Welcome to the sixth and last article in these series dedicated to explore the plugins included in the Waves Sound Design Suite. Finally I’m going to talk about some important tools included in the bundle:
- PAZ Psychoacoustic Analyzer
- PS22 Stereo Maker
Although DeEsser is dynamics/frequency processor, I think it’s more a special tool for certain tasks, that you may already know. That includes dialogue treatment, shaping sound effects, killing some frequencies from a sound recorded in the field, treating something in your foley elements, etc. It’s a full featured de-esser that you definitely like to have in your plugin folder.
What this processor does is an special type of compression in a specific range of high frequencies. It was created mainly for vocals and dialogue recording, but it can be also useful for treating other kind of content, and of course using it creatively by just experimenting with the parameters there. The operation is very simple. There are controls for the frequency, threshold and channel configuration. Also has some great meters for attenuation and output signal.
Let’s move to a fantastic piece of software called LoAir, a sub-harmonic generator, loaded with an incredible control system. It also supports surround as well as mono and stereo processing. LoAir’s GUI is very nice and easy to use. People who worked with a hardware units of this kind in the past, will love this virtual one. However, plugins always provide a lot of things that hardware doesn’t, such as the possibility of open several instances of the effect, the presets and A/B comp, more features, and sometimes better quality, among other things.
The system works in this way: LoAir generates a signal with very lowered octave content, by processing an existing sound. The level of that signal is controlled by the “LoAir” parameter and then it is filtered, in order to define the color of your generated low end content. That frequency is controlled by the “Range” parameter. Finally we have a knob called “LO”, which is another level control, but this time for the filtered signal’s level. The rest of the controls allow you to set the amount of direct signal in the mix, and also the output of the LFE. The surround components also feature feed section with individual feed faders for each channel.
LoAir can be used in different ways. It can be inserted in an aux track, or it can be part of a processing chain to transform a single sound, it can be useful for creating low end layers from other sounds, etc. It depends on what do you want specifically. You can process a sound just to get a new flavor of it, or you can use it for making really awesome material for your LFE track. I’d tag this plugin as “essential”.
It was about time to get this plug-in. It is worth checking carefully if both parameters, “LoAIR” and “LO” are really suiting the signal you want to alter. Sometimes one of those is too much, sometimes both are great. – Axel Rohrbach
“A clean, low-end tonal generator, LoAir is the new sub-harm standard. Together with Renaissance Bass, it’s a lethal combo.” – Charles Deenen
“LoAir finally replaces my last remaining piece of outboard processing gear, which was the sub harmonic generator. LoAir gives me great tight sub with lots of flexibility and tunable controls. It’s actually better then my outboard box, and has been a long time coming.” – David Farmer
“When I need to rock the room & take the audience on an e-ticket ride, I turn to Lo Air. It’s the power plug-in.” – Scott Martin Gershin
PAZ Psychoacoustic Analyzer
PAZ Psychoacoustic Analyzer is a great tool for obtaining all kind of real-time analysis of your signal. It offers peak/RMS metering, frequency analyzer, and a stereo position display with lots of useful features for controlling, zooming, customizing your views, etc. Also, each module can be loaded as single instances, which a great plus. There’s not too much to talk about this plugin, but it’s definitely useful in many moments.
This is a great tool to get a quick overview on your frequencies and even better on your stereo image. I personally find it a bit hard to get a good overview on the low frequencies starting 200Hz and below. – Axel Rohrbach
PS22 and S1
PS22 Stereo Maker is a very cool plugin that creates a stereo signal from a mono input. It uses psychoacoustic technology to enhance the spatial characteristics and compensate phase. The results you can obtain are very cool, and can be soft and subtle but you can also make some extreme tweaks and get crazy effects. This processor supports both LR and MS monitoring and can handle up to 24-Bit and 192kHz. PS22 it’s a great tool for a lot of things: It can give a new life to an old recording, it can create very nice images and stereo effects, it can be good for mastering solutions, and more.
S1 is another stereo toy, but this time its function is to manipulate the stereo spread and placement of the signal. It features three different components, including a MS matrix, a stereo shuffler and stereo imager, each one with different parameters and oriented to several purposes:
- S1 Imager – Basic stereo spread controller. It offers controls for gain, with and asymmetry/rotation controls. Great for stereo shifting, mixing, and placement
- S1 Shuffler – More advanced than Imager, featuring a shuffling parameter that increases the the stereo width of low frequencies. It also gives a control for the frequency range and trim. This can be useful on many tasks, such as rotation, low end enhancing, fix something in the mix, enhance a stereo image, etc.
- S1 MS – Can convert a LR to MS and vice-versa
These plugins are optimized for anti-phase processing, so there should not be phase problems and that stuff. Also, S1 was recently updated with a new GUI and several improvements that make it a really beautiful and easy to use effect.
“Great tool to shift stereo images, make them wider, and even emulate the “S” signal in LCRS recordings. It’s basically an “ultra-panner” that goes beyond the stereo spectrum, with the ability to shift imagery inside of the width you’ve established.” – Charles Deenen on S1.
Trans-X is a dynamics processor, but since it works in some kind of special way, I preferred to include it in the “tools” section instead of the “dynamics” section. This plugin is a transient shaper that allows you to change the attack of your signals, giving you extra power and lots of punch more.
It comes in two components: a wideband version and a full-featured multi-band version with more features. The controls are not very complicated to understand, including Range (maximum gain), Sensitivity (level of detection), Duration (attack time), Release (time to go to 0dB again) among others. It also has some useful metering and information features, as well as a graphic display with integrated controls, similar to the workflow on C4 or similar processors.
Trans-X was created originally for plucked instruments, percussion, bass, and similar sounds with that kind of attack, which means that it’s a perfect tool for processing sound effects like impacts, guns and fight sounds, giving them more presence, punch and of course, a powerful attack. I think it’s another must have for your plugin arsenal.
“Fantastic plug to create more punch on virtually anything. A favorite for me on any trailer sound I build, to ensure it cuts through a dense mix and has that “impact” that people expect.” – Charles Deenen
“This plug-in is huge for giving that “pop” or punch to a sound, to make it stand out in a mix. Great when combined with RenBass.” – Scott Martin Gershin
Well, that’s all. I hope you enjoyed this series. Fee free to ask me anything more you’d like to know about those plugins.