The Transient Designer is a whole new dynamic tool. It allows you to re-shape the transient response and the envelope curve of any audio signal with just knobs: Attack & Sustain.
With no effort you can accelerate or slow down attack and prolong or shorten sustain portions of all kinds of percussive signals, such as bass drum, snares, toms, congas, etc. Let them jump into your face or flatten them with a turn of a single knob. Booming toms for example are dried up in seconds — it’s almost like being able to change the amount of drum damping after the recording. Your idea of a kick drum sound is a kick drum in the words best sense? Just dial it in.
The Transient Designer provides a revolutionary concept for dynamic processing rendering controls such as Threshold, Ratio and Gain superfluous. The Transient Designer provides a very elaborated automation, so while the processing going on inside the box may be very complex, the user has to deal with just a pair of intuitive controls.
In nearly every aspect the Transient Designer is different from conventional dynamic processors such as compressors. You don't need to know how the Transient Designer works in order to be able to use it effectively, but if you're at all curious as to what goes on inside the box ... read this.
SPL's Differential Envelope Technology is the first analog solution for level-independent shaping of envelopes allowing transients to be accelerated or slowed down and sustain prolonged or shortened. The degree of dynamic processing required to do this couldn't be duplicated even using a chain of several conventional compressors, yet only two controls per channel are required to allow the user to completely reshape the attack and sustain characteristics of a sound. Attack can be amplified or attenuated by up to 15dB while Sustain can be amplified or attenuated by up to 24dB, enabling weak drum sounds to be made much more percussive and powerful, or for over-percussive transients to be softened. All necessary time constants (Attack, Decay and Release) are automated and optimised adaptively in a musical manner according to the characteristics of the input signal. This results in natural sounding signal processing and fast operation.
DET maintains identical envelope processing from quiet to loud signals without the need to adjust any external parameters. In a conventional compressor system for example, low level signals (underneath a threshold setting) would be excluded from processing. Both DET parameters (Attack and Sustain) work in parallel and do not influence each other.
The Transient Designer uses envelope followers to track the curve of the natural signal so that optimum results are guaranteed regardless of the input signal's dynamics. Because of the level-independent processing inherent in Differential Envelope Technology (DET), manual threshold adjustments are not required.
Further information can be found in the Tech Talk PDF (right column or below)
One of the most interesting applications of the Transient Designer is processing drum and percussion sounds, both from samples to live drum sets:
Used for processing guitar sounds, the Transient Designer softens the instrument by lowering the attack. Alternatively, increasing the attack lets the sound jump to the front of the mix, which works particularly well for picking guitars.
Highly distorted electric guitars are already highly compressed, leaving them with minimal dynamic range. This can obscure the note attacks, but increasing the attack setting clarifies the individual notes. High distortion also prolongs the sustain, broadening the sound. Reducing the sustain setting counteracts those effects.
Increasing the sustain period of miked acoustic guitars produces clearer audible stereophonic sounds. Reducing the sustain value can help dry up the sound.
When recording choirs, the effect of too much 'ambience' can be reduced by using a lower sustain setting.
Reversely, not enough room can be added by turning up the Sustain control.
Frequently keyboard and sample sounds are intensively compressed leaving little of their original dynamic range. Increasing the attack brings back the natural dynamics so the sounds need less space in the mix and are easier to pick out, even at lower levels. With the help of the Transient Designer 'budget' drum machines can provide sounds and grooves that sound far more powerful and dynamic than the original untreated sounds.
Effect sounds and sample libraries benefit from more punch and more power useful when working on TV commercials or movie soundtracks. 'Out door' recordings often suffer from poor microphone positioning. The Transient Designer can help create the effect of re-positioning the mics during the mix.
However, like any good thing, you have to know where not to use it. For example, use in mastering is not recommended as it's rarely a good idea to treat a whole mix at once. Instead, treat individual elements within the mix.
Nevertheless, we have been noted by our customers that a little less sustain and a little more attack can effecively tighten a mix.