Sonnox is currently in the midst of updating their plugin catalog with updated UI’s and some small changes. I did not expect a new plugin to be released in the middle of this large undertaking. I have been a Sonnox fan for quite awhile and I think they make some seriously under rated plugins. They are typically very solid, great CPU usage, clean layout, and sound great. I certainly expect the new Dynamic Eq to continue in this paradigm. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to do a video review of it!
A Dynamic EQ
I would expect most of us are familiar with the term “dynamic eq” but I am sure we all have different experience levels with them as they seem to have only recently started to get popular in the plugin market. The easiest explanation I can come up with is that it is an eq at heart with compression capabilities for each individual band. It can work just like an eq if you like, though the CPU hit might make it a bit less attractive than other “plain” eq options. Dynamic Eq's are most similar to multiband compressors. A lot of the controls will seem extremely familiar if you work with multiband compressors such as Avid’s Pro Multiband Compressor.
My first impression was that it seemed like an eq on steroids. I liked the color scheme and the layout seemed intuitive. I had never used the term “Onsets” before, so I had to read into that a bit and how it differed from “Peaks”. Each parameter of this plugin has a nice tool tip popup to explain the parameter. Once you are familiar, you can shut them off in the preference settings.
The “Above” and “Below” selection in the compression controls area make it especially versatile and different from many compressors. Above is exactly what we are used to using with compressors. The signal goes above a set threshold and the compressor attempts to push it back down by a set amount (ratio). “Below” does the opposite of above, the compressor functions kicks in when the signal is below the threshold. This would be more usable for expansion purposes. It also has an extremely functional side key and it can be triggered from internal settings or from an external key input.
Overall, I really liked the plugin. It did not take long at all to get comfortable with everything and make it do what I wanted. It felt like an eq on steroids. Using for upwards compression purposes were specifically nice. I could get really detailed and methodical in shaping a snare in a stereo drum track, and far more than I could do with a regular eq or compressor. It did have a bit of a CPU hit, but I would think the frequency analyzer in the UI has something to do with that. I did not cover it in the video, but the UI is resizable. I truly hope that more plugin developers can start to implement this. My initial impressions are very positive and can’t wait to use it in new sessions. My video review goes over the details of all the parameter controls.
Sonnox has quite a bit of information and some videos on their site as well.