Part of the Elevate software bundle by Newfangled Audio, Equivocate is such an easy tool to use when adjusting frequencies and for two reasons. First, and although you can use a blank template, there are several presets from which to choose, such as Synth Scream, Guitar Scoop, Punchy Drums, Tight Low End, etc., all designed with a particular purpose in mind. As well, you can edit/tweak any of the presets. Second, Equivocate’s auditory filters sound very natural to the ear as it employs all 26 bands for a wide and smooth sound progression – although you can reduce the number of bands, and even customize the filters and their frequencies.
There are several other features or options I have yet to experiment with, since I find the various presets so easy to apply and they sound great, such as using the automatic level compensation, the draw EQ curve and the incredible tweaking abilities for each of the 26 bands (both level and band width)
Being a modest home musician I certainly don’t make use of Equivocate as some would, including the Match EQ feature to make the sound of a track match or complement a sidechain audio signal, or trying to match the tone of a reference track. My main use is to sculpt various tracks in order for them to stand out better in the mix (or to subdue them more so they are less obvious – beyond merely reducing a track’s volume). Being able to engage and disengage Equivocate also is ideal when comparing the raw track to the new EQ’d track. Overall, this is one of the better EQ plug-ins I have tried and its effects really pop in the final mastered mix.
Saturate is a Spectral Clipper algorithm that overdrives a sound, ideal for any instrument, including acoustic or electric guitar and even vocals (to add some hair or grain). Best of all, it does this without affecting the tonal balance no matter how hard you push the signal. You can add up to 24 dB of overdrive without producing a muddy or muffled sound and while adjusting the Shape of the curve to range from incredibly smooth to hard clipping.
The Saturate presets range from very subtle, starting with A Hint of Paprika, to incredibly boisterous and intense with the Busted Compressor preset. You can apply this plug-in to any track or the entire mix and it always sounds natural and pleasant to the ear (although adding too much Saturation eventually becomes obvious!). There are independent input and output levels, but you also can use the Auto output, which scales the level naturally and easily. Of course there are meter displays so that you know how the signal is hitting the selected clipping shape, as well as any peaks.
Most of my compositions involve playing melody and some rhythm over tracks developed in Band-in-a-Box, and often the instruments in those pre-designed tracks are straight-forward. Saturate is so perfect for adding more energy and dynamics to the Band-in-a-Box instruments, whether acoustic, bass and even drums (and consider assigning Saturate to only a portion of a track if desired and for specific emphasis). As well, one of my favorite guitars is a Parker Dragonfly, which sounds great, but it’s not quite as ‘hot’ as I want it to be (and cranking the gain on a preamp/OD pedal often introduces extra hiss or noise). Adding Saturate in the mix makes a significant difference in making a guitar tone sound hotter and with no added noise.
The Punctuate plug-in allows you to control the transient emphasis or suppression of 26 frequency bands with just 4 controls, making it very easy and intuitive to use. Mixing engineers use transient shapers either to emphasize the attack or sustain or to soften transients of an instrument. What makes Punctuate different is that it does not work with the whole signal of the entire frequency range, but allows you to tailor the attack of individual instruments, busses or entire mixes (depending on how you want to use the software); and with a host of presets designed for bass, drums, guitar, piano, experimental effects, etc., you have a lot of options without having to tweak a thing.
There are plenty of functions you can do with this plug-in, such as make a guitar passage flow smoother, or perhaps have a sharper attack. You can adjust the volume of a kick drum without affecting the snare. You can increase a bass guitar without affecting the kick drum. You can bring some instruments forward or back in the mix. Punctuate also helps to add excitement into flat sounding or over-compressed mixes.
Depending on my mix and style of composition, sometimes I find the drums dominate or are too subdued and often only certain elements (e.g., cymbals vs. kick) – something needs to be brought forward or pushed back. In other instances I want my rhythm to be more aggressive, but without having to increase the amp’s gain (which can introduce more hiss or noise). And with lead I may want to accentuate the plucking/picking or smooth out the sound for more legato. Punctuate can do all these things.
Elevate is the ‘brain’ behind the mixing and mastering software by Newfangled Audio/Eventide (see my other demos using Punctuate, EQuivocate and Saturate. Elevate is a multi-band plug-in that includes a Limiter, a ‘human-ear’ EQ and audio maximizer to increase loudness while maintaining and even enhancing transient nuances and reducing artifacts. With several presets ideal for anything from Jazz to Metal, there is a lot of tweaking to be done as you create new versions and do sound comparisons in a matter of seconds. Even better, you can adjust any of the parameters in real time to improve the tonal balance and to achieve unique outcomes, whether you want to emphasize some bass, perhaps a drum snare, etc. No matter how hard you push it, Elevate sounds natural and organic (unless you start clipping too hard, of course).
Elevate utilizes 26 critical filter bands modeled from the human ear, although you can select as few as one band (and any number between, depending on your needs in sculpting the ideal master mix). You can draw curves or manipulate one band at a time, you can solo bands to pin-point very specific frequencies, and a lot more. And likely one of the most important features is that Elevate uses Adaptive Technology artificial intelligence algorithms to achieve both precise and natural sounding changes so that both tone and transients push forward while reducing audible artifacts. Combine the unique characteristics and editing capabilities of the Elevate bundle (Punctuate, EQuivocate and Saturate) and you have a huge amount of editing power at your fingertips.
My demo compares only the original track with a preset (Toasted Speakers), and so to experience live changes and to hear what it can do for your mixes I suggest you request a free demo software trial.