Review of Eventide and Newfangled Audio’s updated 1.5 Elevate Bundle : (Elevate – Multiband Mastering Dynamics plugin; Equivocate – Auditory EQ plugin; also includes two new plugins)

Review of Eventide and Newfangled Audio’s updated 1.5 Elevate Bundle : (Elevate – Multiband Mastering Dynamics plugin; Equivocate – Auditory EQ plugin; also includes two new plugins)

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Introduction
Newfangled Audio and Eventide have recently updated the Elevate bundle to 1.5 which brings two new plugins – Saturate and Punctuate as well as feature improvements to Elevate and Equivocate.

For more in-depth information, please visit the dedicated product webpage.

Elevate Bundle 1.5 (comprising the Elevate, EQuivocate, Punctuate, and Saturate AAX/AU/VST plug-ins for Mac OS X 10.7+ and Windows 7+) is available through Eventide and authorised dealers at a promo price of $139.00 USD through to September 5, 2018 (rising thereafter to a regular price of $199.00 USD). Owners of EQuivocate can upgrade to Elevate Bundle 1.5 for $99.00 USD through to September 5, 2018 (rising thereafter to a regular price of $149.00 USD). Owners of Elevate can upgrade to Elevate Bundle 1.5 for free at anytime.

Equivocate
Equivocate

EQuivocate is the ideal EQ for naturally changing the tone of any sound, so it is perfect for mixing and mastering applications. As EQuivocate uses filters that are modelled on the human ear, each of its 26 bands tickles a different part of the inner ear, making any combination of settings sound as natural as ‘humanly’ possible. Combining this with a linear-phase filter shape that reduces pre-echo makes EQuivocate an EQ with a difference that can clearly be heard.

Use EQuivocate’s Match EQ feature to make the sound of your track match or complement the audio signal streamed to its sidechain. You can also use it to make a final master match the tone of a reference track, or help fit a sound into a dense mix. Unlike other match EQ plug-ins, EQuivocate provides a transparent match without trying to model imperceptible differences which can cause a match EQ to sound unnatural. Feed your favorite song or individual track into it and instantly morph your tone to match.

EQuivocate in use

The 1.5 update brings a new RANGE feature, allowing users to scale or invert the total dB range for the EQ in order to change the total amount of EQ applied after setting the individual bands. This also allows users to scale the range of the MATCH EQ before and after it has been set. Additionally, each band benefits from enable buttons to easily turn bands on and off for better workflow with improvements implemented elsewhere also assisting.

There are only minor changes to the GUI so the layout remains largely the same. The top section has presets, load/save options, new check for update button and a drop down offering 3 different colour schemes. Underneath is an ‘active’ button which switches the effect on and off.

The input vu meter is on the left and output vu meter on the right of the display, both showing peak and rms levels. On the output is an ‘auto’ button. This option automatically compensates for any volume changes caused by any boosts or cuts to eq meaning no changes to volume level.

The main part of the display highlights how this plugin works differently to many other EQs because it is based on the ‘Mel’ scale which are preset values based on the critical bands of human hearing. Although they are fixed in terms of frequency, you have a lot of flexibility because you can skew the weighting of the centre frequency, use any number from 1 up to 26 bands and solo individual bands. Any changes you make triggers the custom mode which enables you to add and remove bands and draw EQ curves. The display shows the chosen number of bands at the bottom with EQ cuts and boosts above. You can select to show input and/or output monitoring for a visual representation of the changes you have made.

The match EQ is a cool feature, you load an audio file into the side chain and EQuivocate listens to the source and matches levels. There’s a scaling option which also features negative values that allow you to invert an EQ profile and new RANGE feature as outlined above.

EQuivocate comes with 69 presets to get you started. These are excellent in their own right and can of course be tweaked to meet your requirements or you can start from scratch. I’m really impressed by how easy and flexible EQuivocate is to use. It handles mixing tasks such as taming low end, adding guitar presence, adding a bass presence or more extreme filtering; equally it can handle mastering tasks such as tightening and brightening. I really like how you can use EQuivocate quite subtly on individual tracks which adds up to a big change to the overall sound or use it for specific filtering effects such as producing a lo-fi sound.

EQuivocate compliments Elevate really well. Both plugins have been developed with the same principles of operation. EQuivocate can easily handle your EQ tasks and Elevate will definitely improve the quality of you finished song / mix.

Elevate
elevate

Elevate is the most advanced mastering plug-in ever created. This unique multi-band limiter, human ear EQ, and powerful audio maximizer will increase the loudness of a mix while maintaining or improving its dynamic perception. It uses intelligent, adaptive technology that responds in real time to music, creating not only the loudest but also the best-sounding master.

Essentially the 1.5 update adds true peak limiting, preventing final masters from clipping during reproduction and ensuring compatibility with all broadcast standards.

Developed by Newfangled Audio, Elevate maintains subtle dynamics and improves the tonal balance of a mix. The adaptive limiter analyzes 26 frequency bands and alters the gain, speed, and transients for each band in real time. This results in a transparent, natural sound — no matter how hard it is pushed.

