Variety of Sound just released SlickHDR – a new breed of dynamics processor. It takes the concept of high dynamic range processing (HDR) to audio domain. The UI might indicate it’s some kind multiband compressor but that’s not the case. Consider it as multi-timing compressor. In photography HDR is used to preserve details by combining a series of differently exposed images into one: the picture with the lowest exposure still contains features in the highlights whereas the high key image contains elements in the darker areas.
Applying this to the audio realm means to retain as much detail in dynamics as possible by splitting a signal into “normal”, “micro” and “nano” transients – so to say. In contrary to “standard” compressors that usually act upon the most prominent transients in an incoming signal. Those trade dynamics for punch.
Strongly simplified: if you shape a drumloop with a normal compressor you’re going to loose tiny details for the favor of prominent elements. And even though multiband compressors split a signal into x bands but still, the most prominent transients in each band will always win.
SlickHDR tries to prevent that by looking at a signal in a different way than normal compressors do. It splits it into a network of transients, weights them (controls P1, P2 & P3), treats them seperately and blends everything together with the mojo of stateful saturation.
Why? This approach is aimed at keeping dynamics vital, hence as transparent as possible while adding perceived loudness by adding harmonics through saturation. It’s different by design: instead of distorting the entire signal (or filtered parts of it), SlickHDR’s network of transient circuitry provides meaningful context for the saturation. It’s a bit like adding spice to individual ingredients while you cook vs throwing them all over the ready made dish.
Hope this yields a better understanding in what this plugin does and how it works.
From his specifications:
- input stage model including signal coloration and non-linearities (switchable)
- classic chorus/flanger effect with amount and rate control which automatically adopts to the delay line configuration
- frequency balancing filter for dead-easy overall tone adjustments in the feedback path
- two different feedback color modes
- feedback circuit and control which supports resonance up to self-oscillation
- standard DSP 12dB high-pass filter
- custom tape style low-pass filtering
- sophisticated?tape hiss noise simulation
- negative or positive pre-delay
- comprehensive tape dynamics simulation taken from the core of the award winning FerricTDS
- the dynamics offers a slight audio ducking effect (switchable)
- two independent delay lines with up to 3sec delay time and sync to host
- delay time modulation with two different modes
- additional phase distortion (switchable)
Especially his treatment for the authentic tape hiss noise is getting my applause here, it sounds great and perfect for all your dub techno needs.
NastyDLA available as free VST effect for Windows (32bit).
Especially its elliptical lowcut filter mode does very suprising things in the bass frequencies below 50hz and is unique to this EQ. Culprit: only available for UAD dsp cards. Then again i recommend purchasing a UAD anyway – you can run dozens of Cambridge EQs without ever putting your cpu in trouble.
A native alternative is Sonnox Oxford EQ. It’s got similar features and same ease of use. Then again it is missing the awesome elliptical filtermode. I didn’t yet find a free equalizer that satisfied my needs as much as above ones, eventhough it is often said that most EQs are basicly the same in terms of algorhythm. Of course i didn’t look for anything else in a while, thus suggestions are welcome.