So it's now been a while since the release of Pusher, a Waves plugin by Israeli trance-legends Infected Mushroom. Part mastering, part mixing, it has multiple applications with the main purpose being ease of use in getting the core Infected Mushroom sound. This plugin goes beyond what you expect from any tool in it's price range ($49 but be quick to exploit the $29 sale offer). Audio Ordeal decided it was time to have a play around, and the verdict is as follows:
The main intention of Pusher, is to turn your track, at whatever stage it's in, into something you could hear live, it has features to enhance the high frequencies and boost the stereo width, as well as clipping and limiting. Infected Mushroom say it's great for previewing a rough idea, slap the plugin on, and it will sound much more like a mastered version of a track.
The low EQ has a brilliant feature where you select the key of the track and it will home in on the key frequencies keeping the low end clean. This is a feature I have not seen before, and is quick to use!
Easily one of the simplest plugins to use - a quick read of the manual will give you every bit of insight into this plugin, but if I'm honest, playing around with no clue would be just as productive. Every control is very well labelled and the only control that leaves any confusion is the "magic" control. This is simply an enhancer, and probably the best one I've used to date.
A quick watch of a video giving a demo of Pusher will be all you need to make your track stand out!
The reason being, it will make a difference on any track you place it on. That's not to say "go overboard" and slap it on everything, but it has so many uses. This plugin will enhance your drum bus, it will beef up your synths and really allow them to cut through, and it will be the best plugin for someone who truly struggles with mastering.
It is the best sounding plugin I have used by far (not including instruments) and it's versatility in the mix, combined with the ease of use to get that versatility is mind blowing!
Presets are a tough feature to judge, on the one hand, we should encourage each other to craft their own sounds from scratch, on the other hand, as a beginner or for a quick fix, presets are a godsend. If you're a beginner who truly relies on presets, then this plugin is great, you will need to tweak one parameter though: Input.
The reason being, each track will be a different volume, I found many of my tracks too hot when I first ran them through Pusher's presets (a bad habit I know!).
The best way to flick through the presets in this plugin is to select one and then drop the input volume to lowest setting. Then slowly bring it up until you get the sound you desire - too high and it will probably sound like it is clipping and be grittier than a black metallist's demo recording.
The presets are fairly well labelled and so finding what you need is easy! There are enough to get through most needs and the presets cover a range of mastering styles to instrument enhancements. In the end however, this plugin isn't complicated enough to really need people to rely on presets - a very big plus!
In the lead up to it's release, there was scepticism that this plugin would limit you to sounding like Infected Mushroom. Yes, it was designed by them, and it will give you plenty of room to make your tracks sound that way, but you have enough room with it to make your tracks sound like however you want!
It's simplicity perhaps conjured worry that it was another "Sausage Fattener", but it is more than just a tool you slap on to lazily crush your track. It is a well crafted plugin which can be used by all levels.