Prismatic Compressor & Mastering Limiter
We Promise to Keep Your Mixes Alive
The DSM V2 has many exciting spectral compression capabilities – we'll get to those soon – but there is something very important we'd like to say first. It's a life-and-death matter.
Once the transients in your track have been crushed by an audio processor, they are gone forever. You'll never get the original life and energy back, no matter what. Plugins that operate on frequency bands are notorious for this.
However, the DSM V2 keeps the transients intact, thanks to highly accurate time-domain envelope processing. We engineered it that way from the ground-up, because it matters even more than the number of frequency bands.
No Unwanted Tonal Shifts
The missing dimension in all conventional compressors is spectral and dynamic information about the audio programme. The DSM V2 compresses to a spectral threshold derived from the track being processed, or any other reference track.
In one second flat, the DSM V2 does a remarkable job of setting the compression threshold for each band, and this avoids unwanted tonal changes. The DSM V2 truly takes the guesswork out of multiband compression.
Capture Immediate Results
We'll now take a step=by-step tour through the main features of the DSM V2, starting with the advanced Capture System.
The Capture System is the heart of the DSM V2.
During audio playback, press the Capture button once to capture the spectrum, or press and hold to capture an average spectrum over time.
The resulting Threshold Curve is the threshold for the Prismatic Compressor. The compression threshold for each band gets set, without guesswork.
Effortless Natural-Sounding Compression
Because the Threshold Curve is obtained directly from the audio programme, the DSM V2 always compresses to a natural and believable frequency spectrum.
This means the DSM V2 can sympathetically handle programme over a very wide dynamic range, without many of the usual compression artefacts. Even large percussive events, which badly defeat conventional compressors, are handled with aplomb.
Progressive Spectrum Mapping
Like all compressors, when the signal exceeds the threshold, gain reduction is progressively applied. But because the threshold in the DSM V2 is a spectrum (the Threshold Curve), as the signal exceeds it, the spectral response becomes more strongly imprinted.
The Parametric Threshold is not an EQ, but rather it superimposes an EQ-style frequency response onto the Threshold Curve, to which the programme is then compressed as usual. The Parametric Threshold is non-destructive, so you can experiment freely on your Threshold Curve presets, or, starting from the white or pink spectrum presets, construct a Threshold Curve from scratch.
Capture — Modify — Apply
Many creative compression possibilities can be rapidly explored with the DSM V2 using the following 3-step workflow. We'll assume you have two tracks to hand, Track A and Track B:
1. Capture. Whilst playing Track A, capture a Threshold Curve.
2. Modify. Use the Parametric Threshold to optionally modify the Threshold Curve in a flexible, non-destructive way.
3. Apply. Now simply play Track B: The spectral response from Track A is impressed upon Track B, but in a more dynamic, musical and expressive way than merely using fixed equalisation.
The DSM V2 squarely addresses the pivotal role of frequency response on perceived loudness. For example, capturing from a bright-sounding passage and applying that Threshold Curve to the whole track will confer a forward, in-your-face quality, but without excessive compression. A psychoacoustically engineered approach to loudness maximisation is now possible.
Vocals and De-essing
Due to the internal fixed frequency band arrangement, which naturally provides more bands of processing in the mid and upper ranges, the DSM V2 is particularly well suited to vocals. In particular, it's a smart tool for de-essing.
Simply capture a Threshold Curve from a good part of the performance without any "essing", and adjust the overall Threshold level until the sibilance is supressed.
This is a holistic approach to the problem, rather than the conventional way of attempting to surgically cut out the offending frequencies by trial-and-error.
Multi-Dimensional Capture (Advanced Users)
There is more to the DSM V2 Capture System than simply taking a snapshot of the spectrum. More advanced users will benefit from understanding how the Threshold Curve can be "tuned" to the programme dynamics, and thus gain even greater creative control over the compression.
The key point is that the displayed spectra are pre-processed by the timing parameters, namely, Attack, Decay and Timing Profile, and this directly influences the Threshold Curve whenever the Capture button is pressed.
For example, with slow Attack and fast Decay, the Threshold Curve will tend to represent the steady-state background spectrum and ignore transient peak information. The other extreme, fast Attack and slow Decay, will add transient spectral information to the Threshold Curve, which could be useful if you just want to compress the peaks.
In a sense, leaving the timing parameters untouched after capturing a Threshold Curve will provide a natural match between the Threshold Curve and the compression action.
However, it's worth pointing out that once a Threshold Curve has been obtained, you are free to choose entirely different timing parameters for the compression itself. Only the DSM V2 can offer this type of multi-dimensional creative control.
The Dry / Wet control offers a balance between the processed and original programme, providing an easy way to achieve parallel compression.
Mastering Limiter - Transparent Below -1dBFS
Additionally, the DSM V2 features a single-button Limiter of mastering-grade quality. The Limiter has been optimised to work seamlessly with the Prismatic Compressr, and allows short-term peak events in the programme to exceed maximum peak modulation levels without causing overs or loss of impact.
The DSM V2 Mastering Limiter boasts complete transparency for levels below -1dBFS.
The post-limiter Gain Out trim control is provided so that headroom can be maintained without the need for an additional gain plugin.
Creative Tool and Problem Solver
In summary, and without going into all the techniques in this quick overview, exemplary results in lightning-fast time can be achieved for all the following common tasks:-
- Loudness enhancement.
- Continuity matching.
- Vocal timbre treatment.
- Character mapping between whole mixes, tracks, vocals & instruments.
- Sound character control for broadcast playout.
- Microphone proximity correction in video or film production.
- Improving difficult outside broadcast situations in post-production.
The Bottom Line
The DSM V2 eliminates the guesswork in multiband compression and de-essing, thanks to a ground-breaking Capture System that uses both spectral and dynamic information to construct a Threshold Curve uniquely tailored to the programme.
The ability to capture a Threshold Curve from any reference source opens up the intriguing possibility of extracting the "gold" from one track and applying it to another. Working with the DSM V2 in this way is characterised by intuition and speed of results.
Watch the Introduction to the DSM V2, narrated by its designer, Paul Frindle.