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PSP Audioware MixPack Review - Version 1.7

PSP Audioware MixPack composite image of all four plugins  

Based in Poland, PSP Audioware produces a range of fine sounding plug-ins that has been well received in both the audio press and by studio owners all over the world. As the name would suggest, MixPack is a collection of plug-ins designed for use on individual tracks; their excellent audio quality makes them highly suitable for mastering too. The four plug-ins in the pack are: 

MixBass - MixSaturator - MixPressor - MixTreble 

VST, DX and RTAS plug-ins are included in the PC version. 

Copy protection is sensibly based on the registered user’s name and allotted serial number; a system I much prefer over the restrictive practices of certain other companies. Mac OS X version in HTDM and RTAS format require an iLok for copy protection. 



As its name implies, MixBass is a dedicated bass processor/compressor working on the lower end of the spectrum to produce rich deep analogue sounds with both character and definition.

 PSP MixBass plugin 


The Tune knob in the left hand Input section may be used to tune the target frequency in the range of 20 to 600Hz. The circular meter in the Compress section indicates how much gain has been applied to the processed signal; dependant on the green threshold setting below. There is no compression ratio control. Ratio is fixed at 2:1, however this doesn’t at all limit the ‘earth shaking’ possibilities of this plug-in.


The Tone section Colour and Bass controls affect saturation of the processed bass frequencies, adding both odd and even harmonics.


The Output section Saturation button switches a soft-clipping limiter in and out. The red LED below indicates signals when three or more continuous samples have reached or exceeded 0dBFS. A rotary Gain knob is provided to regulate output level. Below the Gain control, a Mix slider may be used to blend the wet and dry signals.



The 21 presets provided range from subtle psychoacoustic bass enhancement to extreme distortion. MixBass is a very capable plug-in and great for all bass and drum sounds. It can provide that much sought after analogue warmth and deep big bottom end.


Of course, as with all bass processors, full range monitoring with extended bass response is really an essential requirement. Not only can over enhanced bass eat into valuable headroom, but there is also the danger of creating mixes with excessive bass that will not translate well on other systems. A spectrum analyser may also be employed for visual checking the bass end, but nothing really beats hearing and feeling the bass through full range monitors. 



Designed to emulate the saturation effects of tape and valves, MixSaturator is capable of compressing and adding both warmth and sparkle to individual tracks or a whole mix.

PSP Mix saturator plugin


The left hand Drive control… I mean the Drive control on the left varies the amount of signal fed into the process. An Input rotary knob is also provided to balance the input level. The next three knobs: Freq, Warmth and Adjust affect the bass end of the spectrum and can be switched in or out of circuit with the illuminated Bass button above. The Treble button directly below the right hand meter does the same for the three rotary treble controls below; not surprisingly, these affect the treble end of the spectrum. The central Process button may be used to bypass the plug-in and, unlike the integral Logic Bypass button, leaves the meters still functioning.


The central meter’s dual needles indicate peak (red) and average (black) signal levels and +14 is equal to 0dBFS. The Pre and Post buttons have three functions: monitoring the input signal, output signal and if neither button is lit, the metres then indicate drive level.


On the far right, the Shape control offers seven different saturation levels that include three different settings for both valve and tape and also a digital setting. With the Shape slider at its minimum, shape is turned off. As with all plug-ins in the pack, a mix slider is also provided for adjusting the wet/dry relationship.


MixSaturator’s 31 presets provide some excellent settings for everything from vocals to whole mixes and give insight into what this plug-in is capable of.



MixPressor emulates the characteristics of optical and valve based compressors and includes facilities for both de-essing and limiting.

PSP Mix Pressor plugin


On the left, the input knob may be used to cut or boost the input level. Although there is no ratio control, the Compress slider above adjusts the amount of compression. Below the left hand meter, the DEL button activates a delay that reduces attack peaks. The SCL button (see below) is used in conjunction with the Freq and Q knobs located underneath. Next are the compressor’s control knobs: Attack, Hold, Release and Make-up gain. Both the Attack and Release knobs each have three modes: fast and slow automatic, and manual. Turning the Make-up rotary knob fully counter clockwise switches to automatic make up gain; all other positions facilitate variable manual level adjustment.


Above the compressor controls are three buttons: Process (bypass), RMS, Limiter. The RMS button switches the compressor between peak and RMS sensing. RMS is more appropriate for vocals, whilst Peak is better suited to signals with high transients such as cymbals. The Limiter has three settings: OFF, SAT, LIM. Lim is a standard 0dBFS limiter whilst PSP describe SAT as a ‘limiter-saturator’ function; this can add ‘grunge’ or distortion to the signal.


Above the right hand side Mix and Output controls, the Slope slider changes between soft and hard knee operation and various levels in between.


Again, a mix slider is also provided for adjusting the wet/dry relationship to achieve ‘parallel compression’.



The three needles indicate peak level (red) average (black) and the shorter blue needle shows compressor gain reduction. Pre and Post buttons are provided to set and monitor both input and output levels. The red lights below the needles indicate signals exceeding 0dBFS and also if the limiter is being overdriven.


