VST Plugin Soundtheory Kraftur

Soundtheory Kraftur: High-quality Saturation and Clipping from the Creators of Gullfoss

What does Kraftur do?

Kraftur enhances your audio, making it sound richer and louder, allowing you to control transient peaks while preserving dynamic impact. It is ideally suited for enhancing overall masters across the mix bus subtly, but it can also be employed in individual instrument mixing to add presence and thickness.

Kraftur operates through a blend of single- and multi-band saturation, which you can seamlessly mix with the dry signal using a unique wet/dry triangle on the user interface. Additionally, it features a dedicated soft clipper to further refine stray peaks.

Kraftur’s user interface is immediately eye-catching. Its balanced combination of muted grays and vibrant visual feedback is accentuated by orange, cyan, and yellow elements for its three bands. Enabling high dynamic range (HDR) enhances the visual clarity, and a motion blur effect on the triangular blend control adds a touch of 80s VHS nostalgia. The only drawback is that the plugin window is currently fixed in size and not resizable.

How to use Kraftur?

Think of Kraftur as two parallel saturation modules (single- and multi-band) followed by a clipper.

The saturation modules share a main Drive control that affects both processors, along with Knee and Offset controls to adjust the transfer curve and target specific aspects of the sound—whether it’s just the peaks, quieter sections, or the entire sound body. The multi-band saturator adds additional controls for adjusting crossover frequencies, soloing each of the three bands, and independently adjusting thresholds (labeled as Low, Mid, and High Shift).

Single-band saturation is effective for adding a touch of aggression, where low-end peaks lead to harmonic distortion across the entire spectrum, aiding in cohesively blending a track.

Alternatively, for cleaner results with reduced intermodulation distortion, multi-band mode allows for more precise control. The Shift sliders further refine the saturation intensity, particularly in driving the low-end less than the mids and tops, if desired. Alternatively, the triangular blend control allows mixing both styles with the dry signal for optimal results.

A well-tuned clipper sits at the end of the chain—literally. The dry signal component from the triangle blend undergoes clipping, and even the final Gain control is positioned pre-clipper. While this provides additional control for driving the clipper harder, a final output knob or slider for global volume matching would have been more beneficial. Fortunately, the Match button effectively rebalances the output in real-time when adjusting other parameters, making it easier to gauge how much compression is applied to your audio.

VST Plugin Soundtheory Kraftur

How to interpret Kraftur’s visual feedback

Kraftur’s visual feedback proves invaluable when fine-tuning settings.

It features input and output meters for both single-band and three multi-band signals, alongside a visually brighter section when driving the signal harder. These are combined within the main window, which includes a transfer curve and input/output histograms.

Though an unconventional method of presenting information, once familiarized, it allows for quick adjustments to hit peak thresholds precisely. However, the absence of gain reduction metering for the clipper complicates determining compression intensity.

How does Kraftur perform?

We tested Kraftur across a variety of audio, from full mixes to individual instrument parts.

Achieving compelling results is straightforward and can be tailored to taste. Drum transients are managed, sound bodies are enriched, and significant peak reduction is possible without altering the audio dramatically.

In comparison to similar tools, we found Kraftur’s distortion exhibits a slightly more tactile, subtly gated sound that reinforces transients without overly thickening tails. This results in a subtly tighter sound compared to competitors.

The clipper performs cleanly up to a certain point, saturating a bit earlier with bass-heavy material, albeit with a pleasing, analog-like behavior. Even at maximum settings, there remains a hint of softness in the knee curve, suggesting a fully hard knee option and separate knee settings for each band could be beneficial.

Oversampling is enabled by default with no option to disable it, yet the plugin operates with zero latency, which is quite impressive.

Kraftur utilizes mixed-phase filters that generally provide a linear phase response, though it limits its use for parallel processing on a bus without inducing phase issues. CPU usage is moderate, meaning multiple instances may strain some systems, but a few instances should be manageable.

Do you really need another clipper?

On the surface, Kraftur appears quite versatile, featuring two saturators and a clipper in one plugin. However, compared to FabFilter’s Saturn 2 (also a multi-band saturator with 28 distortion styles) or Kazrog’s KClip3, Kraftur offers fewer options in harmonic variation.

Nevertheless, priced competitively at $99 for a mastering-grade plugin (especially with the $69 introductory price), Kraftur excels in transparent volume enhancement.

Early adopters have noted Soundtheory’s somewhat unconventional licensing and transfer policies, which grant a 25-year license instead of perpetual ownership. However, the brand asserts these policies support long-term plugin maintenance without requiring users to pay for updates. For instance, despite updates that could justify rebranding as Gullfoss 2, Gullfoss remains at version 1.11.5, as noted by a representative on Gearspace. For most users, these licensing and transfer terms likely won’t pose an issue.

Do you need Kraftur? With numerous capable clippers and saturators available, you may already possess satisfactory tools. However, for genres benefiting from pushing volume limits, having multiple options proves advantageous, as specific tools excel with distinct musical styles.

For situations fitting the source material, Kraftur emerges as an exceptional plugin for achieving cleaner, louder tracks, making it a valuable addition to any toolkit.

Key Features

  • 3-band multi-band saturator and clipper plugin
  • VST, VST3, AU, AAX Native (requires iLok account)
  • Enhances clarity, punch, or warmth of any material
  • Allows blending between single-band, multi-band, and dry signals
  • Offers separate threshold controls for each band
  • Reduces aliasing and intermodulation distortion through unique oversampling
  • Flexible distortion curve control
  • Match mode for automatic volume compensation
  • VisionTone color rendering pipeline based on human perception


Q: Is Kraftur compatible with my DAW?

A: Yes, Kraftur is compatible with VST, VST3, AU, and AAX Native formats. It requires an iLok account for activation.

Q: Does Kraftur support oversampling?

A: Yes, Kraftur uses a unique oversampling method to reduce aliasing and intermodulation distortion.

Q: What are the unique features of Kraftur’s interface?

A: Kraftur’s interface includes a wet/dry triangle for seamless signal blending, HDR for enhanced visual clarity, and a motion blur effect for aesthetic appeal.

Q: How can I manage CPU usage with Kraftur?

A: While Kraftur’s CPU usage is moderate, it’s advisable to use a few instances rather than many on systems with limited resources.

Q: Can I try Kraftur before purchasing?

A: Soundtheory offers a $69 introductory price until September 1st, which allows you to test Kraftur at a reduced cost.

I hope you enjoyed this brief explanation, you can access more content at smmastering.com/blog | findmylabels.com

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