“A twist on EQ and multiband compression that could change the way you imagine your everyday processing setup.”
–Darwin Grosse, review in Recording Magazine, June 2017
Read the entire Recording Magazine review through this link. We wish to thank Recording Magazine for their permission to post this article.
Don’t have time to read the review? Here is a TL;DR.
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DynPEQ is a family of digital audio workstation plugins allowing detailed control over the audio spectrum, combining the functionality of a classic parametric equalizer and dynamics processor into an integrated unit. While this is a good description of what the plugins do, let users in the pro audio community describe how the plugins do the job and why you should consider them.
“DynPEQ is an incredible tool. I have found it an amazing problem solver for vocal taming. Many singers have a place where the frequency will rip your face off, and Wholegrain’s DynPEQ is super fast and incredibly accurate to dial in and tame those nodes. As a bus limiter it does exactly what’s needed without adding the harshness that most limiters have. I am a big fan of this workhorse.”
—Ross Hogarth, multi-award and multi-platinum producer/mixer/engineer, Hoax Productions
“Wholegrain’s DynPEQ algorithm is unparalleled in its field. The speed and musicality of its processing made me recognize that this is a tool I cannot work without. The DynPEQ plugins are as lightning fast as they are smooth and artifact free–to say nothing of the fact that Quartet embodies the best brick wall limiter I have ever used! A game changer for sure.”
—Nathaniel Kunkel, award-winning producer and engineer, Studio Without Walls
“Quartet and Trio offer capabilities unavailable elsewhere. They can be a straight-ahead EQ, dynamics processor, or a hybrid. I’ve discovered some DynEQ tricks that enable it to be used as an enhancer or vocal exciter, to unobtrusively tame an unruly low end, or add sheen to mix without it sounding over-EQed. The DynPEQ plugins are real problem solvers, and sound excellent–highly recommended.”
–David Glasser, award-winning mastering engineer, Airshow Mastering
“Amazingly powerful plugins, for when traditional EQ is simply not enough.”
–Dominique Brethes, producer and mixing/post/mastering engineer, Wolf Studios/FloW Mastering
“The DynPEQ plugins are so powerful and flexible that they’re not only the perfect rescue tools but also the perfect sound shapers. Quartet has become my go-to problem solver.”
–Wes Maebe, award-winning producer and engineer, GHQ Ltd. – Sonic Cuisine
The DynPEQ Difference
The DynPEQ plugins can fall into the categories of multiband dynamics, multiband EQ, or spectral dynamics. While many products are in these categories, we think DynPEQ has distinct differences that set it apart.
• At the heart of DynPEQ is a parametric equalizer as we know it. You can open the top segment, Parametric Fine Controls, and use the processor as a static EQ without touching any dynamics controls.
Each parametric band can have its own dynamics. The dynamics are modeled after a traditional processor, with a gain stage for the output and a level measurement from the sidechain, the sidechain level applied to a function to get the desired output level, and the difference in the two levels represents the gain to apply.
To make a dynamic parametric EQ band, make two modifications to the traditional dynamics processor. One, swap out the gain stage and replace it with the band’s parametric filter. Two, take the band selective component of the parametric filter and apply it to the sidechain so that the input level is constrained to the parametric band. The gain taken from the dynamics curve becomes additional boost/cut applied to the parametric filter. Click here for an illustrated tour.
• Why do it this way? The first EQs applied a principle that there is one and only one band assigned to every frequency in the audio spectrum. This models loudspeakers and human ears very well, but this is the opposite end of the audio chain from the recording studio. Musical instrument and room acoustics do not follow this model. The parametric EQ was made to address resonances and nulls of arbitrary frequency and width characteristics. Most multiband dynamics processors follow the old audiological principle.
The big distinction is how the processor can be implemented. An audiological multiband typically uses the Fourier transform, which works fine but must work with blocks of audio, smearing out the level measurements and making the dynamic reaction sluggish. DynPEQ does its processing in the time domain, which means that level tracking is much closer to real-time and attack and release times can be legitimately lightning fast. At a 48 kHz sample rate, the latency of Trio is 2 milliseconds and for Quartet is 3 1/3 ms.
• DynPEQ calculates the total RMS level of the sidechain, which yields a fast-reacting and smooth level for dynamics control. You do not have to extend the release time to keep a steady-state level flat.
DynPEQ is a Wholegrain processor design. We take pride in our attention paid to digital audio processing artifacts and how to deal with them. Our goal is not to emulate an analog processor, but we will borrow from any technique, analog or digital, to get the best result. While we can’t say the processing is completely transparent, we encourage you to listen closely to DynPEQ in comparison to other multiband dynamics processors doing the same tasks.
• The renewal of interest in parametric EQ is something we appreciate, especially the analog versions thereof. Old PEQs can go beyond basic equalization to be effective and–let’s face it–cool tone controls. If you work with it, we hope you will see that DynPEQ is not a tone control at all, and that we are not trying to replace your classic parametric boxes. We think DynPEQ is after a more general goal: spectral control. We have heard from many users that DynPEQ does not have a vibe or characteristic tone. This is by design. DynPEQ is best used to control elements that are relatively deficient or overbearing while preserving the tone you spent so much effort attaining.
No wonder, then, that we have heard the following.
“The DynPEQ plugins perform EQ, compression, de-essing, limiting, and dynamic EQ all in one. They are a Swiss army knife with the precision of a scalpel. They have become my go-to vocal processors.”
–Tom Marks, Re-Recording Mixer, Warner Bros.
We believe that DynPEQ can add significant finishing touches to recordings. At the same time, we try not to rely on the preset bands in the toolbox and instead tinker with the many parameter settings. We think DynPEQ can open up, or perhaps re-open, your aural world, where you can discover adjustments and spectral control strategies that are uniquely your own.
The DynPEQ Plugins
The following is an overview of the differences between the two DynPEQ plugins.
Quartet DynPEQ–geared for mastering
- Four DynPEQ bands
- Multichannel stem capable
- Output peak limiter
- Project patch store
Trio DynPEQ–geared for input processing
- Three DynPEQ bands
- Single channel insert
For a quick-ish way to get familiar with DynPEQ plugins, check out the videos under the Instruction menu item, or refer to the direct video links below.
- Processing: covers the internals of the plugins including esoterica.
- GUI: covers operating the plugin’s many buttons and dials.
- Admin: covers plugin tools to help with your workflow.
- Applications: covers applications of DynPEQ.