EMPATHY is a robust toolkit for general mixing and mastering, containing high-end effect racks for improving a wide range of audio sources. Each rack has a particular purpose, with easy-to-dial-in controls.
“The ultimate” audio effect rack designed by PerforModule, it’s a 10-step algorithm to magically improve both the tone and dynamics of any audio source in realtime.
Enhance any audio source for more upfront clarity in a delicately nuanced, hyper- intelligent, semi-automatic fashion.
• Automatic continuous sculpting of tone and dynamics.
• Give “that extra 1%” when mastering.
• Subtly tasteful to brutally aggressive compression that “always works”.
What!? The same processor excels at both delicate mastering as well as smashing the heck out of things? How can that be? The key is in its carefully-planned series of steps. It only does what it does when it needs to!
So how does it work?
*Ultimatum* follows a series of ten “yes or no” questions of the audio it’s presented with, applying a solution only when it perceives the need, either compressing too-loud frequencies downwards or compressing too-quiet frequencies upwards. Therefore, on audio within the “Goldilocks zone”, it does little to nothing, whereas on audio that is imbalanced, it attempts to administer aid. The serial combination of these frequency- specific tasks culminates in a beautifully balanced end-result, nicely polishing things without disrupting the core vibe.
But we are creative people, and can’t be having robots making ALL the decisions, can we? With *Ultimatum* you still have a great degree of control, with the ability to fine-tune the effect’s intensity in a few ways.
• Amount determines the total effect. Turn it manually as desired, OR use the Auto Intensity knob instead, which will take over control of it. For gentle mastering, aim for average values of around half.
• Aggro affects the overall timing for every step. Crank it up to increase aggression, for a much more obvious effect. Or roll it back for a more innocuous effect. Try pushing it hard on drum loops for that “smashed” sound.
• Auto Intensity is a magical knob which, once turned above zero, takes command of the Amount knob and auto-modifies it in reaction to the incoming audio. As you increase Auto Intensity you’ll see the Amount react more strongly. The Aggro knob also affects it, tending to increase the average Amount. *Auto* mode is ideal for unpredictable sources or to avoid boosting background ambience too much.
• Output Level in case you want it.
•Fairly high CPU: It’s utilizing ten instances of Multiband Dynamics, so what do you expect? Freezing tracks is your friend!
•Can’t use in parallel: Parallel routing will cause phase issues, guaranteed. Nothing to be done about that unless Ableton makes a linear phase version of Multiband Dynamics at some point, sorry.
•Swelling Decay Tails: Due to the upward compression, at high intensity, sometimes audio that is fading out can result in a bit much of a “woosh” sound (particularly at the tail end of a song). Using *Auto* instead can help alleviate this, or/and using automation to manually fade down the Amount in conjunction with the audio. Remember that you can automate the Auto knob too.
One-stop shop for console-style adjustment of tracks in a mix. Features focused low & high cuts, “light shine” tone highlighter, surgical slice, L-R twist, and M vs S intensity.
• Sculpt the “topographical” (tonal and panoramic) balance of audio tracks with a quick, console-style approach.
• Dial in a sense of dimensional placement.
• Hastily implement a suave tonal focus.
• Surgically slice a problem frequency.
This was an attempt to make “one single” effect rack to drop into every track in a mix project, getting raw recordings ready for more intensive subsequent processing, covering basic filtering, stereo placement, and tonal focus in a swanky manner. It’s fairly complex under the hood, yet easy to dial in by ear.
• Refined “Light Shine” focus frequency enhancer. Use this to boost a key frequency of choice in a dense, smooth manner.
• High and Low Cuts with custom energy-retaining resonance bumps. Use these to trim unneeded low or high end while reinfocing them at the same time.
• Unique “M vs S Intensity” and “L-R Twist” spatial placement knobs for weighting the front-to-back and left-to-right perception of the effect results. It’s hard to describe and has to be experienced.
*’The One’* Signal Flow: M-S Split ⇉ Selective Gate ⇉ High Cut ⇉ Surgery Notch Dip ⇉ Selective Saturator ⇉ Selective Expander ⇉ Lighter ⇉ Low Cut ⇉ MSLR Matrix
• *Low Cut Focus* provides smooth low-cut filtering combined with a nice custom resonance bump. Clear out headroom-eating bottom-end while reinforcing the root.
