Mellowmuse SATV is a very handy tone shaping tool for beginners and pros. The interface is easy to understand and operate. You don’t really need to read any manual to dig in. If you have an instrument or vocal track that you feels it’s a bit too clean or sterile, try throwing this on them and play with the 4 saturation modes, see what you got on the other end of the tunnel!
There’s a unique character on each of the 4 modes. “Transformer” is a very aggressive saturation, if you drive it slightly it’ll distort! It’s a cool sound, but use it sparingly unless you want full on destruction! “Transistor” mode is slightly more gentle than the “Transformer”, it breaks up nicely when you raise the drive. It adds a nice crunch to the high end while retaining the low end nicely. It’s pretty transparent as well, it doesn’t add undesirable compression that removes the punchy. “Tube” & “Tape” mode have a much higher headroom, they add subtle and musical saturation with minimal distortion. “Tube” mode adds a brighter tone and more aggressive bite to the signal while “Tape” tames the transient of the signal and adds that tape warmth that is highly sought after.
The “group” function is a bit of a disappointment because it only links up the drive, mix and output across all the Mellowmuse SATV in the same group. I would prefer they also link up the “saturation” mode as well. Let’s say I am putting SATV across all my drum tracks in the same group, I wish there’s a way I can easily switch the “saturation” mode for all my drum tracks and see what it does!
The “Auto Gain Control” is a really thoughtful feature but when a signal is very distorted, it’s hard to match the perceived loudness to the actual loudness. Thus sometimes, I still prefer to adjust the output manually to match the pre and post processed loudness.
I personally really enjoy using SATV myself, it stands out in the competition. There’s no steep learning curve with crazy controls and settings and it’s not a one trick pony that offers only 1 saturation mode with zero control. In fact, it is a good sounding saturation box with just enough controls for the user to dial in some good tone without losing our sanity! I think any producer and engineer will enjoy using one of these!