Sculpt, the brand new plug-in from ADPTR Audio, combines a set of 4 versatile processors right into a plug-in that delivers distinctive management over your audio’s dynamics. The impact can be utilized on particular person components and tracks however this isn’t its forte: it’s a resource-intensive plug-in, so working quite a few situations might be tough, and its want for a comparatively lengthy look-ahead means it’s no good on reside inputs. Nonetheless, Sculpt is great when utilized in its meant position as a stem, combine and mastering processor.
Ups and downs
Sculpt’s first two modules are a pair of compressor/expanders. The primary, when working as a compressor, operates as a comparatively unusual upward compressor; that’s, it will increase the amplitude of audio that falls under the edge degree. When switched to expander mode, the module acts as a typical downward expander, lowering the acquire of audio that falls under the edge.
The state of affairs is reversed within the second compressor/expander. In compressor mode, the module acts as a standard downward compressor, however in enlargement mode it operates as an upward expander – in different phrases, it will increase the acquire of alerts that rise above the edge.
This pairing of processors – compression and enlargement, upwards and downwards – offers an exceptional depth of management over your audio’s dynamics and makes Sculpt exceptionally versatile.
The compressor/expanders function a number of unusual parameters aimed toward creating extra natural-sounding compression. Essentially the most notable, Certain, permits the ratio to be decreased additional past the edge the sign goes. This implies you possibly can create an amplitude band the place full-ratio compression or enlargement is utilized, but scale back that ratio for significantly loud (or quiet) passages, thereby retaining some pure dynamic variance.
Sculpt’s compressor/expanders additionally supply an AR Adapt parameter. As that is elevated, the module’s assault and launch instances turn out to be more and more frequency -dependent, with decrease frequencies triggering slower assault and launch instances than greater ones. Once more, this helps make the outcomes sound extra natural.
Tone and transient sculpting
Every compressor/expander sports activities its personal unbiased sidechain EQ, permitting you to tune the processor’s response at completely different frequencies. The EQ has low- and high-shelf bands, a peak band and a tilt band that pivots at 500Hz.
In contrast to a standard EQ, which applies a blanket minimize or increase regardless of the sign, Sculpt screens the enter for the presence of frequencies that fall inside an EQ band’s vary of affect, after which pushes these frequencies in the direction of the EQ curve that you’ve outlined. This makes it a lot simpler to get a constant frequency response from the modules when utilizing the identical Sculpt settings to course of completely different audio sources.
Sculpt’s third processing stage, Tone, makes use of this EQ system and means that you can make broad-brushed tonal adjustments to your audio earlier than it’s fed into Sculpt’s last module, a transient-shaper. With this, you can also make transients within the audio kind of distinguished, and use Sculpt’s EQ system to switch the shaper’s sensitivity to frequencies.
So, for instance, you could possibly take the sting off an over-hot hi-hat with out impacting the punch of the snare, or add aggression to a lacklustre low finish with out creating harshness additional up the spectrum.
Lastly, all modules embody an MS Course of parameter that biases the module’s impact between the mid and aspect parts of the audio. In its central place, each mid and aspect will obtain 100 per cent of the impact. Turning in the direction of mid will scale back the share utilized to the aspect element, and vice versa. It’s a barely complicated association however it means that you can modify Sculpt’s stereo response in attention-grabbing and helpful methods.
ADPTR has performed a superb job with Sculpt’s interface design and usefulness. The processing modules are laid out as blocks throughout the center of the window, with every exposing their most necessary parameter for management with a big, quick-access knob on the panel.
Above that is an amplitude graph that shows the sign degree in actual time with acquire improve and discount proven as shaded fills within the peaks and troughs of the graph – brown for improve, blue for discount.
When a compressor/expander module is chosen for enhancing, a dynamic response curve graph is added to the higher view. An excellent visualisation of the module’s settings and the way it’s working, it aligns completely with the amplitude graph; there’s even a line that rides on the dynamic response graph’s curve to point the present dynamic vary.
Working under the row of processing modules is a real-time spectrum analyser. As with the amplitude graph, acquire adjustments are indicated on the spectrum readout. However right here we’re given a frequency-specific view of what Sculpt is doing. The curves of the sidechain EQs and Tone processor and the Transient module’s frequency-response curve are proven and edited as overlays on this spectrum view.
These graphic visualisations make it simple to see precisely what Sculpt is doing. However there’s a difficulty: every module has further controls that seem on an overlay when the module is chosen. That overlay is drawn above the row of modules, and so partially obscures the amplitude and compression graphs. ADPTR is conscious of the difficulty and is contemplating options.
Every module has a acquire change meter. There’s a grasp acquire change meter, and the principle output degree meter additionally incorporates acquire change indicators. Moreover, the module and grasp meters have a vertical marker working alongside them that, when dragged, scales the quantity of acquire change utilized by the module or by Sculpt as a complete.
Sculpt additionally boasts a intelligent Autogain function, which analyses a portion of your audio, from which it calculates the perfect enter and output acquire. This pays dividends when utilizing presets as a result of the acquire knowledge is included with a preset; when recalled to be used on completely different materials, Sculpt will try to match the acquire of that new audio to the profile saved within the preset, in order that Sculpt’s modules reply equally to the brand new materials as they did to the fabric used when the preset was created. This makes presets extra helpful than they usually are with dynamics processors.
Sculpt is without doubt one of the most versatile dynamics processors we’ve seen. Its skill to create complicated dynamic responses and to hone them to particular frequency and amplitude ranges make it vital for mastering engineers, and it’s exceptionally helpful throughout mixing too.
- Runs on macOS 10.11+ (Intel solely); Home windows 7+
- Plug-in for AAX Native, AAX AudioSuite, AU, VST2 and VST3
- Bypass particular person modules and scale their impact
- Intensive categorised library of presets
- $299, Intro supply of $199 till 6 April (midnight PST)
- Contact Plugin Alliance
- Purchase: ADPTR Audio