elysia enjoys a reputation among audio connoisseurs as a venerated boutique manufacturer of very high-end and innovative hardware. Now another of their greatest hits, the karacter Discrete Class A Stereo Saturator, has been precisely modeled by the wizards at Brainworx and made available as a plugin. Affectionately known as “The Coloring Box” by its fans because of the various ways in which it fattens and adds sparkle to tracks, karacter’s unique sounds separate it from the pack.

karacter is actually a bundle of two plugins: karacter mix and karacter master. karacter mix provides a straightforward set of controls for treating mono and stereo tracks. The more surgical karacter master features independent controls for left and right channels or, in MS mode, mid and side channels and is optimized for processing full mixes and stereo stems and subgroups.

Both plugins give you three different saturation modes for painting your project’s tracks with colorful harmonics. Saturation mode produces a gentle fattening and emphasizes odd harmonics — perfect for mastering, and for adding subtle size to pristine-sounding instruments such as acoustic guitar and grand piano. FET Shred mode mimics the pleasing distortion of a driven tube amp; it adds a relative boost to even harmonics that transforms clinical-sounding electric guitar and bass tracks into bad boys. The third saturation mode, Turbo Boost, should have a warning label on it! Waging total destruction, it hard-clips signal tops like a weed-whacker and sounds great used for radical processing of tracks and mutilating sound design.

Choose the saturation mode you want, and then push it harder or softer using karacter’s Drive control to dial in the ideal amount of beautiful sparkle or meat-grinding grit. For floor-rattling bass tracks, crank karacter’s Color control counter-clockwise to simultaneously jack up the saturated signal’s bottom and soften its highs. Grow a scruffy beard on clean FM synth tracks by rotating the Color control clockwise. Spawn mayhem on drum overheads in MS mode by Turbo Boost-ing the kick and snare in the mid channel while keeping cymbals in the side channel sounding crystalline—or overdrive the entire kit! On full mixes, drum subgroups and stringed instruments, karacter’s Mix control lets you blend colorful distortion with your pristine input signal to produce the right balance of girth and detail. With elysia karacter, any track can be transformed into beauty or beast!


  • Faithfully models the sonic qualities and behavior of elysia’s discrete class A stereo saturator
  • Two plugins—karacter mix and karacter master—are included to optimize your workflow
  • Saturation mode gently colors full mixes and pristine acoustic instruments
  • FET Shred mode emulates the pleasing distortion of a driven tube amp, adding grit and size to electric instruments and more
  • Turbo Boost mode radically transforms tracks with severe, asymmetric clipping of positive signal phase’s peaks
  • karacter master plugin provides surgical mid-side processing of stereo mixes, subgroups, tracks and stems
  • Drive control adjusts the level of distortion from mild saturation to destructive overdrive
  • Color control tilts the spectral balance of generated harmonics to create a variety of saturated timbres

Audio Examples

Industry Reviews

  • Paul Godfrey
    Paul Godfrey

    They’ve nailed it again. I love elysia hardware and the karacter is no exception. This virtual version has that same cool fuzz I can dial in exactly the way I want it.

  • James Wiltshire
    James Wiltshire

    Modern mixing and production is often all about controlled distortion and this near perfect emulation of elysia’s hot box is invaluable in getting level, punch and even fire into your sounds.… Read More

  • David Arnold
    David Arnold

    karacter will let you be as subtle or as extreme as you like. On one hand it’s a mastering tool adding bite, grit, depth and presence to any number of individual or summed sounds. On the other… Read More

  • Josh Newell
    Josh Newell

    karacter may have just become my new favorite drum buss plugin. You can add some character (no pun intended) to lackluster drums by adding some pleasing THD, or you can really crank it and get… Read More

  • Deniz Koyu
    Deniz Koyu

    This is one of the most musical sounding saturation/distortion plugins that I’ve ever heard! Even with heavy distortion on a drum buss it will smash the transients in a really pleasant sounding… Read More

Customer Reviews

  • ★★★★★
    Secret Weapon
    by bd
    I have found that using Mid/Side mode when mastering is incredibly useful. Much more so than the normal crop of exciters and multiband exciters I have typically used. I've grown very sensitive to… Read More
  • ★★★★★
    Subtle to Extreme
    by RefineAudio
    From gentle harmonic saturation to full on destructive distortion, Karacter has me covered. It's great to add colour to instruments in my mixes.
  • ★★★★★
    by Saffs
    Nothing else like this, use it where you'd never think of using it. Makes a dull loop become the track you want to write to. Incredibly useful and inspiring tool!
  • ★★★★★
    Great emulation
    by SDB Mastering
    We own and use daily an hardware karacter in our mastering studio. I was blown away when I tried the karacter plugin, it replicates exactly all the nuances and characteristics of the hardware unit.… Read More
  • ★★★★★
    One of my favourite saturation tools
    by MarkRM
    This is one of the few saturation devices that manages to retain the fidelity and character of the source material, even when driven at its most extreme settings. It's tough to make it sound 'bad,'… Read More


Supported Plugin Formats
AAX DSP, AAX Native, AU, AAX AudioSuite, VST2, VST3

Supported Operating Systems
Mac OS X 10.8 through 10.12
Windows 7 through 10
Pro Tools 10.3.10 or higher or any VST/VST3/AU-compatible host running on a supported operating system

Intel CPU only (minimum 2 GHz recommended)

Intel-compatible CPU with SSE2 instruction set (Pentium 4 compatible or higher; minimum 2 GHz recommended)

System Requirements
Display resolution: 1440 × 900px or 1280 × 960px or higher
Memory: 2 GB RAM


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