow users to sculpt their sound, and its all-tube design ensures that it will provide a warm and natural compression.

Acustica Audio has always been at the forefront of creating innovative plugins that offer accurate emulations of classic hardware units. The Cobalt collection is no exception. Based on the work of Luca Martegani, these four modules offer a wide range of sounds and textures that can be used in a variety of applications.

From the lush reverb of the Cobaltverb to the modular flexibility of the Cobalt Modular, this collection offers something for everyone. In addition, the Endorsed Line designation means that these plugins have been created with the input and approval of Luca himself, ensuring that they are faithful recreations of his original vision.

When you purchase Cobalt, you’re getting a three-in-one software package that includes a mastering grade, passive, tube equalizer based on Luca’s LM 9736 unit. This in turn is loosely based on the Pultec EQP-1A. Next, you get a complex, dynamic equalizer, which is a very tasty preamp.

Finally, you have a mastering grade tube compressor emulated after Luca’s LM 9804 unit. This is said to be based on “what many consider the best compressor ever created.” With Cobalt, you’re getting top-quality tools that will help you produce the best music possible.

As anyone who has ever tried to record music will know, getting a good sound is essential. The right equipment can make all the difference, and that’s where Luca’s plugin comes in. The preamp plugin allows you to choose from the preamp stage of Luca’s compressor or equalizer, which means you can get the perfect sound without any unwanted processing.

The three additional tube preamp options mean you can tailor the sound to your exact needs, and the input and output gain knobs let you control how much drive the plugin has. In short, this plugin is a must-have for anyone who wants to get the best possible sound from their recordings.

Acustica Audio’s “dynamic equalizer” is a hybrid of the LM 9736 and LM 9804 processors, designed by Luca Martegani and Stefano Dall’Ora of SoundDrops. This unit is filled with controls and is intriguing because it is designed to emulate real-life hardware, rather than being a clean, surgical utility tool.

The sound of this plugin is unique, and it provides a level of control that is not found in other plugins. This plugin is perfect for those who want to add some character to their sound, and it is a great tool for those who want to achieve a more natural sound.

Rating: Five out of five stars

The plugins included in Cobalt are entirely about tube mojo. The Cobalt plugins offer remarkably amazing uplifting and deliciously sounding settings. The Compressor alone is worth getting the bundle and outshines many other compressors units.

The EQ is a lovely EQ and sounds excellent. The Dynamic EQ is a great mastering insert to use. With the preamp, you can add the character that comes from the included units. Overall this is an excellent package to add to your mixing and mastering toolkit.

Overall, I have been extremely impressed by Cobalt. It is rather spooky how much ‘Ones and Zeros’ can sound like our beloved hardware nowadays and this is one of the best examples of the trend I’ve ever heard. Yes, it takes a lot of Ones and Zeros’ for a perfect system (like a computer) to emulate something that is imperfect and nonlinear by nature (like studio hardware), but once you hear this plugin suite, I think you will instantly forgive the slight inconveniences and make these beautiful emulations a part of your mixing or mastering process.

Acustica Audio has always been known for its high-quality audio plugins, and the new Equilibrium bundle is no exception. This bundle includes three different plugins: a dynamics processor, an EQ, and a limiting amplifier. Each of these plugins is worth the asking price on its own, but together they offer an incredible value for the price.

Normally, when a company offers such a great deal, it means that they have cut corners somewhere in the development process. However, that is certainly not the case with Acustica Audio. All three of these plugins are top-notch, and they provide an incredible amount of power and flexibility. If you’re looking for a great all-in-one solution for your audio processing needs, then this bundle is definitely worth checking out.

The results are simply that stunning. From the perfectly captured warmth of Tube Saturation to the creamy goodness of the Analog Delay, Cobalt has you covered. And at such a reasonable price point, there really is no excuse not to check it out!

Cobalt (EQ, Compressor, Preamp, Channel Strip) FAQ

What is Cobalt?

Cobalt is a bundle of four different plugins from Acustica Audio. The bundle includes an EQ, a compressor, a preamp, and a channel strip. Each of these plugins is designed to provide high-quality sound and a great deal of flexibility.

How much does Cobalt cost?

The price of Cobalt varies depending on where you purchase it. However, it is generally very affordable, especially considering the quality of the plugins included in the bundle.

Is Cobalt easy to use?

Yes, Cobalt is very easy to use. The interface is intuitive and user-friendly. Even if you’ve never used a plugin before, you should be able to figure out how to use Cobalt without any problems.

What are the pros and cons of Cobalt?

PROS:
-High-quality sound
-A great deal of flexibility
-Intuitive interface
CONS:
-None that we could find!

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