Dispatches from the Work Front

User notes on DynPEQ application

Yes, we consider DynPEQ a unique and versatile signal processor.  Still, we receive notes from the audio community that make us say, “Wow, we didn’t think you could use DynPEQ to do this!”

What follows are those stories and more.  If you have a DynPEQ story of unusual uses, feel free to send it to dispatch <at> wholegMANUALLYrain-dTYPEs <dot> com

No Hardware for Old Mods

A member of Dark Star orchestra who had been archiving analog Grateful Dead came to me with an old tape marked “Dolby Stretched”.  We didn’t know what that meant.

We first tried playback with a hardware Type A decoder, but the background room ambience sounded very pumped.  We tried several calibration levels and could not get better results.  We next tried playback without the decoder, and the room ambience sounded natural but the vocals did not.

After research, we discovered that the term “Stretched” meant Type A encoding with the two lowest bands bypassed.  No one we knew had hardware with this modification nor was willing to give up hardware to undergo such invasive surgery.

It was then that I broke out Quartet DynPEQ and dragged the Type A decoder preset from the band toolchest. It was then a simple matter of turning off the two low bands, calibrating against tones, and doing the transfer with very pleasant results.

–Gus Skinas, Super Audio Center

IMPORTANT NOTE: DynPEQ is a general purpose dynamic equalizer and is not designed after any specific architecture of commercial Analog Noise Reduction (ANR) systems. There will, at minimum, be phase differences between DynPEQ decoding and that of the original ANR systems.

3-in-1 Plugin

I recently had to mix a vocal for a song in the Netflix show Sense8.  The overall tone needed some shaping, the voice was sibilant at times, and a little dynamic control would help.  Instead of using two or three plug-ins, I chose Quartet DynPEQ.  One band was set up as a compressor with a low ratio and slow release.  The second band used a peak setting on the EQ to boost the upper mids with a wide Q.  The final band was configured as a dynamic EQ with a tight Q setting in order to tame the harsh sibilance.

A similar solution resolved issues with dialogue on a film.  The track was bright, got even harsher when the actors shouted, and some of the louder portions needed to be brought more in line with the softer sections.  Like the vocal in the song above, one band was set up as a gentle compressor.  Band two was used as a high shelf where I pulled out about 2 dB at 8.5kHz.  The third band was a dynamic EQ that kicked in when the actors would shout.  Quartet DynPEQ kept the actors’ performances intact while solving issues we see frequently.

–Tom Marks, Re-Recording Mixer

Re-Re-Mastering

The client had regained rights to an old album and wanted it remastered.  They were not satisfied with the album’s sound when it was issued by their old label.

Not only was the old master muddy, compressed, and claustrophobic, but the mix tracks had much the same quality, and we did not have the budget to go back to studio tracks and remix.

From this source, my task was to inject dynamics, clear out the muffled “sock like” sound and also deal with a nasty harshness in the vocal.

First, the analog mix tracks were processed with a combination among API, Cranesong, SPL, SKNote and Manley equalizers; along with API, Tegeler Audio Manufaktur and Focusrite compressors before conversion to digital.  The new digital mix tracks were sent through Sonnox EQ for some surgical dips and below 30Hz cut-off, UAD’s Shadow Hills compressor for grabbing any peaks, and UAD Dangerous BAX mastering EQ for some gentle mid and side processing.

The shiny new digital mix tracks were then processed with Quartet DynPEQ.  I put all four bands to good use.  The low band was a shelf that injected dynamic punch back into the bass and kick drum.  The second band did compression on the most muddy region, requiring fine tuning of the threshold from song to song. The third band employed inverse compression on the upper mids to restore bounce to the snare and vocal. The high band was a static shelf to put some air on top.  Lastly, we used Legendary I.C.E. to control the brittle aspects of the lead vocal.

On one song, an extra Quartet DynPEQ was used to increase focus on a strumming mandolin part that was overwhelmed in the mix.  I found the band that the mandolin occupied and boosted it with a touch of compression to lift that part up.

–Wes Maebe, GHQ Ltd. – Sonic Cuisine