SCL - de-essing and pumping

The SCL button switches the plug-in to Side Chain Listen mode. The Freq and Q rotary knobs may then be used to home in on the frequency to be de-essed. Alternatively, with Freq settings of around 500Hz and Q values of between 0 and 0.3, the SCL mode can also reduce the effects of bass drum pumping the compressor. If desired it is also very easy to achieve a pumping sound. A rough guide to the appropriate settings to achieve pumping is: set an Attack of around 30ms, Release of about 350ms and a Q of below 0.20. Then switch both the DEL and RMS buttons off, set the Compress slider somewhere above 50% and adjust the Hold control to taste. Before setting the Compress slider at or near maximum, it’s advisable to have the limiter switched on and/or turn the Make-up gain control so that it’s no longer on auto make-up.


MixPressor is supplied with 37 presets and, as ever, they are a great basis for understanding just what this plug-in is capable of. It also includes settings that simulate some well know classic compressors.



The final plug-in, MixTreble, consists of four independently switched sections for processing and enhancing the treble content of individual tracks or complete mixes, and also hiss removal.

PSP Mix Treble plugin

Hiss Remover

Although primarily designed to remove unwanted hiss, this section may also be used to reduce the high frequency content of a reverberant signal – this can be very useful for rescuing tracks with overdone reverb. The Threshold slider sets the level at which the reduction takes place. The Attenuation knob adjusts the level of attenuation. The Speed knob adjusts the filter’s speed of operation; settings are dependant on the material being treated. Settings over 50% are recommended for sounds with a slow attack, and under 50% for sounds with high transients such as cymbals. Of course these are only recommendations; other settings may be used to produce special effects.



This section may be used to revitalise squashed and softened transients, or to generally increase the overall brightness of a track. Increasing the Adjust slider boosts the signal and the three rotary knobs tune the effect. An extremely wide range of treatments can be produced ranging from subtle enhancement to ear piercing high frequencies that are quite possibly dangerous to dogs and bats!



The enhancer may be used to increase the width of stereo material and works by adjusting phase. The Filt Slope knob adjusts the filter’s slope between 0 and 6dB. It is quite possible with the enhance knob to severely adversely affect mono compatibility. The centrally located Over Enhanced red light gives some warning of this but regularly checking with the mixer’s mono button will show if you are getting unacceptable levels of cancellation. If you aren’t using a mixer with mono button, then a goniometer or phase correlation meter is useful for a visual check. PSP also offer their recently updated ‘StereoPack’ plug-in that provides a phase correlation meter (and stereo enhancement tools) for the very reasonable sum of $49 / £28 / €41



This is an exciter type circuit that generates odd and even harmonics for body and improved clarity and definition. The Frequency slider may be adjusted to tune between 500 and 16kHz and the three central knobs adjust: Q, Drive and First Out. Depending on program material, the First Out knob may be used to remove the fundamental frequency leaving the harmonics for processing.



The final output section houses a SAT switch used to switch in the 0dB soft limiter and, lower down, the familiar peak level red light and below that the rotary level control knob.



A collection of 38 well tailored presets is included, again a useful starting point for fine tuning and exploring the plug-in’s capabilities.



With double precision 64 bit floating point internal signal processing, all the MixPack plug-ins sound excellent whether used on individual tracks or inserted on the final mix. All MixPack controls may be reset to their defaults by holding Ctrl and left clicking; each plug-in also sports a mix control to blend the processed and dry signals.


One very small area of concern is that adjusting some (but not all) MixPack controls introduces slight audible distortion or ‘zipper’ noise. The noise can be a little disconcerting when adjusting the MixBass Tune control knob but it is not recorded; provided of course you don’t attempt to automate the controls via the host. PSP are aware of the issue and hopefully will be addressing it in a future update. As a point of reference, some of Logic’s own plug-ins also respond in the same way so it is by no means unusual.


I’ve been using MixPack for several years (since version 1.5) and the new colour scheme and other improvements in version 1.7 definitely enhance what was an already great collection of plug-ins. Also new in version 1.7 is support for sample rates up to 192kHz. MixPack certainly sounds impressive. Try out the demos and prepare to be impressed!


 Version 1.8.4 is available but the release notes say: 

“Due to the fact that this new 1.8.4 version of the PSP MixPack doesn't include serious processing changes prior to v.1.7.0 we strongly recommend not to install this new version on machines where v.1.7.0 performs correctly. 

However we recommend to install those plug-ins when multi format support is required and compatibility to the latest versions of audio applications is a priority. 

Please note that this new version will not run correctly in projects where old plug-ins where used.” 


Mixpack v1.7



Superb audio quality

Four Separate plug-ins

Well designed presets

Simple implementation of parallel compression

Great value for money



Some controls introduce ‘zipper’ noise

Limited automation possibilities



MixPack is a very useful collection of plug-ins that not only sound great but can also add the warmth and clarity often associated with esoteric and expensive analogue outboard. Considering the sound quality and the fact that there are four separate plug-ins included in the price, MixPack is a bargain not to be missed.


Mixpack Price

$149 / £85 / €124  


Minimum Hardware Requirements 

Windows 98 or later

VST, DirectX or RTAS compatible host application

256 MB RAM

Pentium III 600 MHz

High Color S-VGA, 1024x768

MacOS X v 10.1 or later

VST, AudioUnit and RTAS compatible host application

MacOS 8.5

VST or MAS compatible host application

256 MB RAM memory settings on MacOS

G3 300 Mhz

High Color S-VGA, 1024x768



©Tim Rainey 2006 (First published in Greek in the magazine Sound Maker)

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 Feedback, questions and comments welcome
Last updated:  2 January 2010
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