Mini-Review: SoundToys “Little Radiator” Plugin – Free Until Midnight, 3/29

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Altec-Lansing’s tube gear from the 1960s has a small but loyal following. Their 1566a and 1567a preamps have a sound that’s as distinctive as their look: blocky, beefy and badass.

The Altec 1567A Analog Tube Mixer

These units appeared as integral submixers in the Motown studio, and among daring engineers they’re still sleeper favorites on bass, drums, and just about anything that could use some colorful fattening-up.

Today you can take that sound home with you with a free, permanent, no-strings-attached iLok authorization for the new Little Radiator plugin from SoundToys… But hurry up, because their offer ends shortly after midnight tonight (3/29).

In use, I found the Little Radiator to be more organic – and more substantial-sounding – than many saturator plugins on the market.

The layout and design of the original Altec preamps was as quirky and primitive as the tone, but SoundToys have made these tone-shapers much more pragmatic. Although the original 1567a was a multichannel unit, it did not come with direct outs on each channel. The plug-in format of Little Radiator effortlessly fixes that issue for the easily digestible price of “free”.

SoundToys Little Radiator plugin

This isn’t the first time SoundToys has run a limited-time no-cost promotion on a new plugin. This time last year, they put out a free version of the Devil-Loc, a plugin based on the infamously unsubtle Shure Level-Loc. Eventually, the company offered owners of the free plug-in a discounted upgrade if they wanted a souped-up new version called the Devil-Loc Deluxe.

It was a brilliant and effective marketing strategy for them, and once again the plan is the same:

“Like the real 1567a, our [deluxe] version will have the simple two-knob EQ and an extra “master” output stage, together with the input [“Heat”] control, that will let you control the saturation either pre-EQ or post-EQ,” Ken Bogdanowicz of SoundToys told us. “We’ve also been spending the last week or so refining our models and that work will find it’s way in there as well.”

I’d easily shell out the cost of a great dinner out on the town for a simple, useful color-box like this one. But for the entry level price of “free”, it’s a no-brainer.

To get the Little Radiator plugin completely free, click here before midnight tonight and use the passcode 284-0032-853. The bigger brother “Radiator” plugin will be available some time in April.

Justin Colletti is a Brooklyn recording engineer and studio journalist. He is a regular contributor to SonicScoop and edits the music blog Trust Me, I’m A Scientist.

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