Today I will take a close look at the Slam Pro, a “mix phattener” effect plugin by BeatSkillz.
Slam Pro is the successor of Slam Dawg, being an upgrade with more and more features and an extended redesigned structure. Slam Pro is a channel strip plugin with various effect processors such as compression, bass enhancement, stereo widening and saturation. The plugin is specially designed for hip hop, trap, pop and EDM producers.
Slam Pro offers a number of processors grouped in sections/modules. Starting from left to right, we find a “Bass” section, a tube saturation, “Airz” section, a compressor, level maximizer, and stereo expander. Let’s take each in part.
The “Bass” row is a bass enhancement module with three controls: “Sub”, which primarily adds low frequencies, but also removes the mud from the sound (when dialed under 0), “Thump”, a knob to add punch and immediate response to your bass or loose it if is too powerful, and “Boom” – adds a low boom similar to the 808 sub sounds.
Next is the “Heat” section, basically a tube saturation with three levels/types of saturation. As you increase the level, the tube warms up, resulting in an “analog” sounding distortion and saturation. With this dial and the three saturation types, you can bring some harshness and character to the sound.
As the name suggests the “Airz” section is a mid/high end enhancer, with its 3 frequency selectors (5k, 10k or 15 k high shelf boosts) adds sharpness and possibly some clarity to the mix. Perfect to bring to live boring and lifeless drum loops/beats, as well as to “excite” flat instrument sounds.
“Pop” is a compressor module with four presets; first select the preset/setting that fits best your mix, then move the dial to change the threshold of the compressor. Underneath, there is the “Crush” – level maximizer to make the sound louder, but without altering the dinamycs.
With the “Stereo” module you can add width and depth your mix. You can also set it to be more mono or stereo in 2 different bands (x and y). A crossfader allows you to set the crossover point for the 2 bands of stereo expansion.
If you have problems in FL Studio (for example when you turn on the compressor, you hear clicks and pops), please follow the steps below:
1. Enable “Use fixed size buffers”
2. For FL Studio 11 in “Options” menu:
- Uncheck “Use block size as buffer size”
- Check “Use host block size”
2. For FL Studio 12 in “More” menu:
- Uncheck “Process maximum size buffers”
- Check “Use maximum buffer size from host”
All in all, these controls are easy to use and understandable even for a beginner producer. Therefore, I would recommend it mainly for producers who are starting out, this plugin is a reliable help in learning and understanding how to manipulate the sound dynamics. But also advanced producers can rely on this tool, especially as the combination of effect processors is well designed and gives amazing results.
Slam Pro can be used on an bus channel, individual mix track or straight on the master channel (although the latter I recommend it only if you really know what you’re doing). I tested it on bass loops with perfect results, it enhances the lows and adds serious punch without distorting the overall sound. Also the “Heat” brings some warmth and subtle distortion, but if you want more, you can use the crush button. I also noticed that on the bass it has a “soothing effect”, mellowing and even fully reducing unwanted frequencies. Applied on drums, it adds weight and depth, letting you choose tons of different flavors. Same with the instruments, it brings back to life flat sounding parts and lets you place them perfectly in the overall mix.
I recommend Slam Pro for all producers looking for an efficient and easy to use channel strip plugin. Slam Pro is now available at an introductory price of $77.17 via Plugin Boutique (list price is $144.73). With the purchase of Slam Pro, you also receive a free copy of Slam Dawg dynamic processor (worth $96.05). The offer is valid until the end of September.