In Focus: Soundtheory Kraftur

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In Focus: Soundtheory Kraftur

Soundtheory Kraftur
Words by Mixdown staff

As a general rule of thumb, I really like to know what a plugin is doing.

There’s a lot of presets out there, single knob compression algorithms and the like that I’ll buck because I’d rather have more control. Soundtheory plugins, however, I’m happy to use, and understand even less than other manufacturer’s options. Their first plugin, Gulfoss, is (and continues to be) doing things with EQ and using mid-side process to ‘finish’ my tracks, bringing a cohesion to it all without ever being overwhelming.

Read more features, columns and interviews here.


Their new offering, Kraftur, is much the same, though this time with saturation… sort of. The Kraftur is a saturation, loudness and bus processor, a “finisher” much like the Gulfoss is. Saturation and distortion can be used for punch, loudness and weight, and this is where the Kraftur shines is as either a mix bus addition or on individual buses and groups— use it on individual tracks if you’re feeling creative!

We’ll dive into all the parameters in a moment, but the Soundtheory Kraftur can be universally controlled by toggling between Single-band processing, Multi-band processing and the Dry signal. This is done by moving the focus area around a triangle at the top of the plugin. Dry signal is obviously unprocessed signal, blended with either Multi-band or Single-band processing. Multi-band processing applies things like Drive, EQ shift more broadly, while Single-band processing applies these more separately to the different frequency spectrums.

The Kraftur allows you to monitor the Input and Output, as well as the processing happening on each band. You can also solo a band at a time to really dive into what is happening in each area of your mix. Monitor with Band Transfer Curves, Band Level Meter, Peak Histogram Graphs and Input and Output metering for overall audio and each band.

The Kraftur is operating in a very complex way, and depending on the signal it’s receiving, overlapping problem areas can create distortion, so Soundtheory have opted for the triangular solution. There’s no need to understand this at a molecular level, moving your mouse around until things sound good is the best course of action.


The Kraftur begins with a Drive control, allows you to push the signal into saturation as hard as you like. While the resulting sound is somewhat like a limiter or clipper, it’s not explicitly compression, but more so shaving and shaping the transients.

The Offset and Knee settings control how quickly the signal saturates when it reaches that threshold. The Shift settings, split into Low, Mid and High bands, allow you to set the threshold for each band separately, so they saturate more or less for each band. For example you can drive the mids and highs while leaving your low end clean, or the total opposite!

Metre all of this via the main Histogram window, as well as Input and Output metering. You can Solo the three bands, or use the ‘Match’ button to automatically adjust loudness to prevent you from tricking your own ears with loudness!


Mastering and bus processing can be really complicated, as generally louder things feel more exciting, heavy and impactful, so making things louder can be deceiving. The state-of-the-art Match function, for that reason, is a really helpful addition. The interface can seem overwhelming, but after a few minutes of use it all makes sense. I found myself really wanting to push things too far to really get a handle on what was happening to my signal, and while maybe not perfect for the sessions I was working on, the Kraftur never really sounded bad nor unusable. The triangle control is more obvious the harder you push things, the Multiband region really refining the mix into something more cohesive, while the single band processing became more detailed. Sliding the selected region back towards Dry yielded great results when EQ Shift bands were driven particularly hard, just blending in a little of the grit and saturation beneath the dry, unprocessed mix.

EQ Shift

The EQ Shift bands work at a very broad level, bolstering and adding weight to the frequency bands instead of boosting or cutting per se, allowing you to broadly balance your entire mix or bus. Used on sub groups, i.e. Drums, Bass Guitar, Guitars etc. allows you to shape them separately for a more cohesive sound overall.

There’s an overall Gain control, preceding the ‘Clip’ stage, so Gain can be used for additional overall drive, while bypassing the ‘Clip’ allows you to boost volume into a final limiter for master—or whatever else your imagination can conjure up.

Soundtheory offer tools for audio, but presented in a whole new way. The Gulfoss bought us some broader mid-side, front-to-back EQ processing, the Kraftur now offering weight, heft and saturation in its own way.

Saturation brings all we love from analogue processing into the modern day, harnessed now in a modern way, in-the-box and instantly recallable. Retain the integrity of your carefully crafted dynamics while shaping and refining the sound overall, bringing loudness, clarity and drive.

For more info or to try and buy Kraftur, visit Soundtheory here.