Elevate like EQuivocate utilizes 26 critical filter bands modeled on the human ear. Each of the bands are spaced to give maximum control over how sound hits the eardrum. Draw curves, solo bands, and manipulate the transient attack for each individual band to bring out instruments such as kick or snare drums.

Elevate uses artificial intelligence algorithms to make it easy to get the best sounds, but users can still get under the hood to access as much precise control as deemed necessary. This includes control over tonal balance and transients inside the final limiting stage. Adaptive algorithms reduce audible artifacts while additional controls provide maximum flexibility with professional results.

Elevate in use

As with the EQuivocate plugin, the GUI has a clean modern look and is easy to use and navigate.

The top section has presets, load/save options, new check for update button and a drop down offering 3 colour schemes. Underneath is an ‘active’ button which switches the effect on and off. There’s also a very handy ‘gain lock’ option, useful when switching presets so you don’t get large volume or value changes. The match level is also useful to boost the dry signal when the plugin is inactive to compare the processed and unprocessed sound with the same amount of gain.

If you’re familiar with EQuivocate, the display will look very similar with the input vu meter on the left and output vu meter on the right of the display, both showing peak and rms levels. On the output is an ‘auto’ button. This option automatically compensates for any volume changes and it is sometimes useful to switch into manual mode so you can hear the changes to your audio.

The three options at the top – input/output, gain reduction and filter bank determine what is shown in the main display. The lower part of the display contains controls for the main parameters and associated sub-modules.

Selecting ‘main parameters’ displays the filter bank, limiter, transient and spectral clipper options. The limiter can use up to 26 bands. These are based on the ‘Mel’ scale which are the critical hearing bands. The gain control lets you set the amount of gain and the speed control acts as a sort of combined attack/release control. These both have adaptive options which means the limiter will act on each individual band. The value for adaptive gain determines how far (in dB) bands can differ from each other. The value for adaptive speed will adapt the setting for each filter band individually reducing artifacts. The ceiling control is the maximum output.

For more control over how the limiter works, there are filter bank, limiter/EQ and transient sub modules. The number of bands chosen for the limiter will determine the number of EQ bands in the filter bank sub-module. When you choose the number of bands, Elevate automatically places them on the Mel scale between the minimum and maximum values. Although they are fixed in terms of frequency, you have a lot of flexibility because you can skew the weighting of the centre frequency, solo individual bands and add or remove bands. Any changes you make triggers the custom mode and if you change the number of bands the limiter setting will be automatically updated.

The limiter/EQ sub-module allows you to adjust the gain for each frequency band and see the relative gain reduction being applied. You can adjust individual bands or draw EQ curves. This will be familiar if you’ve used the EQuivocate EQ plugin.

The transient emphasis can be adjusted from 0% to 100% and the adaptive control enables the transient shaper to work on each individual band. Clicking on the transient sub-module enables greater manual control over each band.

The spectral clipper is designed to clip the fast transients which pass through the transient emphasis section but also allows you to add up to 12dB of distortion based gain. Elevate applies this according to the shape curve shown on the clipper sub-module.

Elevate comes with 55 presets to get you started. Some of these are excellent in their own right but are more useful as a starting point to tweak to your own requirements or you can start from scratch.

Elevate is a fantastic plugin, it has an extremely impressive sound and despite the internal complexities is easy to get to grips with. When I started using Elevate I wasn’t sure if it would suit my ambient / downtempo style of music because some of the presets produced a very loud resulting sound. This just highlights why you can’t rely on presets, spending a little time to get to grips with Elevate, I quickly found a more suitable preset that I tweaked to meet my requirements. I’ve since been using a setting of 10 bands, adjusting the EQ and transients to suit the particular sound of the song. I also pay particular attention to the settings of the clipper because this can produce anywhere between a soft and rather aggressive sound. I use Elevate to master pretty much everything which shows how impressive the results are.

Another excellent feature of the 1.5 update is that the clipper and transient emphasis modules in Elevate are now also available as separate plugins so that you can apply these effects to specific tracks

Saturate

saturate

Saturate is a spectral clipper plug-in, useful for mixing or mastering. As such, it adds up to 24dB of drive with a variable CLIPPER SHAPE parameter that moves from a pleasant soft curve to full hard clipping. Unique spectral processing maintains the tonal balance of the distorted signal, no matter how hard it is pushed. Saturate automatically compensates output level based on the DRIVE control or, alternatively, allows this to be controlled manually.

Punctuate

punctuate

Punctuate is a transient emphasis plugin also useful for mixing or mastering. Musically speaking, it offers up to 26 auditory bands of TRANSIENT EMPHASIS or suppression while its unique ADAPTIVE TRANSIENT and ADAPTIVE LENGTH controls allow algorithms to tailor each band’s transient shaper to what the listener’s ear wants to hear. Helpfully, customizable parameters for each band also allow users to tweak the result, if needed.

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