Audified have introduced DW Drum Enhancer, an all-in-one drum processing plug-in evolved in close collaboration with DWe (DW Electronics), an acclaimed brand belonging to family-owned American professional drums, pedals, and hardware manufacturer Drum Workshop, Inc. (DW®). It is designed to enable users to significantly speed up their work with wonderful results workable within seconds, thanks to carefully-crafted combinations of parameters provided by a true doyen of DW® content, Chris Denogean.
DW Drum Enhancer is available to purchase as a multi-format plugin – AAX, AU, VST2 and VST3 in both 32 & 64 bit versions. It is available directly from Audified’s online shop typically priced at $199.00 USD. A fully functional 30 day demo is also available.
Arising as a result of a creative combination of Audified’s tried-and-tested technology and acknowledged DW® know-how, DW Drum Enhancer is billed as being the only drum processing tool that anyone would ever need to get the drum sound of their dreams, designed to process the basic drum sound spectrum.
DW Drum Enhancer is not simply one effect, it includes several EQs and compressors. The 12 position selector allows you to choose desired drum settings – snare, kick or toms each with three variations – modern, heavy and vintage. The other positions are for overheads (OH), Bus for mixing and room for processing whole drum kits recorded with 2 microphones.
Each selection automatically applies appropriate settings, such as EQ type, slope, and frequency; Compressor type, attack, release, and knee shape; noise Gate attack and release, and sidechain filter. This makes for a speedy, straightforward workflow while also allowing for further fine-tuning through the use of easily accessible additional controls courtesy of a stunningly-photorealistic GUI (Graphical User Interface) that’s as easy on the eye as it is easy to use.
This is a superb effect. I love how results are instant using the presets which you can then fine-tune as required. It can add presence, depth, saturation as well as clean up sounds. It’s also very versatile, you can use it on individual kick / snare / tom tracks or it will just as happily work in a mix or on a master track.
I’ve used it on the first three tracks on the album entanglement embedded above. I used drum loops from Zenhiser’s Anodyne Techno sample pack. The tape crunch and vintage presets were selected and sounded great, adding depth and presence. Initially I didn’t tweak these but as I progressed adding effects and mixing with Black Rooster Audio plugins I removed some of the low end so that the drums sat better in the mix.
It is designed to be preset driven and has intelligent controls adjusting effects for each setting. This means that the available controls are more limited and you usually will need to tweak them so that you don’t overuse or over process.
It’s an ideal effect for very quickly applying drum effects and tweaking them with minimal controls. If you’re looking for highly customisable settings then this isn’t really the effect you’re looking for, you’d be better off with an effects chain with a number of separate units that you can adjust as required. And that’s really the point with this effect, it streamlines the process for when you don’t want or need that level of control but rather want great sounding drums quickly.
One point I would make is the pricing puts this in the realms of those other mixing / mastering tools that give more flexibility and customisation options such as the Elevate / EQuivocate bundle by Newfangled Audio / Eventide ($199); Neutron 2 standard by iZotope (£249); Ultrachannel by Eventide ($249); a combination of EQs, Compressors and vintage levelling amplifiers by Black Rooster Audio or the bx console_E, bx console_N or bx console_G by PluginAlliance (£299). I’ve reviewed most of these on my blog and each of them offers something different and as with any of these plugins, it’s a case of choosing the one which suits your requirements best.
The GUI has a very clean minimal feel and is laid out to enable a very quick workflow.
On the left hand side of the display is the level input, gate mode which has hard and soft modes, phase inversion and a threshold control, the 12 position selector switch and compressor with 3 parameters of threshold, mix and make-up gain. The display at the bottom shows which parameter is being changed. The effects are turned on/off by clicking the oval button labelled gate or comp and when selected, the button and associated controls glow red.
The central part of the display is an excellent design feature, it’s the power on/off and has a cool valve look with authentic fade in / out.
The right hand side of the display has a 3 band EQ, filters, 5 tube settings and a saturation control. The VU meters and output control are in the top right and the presets can be accessed at the bottom of this section.
There are a range of presets for each of the different settings – bus, kick, overheads, snare, toms and room. These give really good results in themselves and of course can be fine tuned to your requirements.