Kazrog True Iron is a fantastic new plugin developed by Shane McFee in conjunction with Devin Powers (Powers Music Company). It impressively emulates six classic line transformers in one plugin; the likes of which that can be found throughout professional analog studios. We absolutely love using KClip so we thought we’d check out their latest gadget!
There are several products available on the market today that offer classic transformer modeling. Kazrog has them beat on all fronts, boasting an intuitive GUI, uncompromising fine-tuned control, and superior sonic fidelity.
The True Iron transformer models are based on the UTC 108 X (LA2A, 1950s), the Malotki E4M – 4001B (Fairchild 660, The Beatles, 1950-1980), the Western Electric 111C (Hi-Fi transformer), the Haufe V178 (Neumann, Telefunken, Siemens), the Marinair LO1166/A (Neve 1073 preamp/EQ), and the UTC O-12 (“UREI Revision ‘A’ Blue Stripe 1176 compressor, and through all the classic revisions to revision ‘F’ “).
Compared to our equivalent UAD, Kush Audio, and Plugin Alliance plugins, True Iron holds its own. True Iron’s versatile ability to add body at unity gain as well as distort as needed makes it our favorite plugin for adding character to vocals, synthesizers, drums, and our master channel. We had great results using the 111C as the first piece in our mastering chain to increase perceived loudness and vibe, similar to how tube and tape emulation are often used to make digital tracks sound more “alive”.
On the mixing side, we were impressed with how close the 1166A sounded to our UAD 1073. The “Strength” and “Crush” controls dramatically affect the tonality of the transformers similarly to their analog counterparts. The “DNA” feature in True Iron is also unlike anything available on the market: “This is an enhanced level of frequency response modeling, based on Devin Powers’ individual transformer stereo pairs” (Kazrog).
“When Morph is enabled, the Strength control not only adjusts the nonlinearity of the transformer, but also shapes the modeling tolerance to morph the harmonic overtone response profile. Higher settings are more saturated with even-order harmonics, bringing additional variation beyond the original modeled hardware. Generally, this will result in higher THD and a more “vintage” style timbre” —Kazrog
One small shortcoming of True Iron is the lack of EQ beyond the transformer modeling, a feature that’s often present in transformer/preamp modeling plugins. We appreciate Kazrog’s dedication to only releasing extremely high-quality products, so it’s fair to say that a tonal EQ very well may be a future release from them.
Kazrog True Iron is only $39.99, a fraction of the cost of UAD, Plugin Alliance, or Slate Digital offerings…with better sound and GUI, it’s hard not to justify adding this plugin to your library. Gone are the days of A/Bing several tone shaping plugins. True Iron also runs surprisingly light on CPU, even with ‘DNA’ and ‘Morph’ enabled.