It is a wonderful time to be working mostly in the box. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE hardware and a solid front end but having some useful plugins augmenting my stock DAW plugins has proved invaluable. In the last week I picked up the Slate Digital Everything bundle (maybe more on that another time) as well as the Drawmer S73 from Softube.
The Drawmer is a workhorse. It is intended to be used on the master buss or mix buss. So far, that's where I have mostly been letting it live. It is an "Intelligent Master Processor." Softube says it is a multi band compressor that does some magical EQ and widening all under the hood. The interface, albeit small, is very simple.
As you can see, the UAD Fairchild 670 with its huge knobs and fun GUI dwarfs the Softube Drawmer s73. The smaller size of the Drawmer isn't necessarily a drawback unless you're already on a tiny screen. Aside from the controls of your DAW, the drawer has only five things to tinker with. A knob for amount increases overall compression. A small lever next to it switches on and off an Air Band that adds anything from sheen to high frequency sandpaper, depending on with shape your track was already in in the higher frequency regions. The output section gives us a Wet/Dry Mix and and Output Gain Knob. The wet/dry has been useful for parallel types and not having to concoct your own parallel routing. The gain seems to be quite useful for level matching or good old level boosting. What I've found the most interesting is the Style section. Clicking on any of the little green lights engages a preset of sort that does precisely as it says. So far my favorites have been Gentle Comp. and Clarity 2. I picked this up from Sweetwater on an introductory sale for just $69, down from it's price of $99. Worth it. Check it out.
To be clear, I don't see a dime from these companies. I just like their stuff.