Are Stillwell plugins sensitive to input level

I use a lot of Stillwell Plugins for their “analogue character”. And i think that i have been driving these plugs quite hard. Normal analog gear expect inputs around 0 dBVU or -18 dBFS. I am not sure if the Stillwell plugins ‘expect’ a certain input level. Would trimming the input ‘change’ the sound of the plugin? I am also not sure if this specific problem is solved by the ‘oversample’ button that you can activate on those plugs. Perhaps they just upsample the audio such that it cannot clip inside the plugin, but would this also solve the input sensitivity (if any) ? btw, i am running the plugins in Reaper

Thanks in advance


Hello! I would like to know about this as well. Thanks for answering.

Preamble: How did I miss this question when it was originally posted? Jeez…

It depends on the plugin. Generally, if a plugin has a threshold control then of course it is sensitive to the input level of the plugin. If the plugin has some built-in harmonic / distortion built-in, then it is also generally sensitive to input level.

Oversampling, however, does not impact the expected level. It is changing the sample RATE internally, not the sample DEPTH nor amplitude. This, along with additional filtering, reduces aliasing in certain types of processing.

My suggestion to you is that if it sounds good pushing a hot signal, then DO that. :slight_smile: When we’re doing floating-point math it doesn’t matter if you put 50 dB of gain ahead of the plugin and -50 dB gain after it…it’s still the same math. It DOES matter if you’re using something like Event Horizon that clips stuff at 0 dBFS at the very highest.

There is no all-size-fits-one answer to your question, I guess is what I’m saying.

It would be nice to add to the manuals wich of your plugins have optimal operating levels.

I know the right answer is “it depends” but you maybe had in mind what was the ballpark to impart the sound quality of a certain plugin.

It would also make the user aware of possible sound degradation when a plugin made to operate at let’s say -18dbvu is pushed harder.

A pointer also as to wich plugin as been made “proudly digital” in wich the input signal has no effect on the outcome is nice to know to avoid fooling ourselfes into thinking it sounds better or not. It just makes our life easier as mixers to avoid some fooling around. thanks for your answer.