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Mastering The Mix ANIMATE review by Audio Plugin Guy

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Four Modules

Once again a plugin creator takes it on themselves to rename common things. Expand is, I guess, expand, exaggerating the differences in volume that go beyond the set threshold in a sort of upward compression. Punch is transient enhancement. Ignite is saturation. Grow is stereo spreading. It would be so much easier to remember what each module does if they were called by names we are already familiar with. Boo! Hiss! This naming convention made it harder than necessary to get a handle on how it all works.

Each of these four modules are threshold dependent. Their defaults start out at 0 dB where guaranteed nothing will happen. This is why I made my own default with all the thresholds pulled all the way down so when I start to bring in the effect something will actually happen. It is critically important to note that only signals above the threshold will be affected, so most of the signal will not be affected when the peak signal is tickling that threshold line. If you want more, usually meaning a more robust sound, you need to pull that threshold down some, maybe a lot, maybe all the way down. That’s why I like to start with the threshold buried and move it up if desired once I’ve found the tone I’m after.

Now what if people call you “The Pumpster” and your tagline is “Pump-o-Mania is running wild!” The whole point of Animate is to increase dynamic range by making things pop out a little more. I will say that at the most extreme setting, 300%, the Expand and Ignite modules will indeed pump your socks off, and it sounds awesome doing that — TURN DOWN YOUR SPEAKERS BEFORE CRANKING IT UP LIKE THAT!

After experimenting with Animate for about a week, I have to lean toward saying that it is much more useful on individual tracks than it is on busses or mastering chains. It is for tone shaping, for helping specific elements pop a little or pump a lot, and ultimately it is a very good sound design tool.

Ratings:

  • Sound Quality 5/5
  • Interface - 4.25/5
  • Manual - 5/5
  • Presets - 5/5
  • Getting good results at first - 2/5
  • Getting good results after a week - 5/5
  • Value for money - 5/5

Pros:

  • Animate can make delicate instruments more expressive and it can turn drum elements into savage pumping machines. 
  • It colors and it extends dynamics, apparently through upward compression. 
  • You get expansion, transient exaggeration and shaping, wonderful saturation, and very nice stereo spreading if you are careful to up it just a little bit. 
  • The four modules run in parallel, and a deft hand can apply different modules to different isolated frequency bands to good effect. 
  • A sound designer will love Animate, and it belongs in many mixing engineer’s arsenal. 
  • Simply put, this kicks ass

Cons:

  • It takes time to learn Animate and make it your own. 
  • The modules are given nebulous names that makes it hard to remember what they do. 
  • The output volume control with it’s lovely little triangle for matching incoming signal level, changes color with each module giving the impression that it is specific to that module when it is actually global — it should have its own color and somehow visually separate from the four modules.

Original Source: Audio Plugin Guy.com

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