> Step by step
Getting started with Inferno CM
1 To get Inferno CM on your Mac or PC, run the appropriate installer. There’s no authorisation required, so with the installation complete, fire up your DAW and load the plugin onto an audio or instrument track to get started.
2 Inferno CM emulates two separate preamps: the RCA BA-11A all-pentode tube mic pre, and the transistor preamp from a cassette tape recorder. Each has its own particular sound and distortion behaviour. Switch between them using the Circuit knob.
3 Up to 24dB of input overdrive or attenuation can be dialled in with the Drive knob, and as the gain rises, the saturation of the signal increases, from subtle analogue warmth and colour, to searing distortion. As you’d expect, this brings with it an increase in volume…
4 To counter that, lower the Output knob. You can see the exact relationship between the levels of the input and output signals in the VU meter. The input level is represented by the green needle, while the black needle shows the output level. Adjust the VU meter calibration by turning the screw head below the window, so that 0dB equals anywhere between -18 and -3dBFS.
5 The Dry/Wet Mix knob enables blending of the unprocessed input signal with the saturated output – aka parallel processing. Set an extreme level to toughen up a sound, then lower the Mix to reintroduce the sound of the dry signal and find the perfect balance between the two.
6 A pair of 6dB/octave filters are also onboard for shaping the high and low frequency ranges. The High Pass Filter Drive sweeps from 20-300Hz, attenuating everything below the cutoff frequency, while the Low Pass Filter attenuates the high frequencies below 1-20kHz. Activate and deactivate each filter with On/Off.
7 The Low Pass Filter is particularly useful for alleviating the mid and topend harshness that heavy tube or transistor saturation inevitably introduces. To thicken a vocal up, for example, crank up the Drive til it hurts, then pull down the Low Pass Filter and blend the original dry signal back in with the Dry/Wet Mix knob.
8 Experiment with the two preamp Circuit models to see which sits most comfortably with your source material. Generally speaking, SGA-BA11A is the more punchy, focused and transient-sensitive of the two, while SGA-UAP is ideal for a touch of analogue vibe at low Drive levels, and plenty of wild harmonics when pushed.
9 Inferno CM isn’t really the kind of plugin that requires presets, but you can still save your setups out for later recall. Simply click the Save button at the bottom right to store the current state as a preset file into the presets folder created during installation.