Pro Audio

KIT Plugins Blackbird Products: iconic recording studio gear in your DAW

You can step into not one, but two of the world’s most iconic studios inside your DAW with KIT Plugins Blackbird products. We tested out the EQ and channel strip in the studio.

KIT Plugins are a reasonably new company on the scene, but it’s all quality over quantity here as they endeavour to set a high standard for analog emulation. Based in Nashville, it’s in their Blackbird products that they’ve created what might be out of reach for many of the world’s musicians.

The newer of their products — the BB Mo-Q — is a recreation of the EQ used in the Motown studio in the 60s while their BB N105 Channel Strip is an emulation from the one-of-a-kind Neve 8078 in the world-renowned studio, Blackbird, where their office is. We tested out these plugins in our recording studio.

Starting with a blast from the past, The BB Mo-Q  is a straightforward emulation that was painstakingly modelled and designed to capture the heart and soul of those Motown recordings. While there’s not much to it, there’s just so much more character in this EQ than you might find if you reach for any stock EQ.

It’s refreshing to see something emulated that hasn’t been done to death (*cough-1176-cough*). Motown was a factory line of hits, and the quick ‘print to tape’ decisions of the in-house engineers — Russ Terrana being one — needed quality equipment that could be trusted. The actual hardware unit is incredibly rare to find and it’s been missing from the software world up until now.

motown eq

Their BB N105 channel strip — taken from that world-famous Neve 8078 console at Blackbird  — is what put the company on the map. It’s no wonder the audio community were excited, it’s this studio where the modern classics have been made. I’m talking about Dolly Parton, Kings of Leon, Beck, Taylor Swift and many more.

Upon firing up the plugin, the team at the Happy office were blown away when we installed and opened it. (Yes, the installation was extremely simple). This channel strip as its stunning sounding as it is looking.

We found that the extreme efforts they took in modelling this from Saturation, EQ, Noise (Analog Hum), Distortion, Depth to Width were perfectly represented. Both of these plugins have FRM (their proprietary Gen 2 Full Range Modeling technology), which brings all the glory of the analog hardware to life, claiming the recreation includes frequencies from 10Hz-96kHz.

neve plugin

Using both of these on electric guitar and a software synth, we aimed to try out that saturation, make them shine and then morph the sound, just to show you how far you can push these. Having access to pieces of gear from both of these iconic studios is really exciting and makes me want to keep working in the box!

We’re eagerly looking forward to what else KIT Plugins have on offer, especially what else might come out of their Blackbird products.

Both plugins come in at $99 USD and you can get them from their website kitplugins.com