Melda Productions MCreative FX Bundle – Big Bag of Tricks
For those in the know, Melda Productions have been beavering away in the background creating what could be some of the most potent VST plugins available. There are what seems like hundreds of weird and wonderful devices available to make your life as an engineer or producer easier – or more complicated, depending on who you ask.
(UPDATED MARCH 2018)
Fortunately, Melda Productions offers a few curated bundles of which we picked up the MCreative Pack, containing a good selection of the more useful devices on offer. We’re not going to cover every one of the 31 included plugins, just a few main titles to wet your appetite.
Let’s get rolling.
All plugins share a somewhat dry and technical looking interface. With skeuomorphic designs being all the rage these days these will come as a slight system shock with the flat, perfectly spaced and squared off styling.
Even the most simple effect will contain many options for gain, mix control, drive limiting, A/B comparing. The more advanced offing a mind-boggling array of options and settings.
The GUI’s are all stretchable to suit your monitor size, plus the level of customisation is impressive. Most effects allow you to insert extra modules, like EQ, amp sim, FX units etc. You can change the VU meters to display an FFT readout, assign MIDI controllers, automotive gain controls, limiting and eight alternative mixes – in each instance!
There is a flexible style configuration menu for creating your perfect colour design; you can change the operational controls to sliders, knobs or buttons, mess with the DSP demands of the interface, swap to tablet mode and play with different interpolations to balance performance with quality. There is even a style editor you can download to create unique designs.
A big tick when it comes to interface customisation.
Ok, so it looks great – how does it sound? Well, as with the looks, the processing flexibility is off the charts. If there is a conceivable control for a device, you will find it here somewhere.
Let’s check the Mdelay as an example.
In its default state, you have randomise button, dry/wet mix, pan, delay gain, high and low pass filters and saturation. Delay tempo sync and freeze option. Delay time, and feedback with sync intervals, plus a choice of straight, triplet, dotted or tuplets. Right and left offset controls, a master VU within, out and side stereo VU’s, plus a width VU. 11 output variations from L&R, MidSide and everything in-between.
Automatic gain control and limiter, eight snapshot saves, an A/B switch, an A/B/C/D morph control, MIDI mapping control panel and finally……big breath….the option to export a WAV recording to your system. If you hit the edit button, you can further insert a second tap control with synchro and view all your MIDI CC’s as visual faders, a volume sequencer, auto pan, robot delay, modulation delay and mix delay, featuring duel-classic and ping-pong style.
I’m not even joking – you have everything! And that’s just the delay.
Each device has an excellent selection of presets that show off some wild and creative uses for the effect, including some time-honoured setting you’ll use often. The degree of control and flexibility you have with each device is impressive. And short of layering up an excessive number of instances, the DSP requirements for everything we tested was minimal.
Of the included 31 devices at the time of writing, you have a good selection of the studio essentials, delay, reverb, chorus etc. Some more focused processors like frequency shifter, granular distortion, and amp simulators.
And then there’s the wackadoo stuff like Rhythmizer, Transformer, and Unison to keep you entertained. Though many of the effects include EQ and dynamics built-in, there are no free-standing plugins of this type; you’ll need to purchase them separately or look at one of the mixing or mastering bundles.
You’re probably waiting for the ‘but….’ right? Well, maybe.
In general, most settings sound fine, and everything produces good if slightly underwhelming results. Much like the default factory effects that come with your DAW – they work, and they sound great. There’s not a lot of character or vibe, but you get the job done.
For instance, to create a vintage style Space Echo, you would probably start with the MAmp and apply a degree of vintage tube saturation to your signal, then drop in the MDelay using the mix delay module on classic mode, plus possibly an MWobbler to add some movement. That’s a lot of processes steps to get to where something like Softube’s Tube Delay started out 10 minutes ago. Extreme example, I know, but its where I found Melda shines – with layering and experimenting with multiple devices.
Things get even more exciting once you start adding in automation, any modulation movement brings everything up to a new level.
The unfortunate nature of the beast is it often requires thinking outside the box and experimentation to get the most out of the devices. I don’t see this as a negative – it shows the limitless capabilities of the platform if you invest time to study the workflow.
The Creative Bundle includes plenty of surprises amid the usual suspects; such as Transformer, Granular and Morph – each of which requires liberal amounts of experimentation. One of the fun standouts is the unique MBitFun device, a bit crusher of sorts which includes whimsical presets like Eyesore Pubescent, Trisect Irishwomen, Bobbing Hippocratic and Preventer Szechuan – how can you NOT want to check each of those out!
I love this collection. It’s terrific value for money, literally no DSP hit and has all the depth my OCD brain can handle. At under $600 USD not only does this represent fantastic value, but the company offers lifetime updates including frequent new devices.
There is nothing I can think of missing from this collection, and with the smart layering of devices, the sky’s the limit for creative possibilities. The interface might look a little intimidating at first, but time spent familiarising with it will pay off thanks to the global design theme of the collection.
The most significant consideration is should you spring for the full collection of all plugins? If your budget allows, I think that would be an excellent investment.
Overall, fantastic selection of devices from an exciting developer I can’t wait to see what the future holds.
More info check out the official website www.meldaproductions.com.