Category Archives: Uncategorized

A classification of digital equalizers (draft)

Okay, this is my first try to make some kind of classification of digital equalizers. It’s mostly based on some defects or features they have in their responses. These defects or features give digital equalizers their unique sound. Sometimes they sound “digital” in bad meaning of this word (i.e. “harsh”) but the other side of digital sound is clean, pristine and maybe too cold sometimes. I don’t have much time to make this classification really glossy so it’s some kind of a draft.

In my opinion there’re 7 main properties of digital equalizers, which affect their sound:

  1. Frequency response behavior near Nyquist frequency
  2. Phase response behavior near Nyquist frequency
  3. Frequency response ringing
  4. Types of Curves
  5. Time domain response
  6. Saturation
  7. Noise

Now I’m going to try to illustrate possible cases for each property by some images mostly created by VST Plugin Analyzer. All pictures were created at 44.1 kHz sample rate. Also I do not mention real plugin names used.

1. Frequency Response Behavior Near Nyquist Frequency

1-a) “Cramping”

Check this picture. There’s a typical 1 kHz peaking curve. Also I shifted this curve using copy and paste in an image editor to show how it’d look for 10 kHz.

Symmetric bell curves

Now if someone has implemented cool EQ using equations from “Cookbook formulae for audio EQ biquad filter coefficients” by Robert Bristow-Johnson (RBJ) the curve at 10 kHz could have this kind of a look:


So you can see the right side of the bell shape is distorted. Well it sounds like high Q harsh boost. There’re ways to mathematically match Q at 10 kHz with Q at 1 kHz but the shape distortion remains and such distortion has its own “digital” sound.

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SlickEQ more tips & tricks

Check also tips & tricks by Herbert <http://varietyofsound.wordpress.com/2014/07/07/tipstricks-with-slickeq/>

Part 1. SlickEQ free version

1.1. Listen to your favorite music through SlickEQ

SlickEQ is good enough to be used as hi-fi equalizer. On Windows you can use <George Yohng’s VST Wrapper for Foobar2000 player> to listen to your favorite music through it!


  1. Set output level to -3 dB to prevent clipping
  2. Set “calibrate” to 0 dB to leave harmonics added at the edge of hearing threshold
  3. Don’t over-EQ the music. Keep gain values below 3 dB.


1.2. Save your CPU cycles when mixing!

SlickEQ is a bit CPU heavy. We performed optimizations for Sandy Bridge architecture but for modern energy saver simplified CPUs in thin notebooks or for old CPUs the CPU load may be too high.


  1. Turn EQ Sat off and set Out Stage to Linear. If non-linear processing is not used, SlickEQ may consume 3 times less CPU cycles! If you already have some saturation on a track you may choose to turn off the saturation in SlickEQ.
  2. Turn stereo mode to “Mono” if you’re processing a mono audio signal. In this case SlickEQ will consume 2 times less CPU cycles! NOTE: some DAWs report that they have a mono track and in this case stereo mode button is grayed and SlickEQ operates in mono mode automatically.

Save CPU cycles when using SlickEQ

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25th of August is the last day of voting for KVR Developer Challenge 2014


Launch:  April 2014
Deadline:  July 31st
Voting:  Aug 1st-25th
Winners Announced:  August 26th
Please give some points to developers, they have earned it! KVR registration is needed but it’s free.
If you don’t have your time to check all entries, vote for GUI, vote for an original idea or just vote for guys you know 🙂

Limiter No6 update 1.0.2b and ENV1 skin

If you experienced problems with high CPU load on Reaper and AU version crashes on Logic X, please update your version to 1.0.2b:

2014-08-25: v1.0.2b:
– Fixed CPU issues with Reaper
– Fixed possible crash in Logic

[Windows VST 32/64-bit (GUI#1 & GUI#2)]

[Mac VST/AU GUI#1]   [Mac VST/AU GUI#2]


Also please check this cool skin by ENV1:


[Limiter No6 Windows VST 32/64-bit with ENV1 skin]

[Limiter No6 Mac VST/AU with ENV1 skin]

KVR thread: http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=413380


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Red Rock Sound C1-L1 official explanation (for Propellerhead Reason users only)

I’m getting dozens of e-mails asking me about Red Rock Sound C1-L1 Propellerhead Reason rack extension plug-in. I want to answer these questions here. 

1. I’m not related with Red Rock Sound and I don’t work for them. So I can’t make any statements about their pricing policy, the product quality, stability and customer’s support.

2. Red Rock Sound use Molot sound engine from my permission. Molot sound engine was given for fee and with terms of usage.

3. Molot sound engine given to Red Rock Sound was matched to version 0.3.1 of Molot compressor but lacks of linear phase oversampling.

4. The GUI of “C1-L1” is not a copy of Molot GUI but they both use the similar style of Soviet military equipment. Both authors are Russian guys and we both like such kind of look and feel, which is not prohibited. Also both plug-ins use the same voltmeter model for VU meter.

5. Authors from Red Rocks Sound are working on re-writing the manual, which was very similar to Molot one.

6. I didn’t have and don’t have plans to make Reason rack extension version of Molot plug-in. Also I don’t have plans to release commercial version of Molot.

Thus, Red Rock Sound C1-L1 is “based” on Molot compressor but is not the copy of it.

Some screenshots below:

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I have my logo

Thanks a lot for all who helped me! I promised to provide my logo for pluginboutique.com at monday, but all who can help me are out for their vacations! So I was a bit in a trouble because I’m not a designer as you can see…

Thanks Peter, Fabien, R.R. Chon and Lee Maslankowski! You’re great!

This is my choice:

(logo by Lee Maslankowski)

PS. BTW, I’ve got an answer from Avid!

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Photorealistic GUI: is it good or bad?

Last few days I was thinking about the GUI concept. Also I watched a hundred of plugins screenshots and tried to analyze: why do a lot of people dislike photorealistic GUIs for audio plugins?

In short, I found that a lot of photorealistic GUIs in terms of ergonomics has the next 3 problems:

  1. Glare: All surfaces are polished and looks like very powerful floodlight projectors are behind operator’s back. Glares are even lighter than text labels. To concentrate on parameters the brain starts to ignore glares and soon gets fatigue. In real life the surfaces of devices for serious work are dull, opaque, frosted. No glares. Also the light should be soft if you want to work several hours without burning your eyes.
  2. Perspective distortions: I don’t know either it’s wrong visual angle setup or lens simulation but surfaces and knobs are crooked. When I work with real hardware device I know it’s really straight. But on the screen it doesn’t look straight. The brain starts to compensate this distortion and gets fatigue. I think the right way is to use isometric projection instead of perspective one.
  3. Labels font size: If the modelled hardware on the screen were 1:1 scale it should be OK. But the hardware size in plugins is smaller than original. It causes for text labels to be hardly recognizable. I think the right way is to enlarge them a little. It’ll get a little “cartoon-like” look but it’ll be very convenient to work with.

And also GUIs either photorealistic or non-photorealistic often have problems with color scheme choosen, controls layout and fonts used. I mean you can make a bad GUI regardless either it photorealistic or not. 🙂

After hundreds of screenshots I found the best GUIs for my taste (never worked with these plugins though):

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New limiter plugin public alpha version is almost ready

Today I did version for Mac OS X. Only couple of bugs left to fix. So the public alpha version soon will be available!

Check this screenshot ^^

Wow! This blog has more than 100000 views

Not a million but anyway it’s cool because I did nothing to promote it.

There’re top referrers:

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