• *Light Shine* is a combination of delicate saturation and frequency-selective dynamic expansion. It “shines a light” on a choice tonal location, bringing it perceptibly forward in a more suave manner than with brute-force EQ.
Use *Light Freq* to set the main focus anywhere from approximately 75Hz to 10kHz.
• *L-R Twist* is a special panning knob for carefully rebalancing the stereo field, in concert with the M vs S Intensity.
• *M vs S Intensity* balances the Mid-Side intensity of all *’The One’* processes on stereo tracks. Make things feel more in-your-face… or more distant.
• *Surgical Slice* is a hybrid notch + dip filter (+ a touch of frequency-selective gating), to slice out a select unpleasant frequency with laser precision, while attempting to minimize phase shift. The majority of the time you shouldn’t need this. On occasion it might be helpful.
Pinpoint the location of the slice with the *Surgery Freq* knob.
• *High Cut Focus* provides smooth high-cut filtering combined with a nice custom resonance bump. Eliminate ultra-high frequencies while reinforcing top-end sparkle.
Note that, as with Ultimatum, *’The One’* isn’t recommended for usage in parallel. Ok?
The PerforModule take on the much-maligned “Sonic Maximizer”, with our own preferred custom curvature. The term “Maximizer” is somewhat of a misnomer, since there’s no limiting or anything going on, so our version has instead been accorded the honorific “Miximizer”.
• Boost lows while attenuating harshness.
• Boost highs while attenuating muddiness.
• Restore dull or thin recordings transferred from old media.
• Add power and sheen to midrange-focused speaker systems.
The original hardware’s mid dip is around 700Hz, resulting in a pretty straightforward “V” shape when both bands are engaged.
The PerforModule Auditory Miximizer, on the other hand, has two separate valley regions depending on which you boost. Boosting both simultaneously retains more mids in our version, particularly a bump of mid presence around 2k, while removing the most energy around the low-mids “boxy” zone. Overall it has a very natural, pleasant, and musical contour. Incorporate some “React Activity” for an even more natural feel.
There are three versions, covering various routing configurations:
• Normal (mono or stereo-linked).
• L-R (separate controls for left and right).
• M-S (separate controls for center and sides).
• *Lo Contour* boosts the lower frequencies smoothly whilst curtailing upper harshness.
• *Hi Contour* boosts the upper frequencies smoothly whilst curtailing lower mud.
• *React Activity* modulates the overall intensity based on the input level. Use for a more organic sound. It acts as a mellow expander, increasing intensity during louder moments and reducing the intensity of the overall contour during softer moments, helping to brighten and solidify things with a minimal increase in annoying hiss or oppressive mud.
•• *Lo-Cut* and *Hi-Cut* are switchable, with stationary cutoff points (at 50Hz & 15kHz), to emulate old analog hardware rolloff. When boosting highs or lows, cutting the outer extremes in such a manner can be useful to free up headroom and provide focus.
Combination gate and expander for when you want to increase the dynamic range, tighten things up, emphasize punch, and add more of a percussive, staccato feel.
The effects you just read about in the Empathy pack encompass EQ and compression tasks. But what about gating and expansion? That’s what *Dilation Warder* is here for. It gives you a paired gate plus expander, with super-easy-to-dial-in, intuitive controls and extreme versatility.
• Gate stuff.
• Expand stuff.
• Enhance a sense of percussive attack.
• Generally increase dynamic range.
• *▼ Down Ward* implements gating (aka low-level expansion), making quiet moments even quieter.
• *▲ Up Ward* implements high-level expansion, making the loudest moments even louder. Brutally extreme results are doable, and curtailed with a safety limiter.
• *Onset* lets you fine-tune between a more punchy or more squishy feel.
• *Let Go* fills out the sound by delaying how soon signals drop.
• *Snap* sets the sharpness of transients. Note that since this control alters latency at certain points, automating it can cause a “click” sound. Set it and forget it.
NOTE: The *Empathy* racks are optimized for use on audio measuring -16LUFS integrated. Use the “Sense” macros to fine-tune for louder or quieter material.
IMPORTANT: the following two free Live packs are required to be installed in order to utilize the “auto” functionality of the Ultimatum and Auditory Miximizer Devices: MaxforLive Essentials & M4L Building Tools
PerforModule devices are developed by Animus Invidious. To discover the latest, check out PerforModule.com