Make it Pop
Based on the Transient Emphasis section of the award-winning Elevate Mastering Limiter, Punctuate is a multi-band transient modulator based on the critical bands in the human ear. Punctuate’s intelligent algorithms allow you to control the transient emphasis or suppression of all 26 critical bands with just 4 controls. This makes for an incredibly powerful, but very easy to use, transient modulator.
Transient shapers are used by top mix engineers to either crank up or soften the transients of instruments, emphasizing either the attack or sustain. However, traditional transient shapers work on the whole signal at once, modulating the whole frequency range when the transient snap is only happening in one band. Punctuate uses a model of the human ear to run a set of transient shapers across the whole spectrum of human hearing. This allows you to tailor the attack of a whole range of instruments, busses, and whole mixes without messing with the entire frequency range. The result is unparalleled transient shaping power-focused where you need it, and not where you don’t.
- Turn the drums up or down in an entire mix
- Turn up just the kick drum, without effecting the bass
- Pull hi-hats out of the snare mic
- Turn up the snare crack, while turning down the thump
- Bring instruments like acoustic guitars and pianos forward in the mix, or push them back
- Breathe life back into dull or overcompressed mixes
Science Behind Punctuate
Humans can only detect the presence of a tone if it is a certain distance from another tone playing at the same time. The Mel Scale defines the arrangement of auditory frequency bands such that each band sounds equally spaced from all others. This division of sound describes how humans hear. Most graphic EQs are IIR (infinite impulse response) or analog-style filters. These have a lot of great properties, but unfortunately, the shape of an IIR filter isn’t very flexible. For instance, even with every band set flat, the total filter shape isn’t actually flat. Furthermore, when you boost or cut each band you’re affecting the ones next to it as well. Punctuate uses a linear phase FIR (finite impulse response) filter that doesn’t have these problems so what you hear is true to what you see on the screen.
Instead of using what DSP engineers call “ideal” rectangular FIR filters, these are triangularly shaped filters. These are often used in hearing models as a first approximation to the critical bands in your inner ear. When you shape filters like the ones in your ear, the filtered signal sounds natural. In a complex signal, at any given time, you can really only hear one sound source in each filter.
Punctuate uses these filters to break the incoming audio signal into the 26 critical bands, and runs a transient shaper on each band for unprecedented control over the transients of the audio signal. By doing this, Punctuate allows you to add punch in only the places where the signal needs, instead of just slamming the level of the entire signal up and down at the transient point. Because you have independent control over the bands, you can even emphasize transients in some bands while suppressing them in others. And because it’s based on Critical Bands, it does this in such a way that sounds natural to the human ear, so you don’t hear any artifacts. Finally, Punctuate allows you to smooth the transient modulation across bands using the ADAPTIVE TRANSIENT control. This allows you to run the bands independently for ultimate control, or couple them for a smoother sound.