We have collaborated with the wonderful people over at Accusonus to bring you, our members, some fantastic prizes. For the winner of our Monthly Soundcoins Competition, there will be a copy of the Accusonus ERA Bundle, Below, you can read our review of the ERA Bundle, and you can see what we think of Regroover and Beatformer here.
The ERA Bundle consists of six audio repair plug-ins. Primarily aimed at vocal processing, a number of them can also be applied to other audio repair tasks. They are 64-bit, and are available for Mac or PC in VST, AU and AAX versions. The plug-ins are unified by a bold and simple 'one-knob' design aesthetic, meaning that they are incredibly easy to use. The idea is that the complex processing goes on 'behind the scenes' so that you, the user, need not concern yourself with adjusting parameter after parameter. Of course, the potential downside of this approach is the lack of control it affords the end-user. These kinds of plug-ins therefore stand or fall on the intelligence of the algorithms they employ – are they able to get it right every time? The ERA Bundle is impressive because in the vast majority of cases, the plug-ins genuinely are able to clean up your audio in a matter of seconds, without the creation of unwanted audio artefacts.
Below, we'll discuss each of the half dozen plug-ins in turn; Noise Remover, Reverb Remover, De-Esser, Plosive Remover, Voice Leveller and De-Clipper.
Noise Remover is for cutting hiss and hum out of your recordings; air-conditioners, electric hum etc. there are five buttons that allow you to focus the processing on a specific frequency range of the source sound. With the frequency range selected, simply turn the dial, and the noise is removed.
Reverb Remover is truly exceptional; one of those plug-ins that gives you the impression that there is some witchcraft going on under the hood! The premise, as you might imagine, is that the plug-in removes ambience or reverb from a source sound, drying it out and tightening it up. This is a notoriously difficult thing to do without this kind of specialist tool, and that makes Reverb Remover especially useful.
Most of us will own a de-esser already, but the ERA De-Esser makes a strong case for becoming your go-to processor. It is extremely transparent, and you have to push it very hard before you start to hear that 'lisping' sound that can plague other de-essers at much lower processing levels.
Plosive Remover is a simple tool for removing those loud 'p' and 'b' sounds that a pop shield is meant to prevent. If you are dealing with a poorly recorded vocal, or your singer has particularly pronounced plosives, these can easily be knocked back.
Voice Leveller is for smoothing out the level of a vocal – although it can also be used on other instruments. This isn't a compressor, it functions more as though you are riding the volume fader on a desk; much like Waves' Wave Rider. There are options for the levelling to be either 'normal' or 'tight'; normal being much more natural sounding, and tight being useful for situations when more vocal presence is required, such as in rap or metal tracks. As with the plug-ins described above, there are no obvious artefacts unless you push the dial really hard.
The De-Clipper is the newest addition to the ERA Bundle, and is the only plug-in that doesn't have the one-knob interface; in fact it is even more simple than that. You have the option of de-clipping algorithm 1 or 2 (the first for standard use, the second for more extreme cases), and De-Clipper will analyse your waveform and determine where it needs to operate, removing distortion that has resulted from clipping extremely effectively.
All in all, this is a fantastic bundle of extremely useful tools, and we are excited to be able to give this away to lucky SoundGym members.
If you would like to go ahead and buy the bundle, it is currently available for $149 over on the Accusonus website.
Audio Ear Training for Music Producers and Sound Engineers