Softube makes a great plugin effect called the “Saturation Knob” for use in your DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) such as Pro Tools, but did you know you can also use it for free with Audacity? I recently installed the Softube Saturation Knob for use with Audacity on Windows, and it has quickly become one of my go-to effects!
It took a bit of fumbling around for me to get it installed properly, so I decided to write a quick and easy guide on how to install the Softube Saturation Knob for use with Audacity.
What is the Saturation Knob?
Have you ever adjusted the saturation of an image you took with your phone camera? The saturation just makes everything brighter and more vivid. This is exactly what the Softube Saturation Knob does, but for audio. It takes a mediocre sounding clip, and enhances it by beefing up the bass without becoming muddy, adding subtle harmonics, and giving a shimmer to vocals.
This effect can make the difference between 2k views and 200k views on youtube. It works surprisingly well, with just one knob.
If you found this article, I’m assuming you already have Audacity installed and are familiar with its use. If so, please skip the next section. For anyone else:
What is Audacity?
Audacity is a free, open source, cross-platform audio software, multi-track audio editor and recorder for Windows, macOS, GNU/Linux and other operating systems. It is developed by a group of volunteers. I use Audacity a lot and really appreciate the time and effort that the developers put into it.
How to Install the Softube Saturation Knob for Audacity in Windows
Getting the Saturation Knob effect to work is fairly straightforward, with a couple of tricks along the way. One thing to be aware of right off the bat is that in order to download the “free” plugin, you have to create a Softube account and an iLok account. They are linked and use the same password, but it is a few extra hoops to jump through. If you still want to continue, these are the steps:
- Go to Softube Saturation Knob link and click the download button, where you’ll be prompted to create a Softube Account.
- Create the Softube Account. Go to your email and activate the account. Before you can download the plugin, you have to create an iLok account.
- Create the iLok Account, it will use the same username/password.
- Go to the “legacy downloads” area of the Softube website and download the 32-bit version. Download the 32-bit version of the plugin (it is an *.exe file).
- Run the Executable (*.exe) file. Copy the Saturation Knob.dll to the Audacity plugin folder.
- Activate the plugin in Audacity
1 – Go to the Softube Website
Go to the Saturation Knob Download page on the Softube.com website.
2 – Create a Softube Account
In order to “Buy” the Plugin for “Free,” you must create a Softube account.
Input the information, and they will email you a link to activate the account.
3 – Create an iLok Account
You will also be prompted to create an iLok account that is linked to your Softube account. They will both use the same username and password that you’ve created.
4 – Download the Saturation Knob VST Plugin
Audacity currently operates as a 32-bit program, meaning that you cannot use the default 64-bit plugin from Softube. In order to get the older 32-bit version, you must navigate to the Softube – Legacy Installers Page. Scroll down to the correct section (e.g. Mac 32-bit, Windows 32-bit, etc…) and click on the Saturation Knob link to begin the download.
5 – Run the Executable
The executable will be located in your downloads folder, run it.
The executable will install the Saturation Knob.dll in the following folder:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Steinberg\VstPlugins\Softube\
Copy the Saturation Knob.dll file into the Plug-ins folder in the Audacity location, probably something like:
C:\Program Files (x86)\Audacity\Plug-Ins
6 – Activate the Saturation Knob Plugin
Now open Audacity, and select Add/Remove Plug-ins… from the Effect menu.
Scroll down the list until you find the Saturation Knob plugin. Highlight the line and click the “Enable” button.
At this point you may be prompted to enter your iLok username and password in order to unlock it. After that, the Plugin is ready to use. To test it out, drag and drop an audio file into the Audacity active window, then select Effect >> Saturation Knob…
Press the Play (>) button on the Saturation Knob Plug-in to hear the audio with the effect enabled.
And that’s about it. I hope you found this helpful.
Anything I missed? Let me know in the comments!