Pro Audio

UnitedPlugins Firesonic FireMaximizer: A New Generation of Loudness

Coming forth from Firesonic at UnitedPlugins comes a hot new generation of loudness maximizer, the FireMaximizer! We reviewed it in the studio.

Remember back a decade or more ago when the big ponytails in the audio business were reassuring each other that the loudness wars were over? That since the CD market began to sink there was a new dynamic volume standard, and that we’d only be competing for great sounding, uncompressed masters that the general public would truly appreciate more than a pile of splattered transients delivered via an mp3 file?

Well, it sort of happened for a little, and then it didn’t really. EDM bubbled up and pushed this safe new LUFS standard to unthinkable levels, and corporate guitar rock limped along for the flat-lined ride. But let’s not get too carried away here, there’s also subtlety, control, and an art to pushing loudness whilst retaining a listenable product. We’ve written quite a few reviews on this.

UnitedPlugins FireMaximizer

UnitedPlugins is a place where you can buy plugins from small independent developing teams, and yes, the offerings are somewhat left of centre and outside of the box (while being in-the-box). The Firesonic FireMaximizer is one such brand-new plugin that does maximizing with extra flare. We reviewed it in the studio.

Like they say on the ocean, the weather and the sea will always be, it’s you that needs to adapt your ship. And adapt you can with the FireMaximizer. Cooking within the box are 4 different blendable types of limiting to be able to massage the most level possible out of your instruments or your whole mix whilst retaining detail and depth. Use the handy XY pad Choose and combine between Clip, Saturate, Limit, and Multiband limiting to grill the perfect flavour for your masterpiece.

The first knob you’ll encounter next to the XY pad is the Drive control. This is how hard (or how soft…this thing ranges from -6dB to a large 24dB) you’re going to punch your audio into the box. Of course it’s easy to go over the top here, so use your ears, or failing that, a loudness meter after the plugin to keep check on your sounds and volume ambitions.

limiter plugin

Handily, next up is the Clean control. This will reduce the distortion generated by the Limit and Multiband section of the unit. As always it will be at the expense of some volume but like they’ve been saying for a little while, maybe volume isn’t everything. Maybe.

While we’re in this headspace, the Look-ahead control will further reduce distortion by anticipating your peaks (is this one of the few notions that digital is actually really good for?). And while it is at the expense of some latency, any good modern DAW should be able to compensate.

The FireMaximizer has an Oversampling control of 2x-16x to allow for better results and better true peak limiting with a higher internal sampling rate but, like any oversampling, it will take a toll on your processor if you push it too high. We always like to push ’em hard when we review, just so you know what you might be getting into.

maximizer plugin

The Ceiling on this thing, of course, controls the output level, so you can govern just how much level comes out of this thing and into your mix, or into your listeners ears after bouncing your finished magnum opus.

And hell, if you get stuck thinking about settings on the XY pad just pull up one of the five easy presets to give you a gentle push along the way. Stay loud and proud with your mixes, but retain the detail and punch with this mix’n’match method of maximising from FireSonic — that’s our take on it after a solid review.

The FireMaximizer comes in at 119 Euros (approx. $185 AUD) and is right now at an introductory special for 76% off at 29 Euros (approx. $45 AUD).

Find out more and take advantage of that intro deal here from UnitedPlugins.com