Track extracts from Bigger Than Life, composed and produced by Josh Fields, are used with his kind permission and cooperation.
Guide to Example Audio Files
Because of the large numbers of bands used and compression pre-loading with the captured spectrum of the actual track, the DSM can successfully compress very difficult music over very large dynamic ranges.
The following is an extract from a piece of Latin style music with a great deal of subtle and often explosive percussion event over a very wide dynamic range.
This is the original excerpt:
This is the normally compressed version:
It was obtained by capturing the spectrum during a louder passage and applying it to the whole excerpt, with a full Ratio (100:1), a Threshold of -24dBr and a Gain setting of +24dBr. This will dynamically raise all levels above -24dBr to equal the level of the loud part when it was captured.
This is a maximised version using limiting:
This is the same as the compressed version using the same captured spectrum, but the Limiter has been applied as well and the Threshold has been raised by around 3dB to provide the limiter with excess level. This is a fairly cautious trade off between extra level and distortion.
Of note in these passages is the ability of the DSM to handle large percussive transients without reducing the overall gain of other events in the program or producing any noticeable "suck-outs". This kind of performance for such a difficult piece is beyond the scope of conventional compressors.
Also of note is the ability to compress over wide range of level changes between the very quiet and very much louder passages. At all times the compressed program retains a faithful, believable, and musically acceptable rendition of the original track. On hearing the resulting file alone it is quite hard to notice that it has been compressed so heavily.
Buss Compression and Loudness Enhancement Examples
The unique frequency-domain processing arrangement of the DSM coupled with very high quality compression algorithms and peak limiting methods can provide very significant enhancements to level, presence and brute loudness when used as a master buss limiter. It can also accomplish character modification to complete mixes and continuity between tracks destined for the same album without loss of loudness and impact.
This is the original rough mix:
Fairly minimal track processing was used in this mix - without any buss compression.
This is the mix with compression:
This was obtained by capturing the spectrum of the loudest parts of the track and applying it to all at 100:1 compression.
This is the mix enhanced for loudness:
This was obtained in exactly the same way as the normal version, but the Limiter was applied as well and the threshold increased by around 4dB to provide excess level for the limiter.
This is with a different character applied:
This was obtained by setting up the DSM in the previous manner, but using a heavy rock track as the source, capturing it, and then applying it to the original mix.
This is with a manually built spectrum:
This was made by applying the included pink spectrum setting and modifying it slightly to reduce the harsh 5kHz region.
Of note in the above examples is that the dynamic modification of the frequency spectrum can provide significantly increased loudness and presence, often without the negative artefacts associated with conventional compressor / limiter.
The "Master - Loud" is a simple example of the application of the characteristics of one track to another - and illustrates characterisation and continuity matching for disc mastering purposes.
The limiter section of the DSM can be used to increase density and volume on its own, in the same way as a conventional static limiter.
This is with static limiter only, 3dB boost:
This is with static limiter only, 5dB boost:
These were made by disabling the DSM frequency domain processing (by setting max Threshold, min Ratio and Knee) and raising the gain by 3dB and 5dB to overdrive the limiter section only. This is an example of the degree of boost versus increased distortion in the program when using the limiter on its own with peak overdriving by 3dB and 5dB respectively.
The ability of the DSM to map the character and nuances of vocal tracks onto the tracks themselves or completely different performances, provides a really powerful tool in all kinds of vocal performance control. The fact that the applied compression is based on a spectrum obtained directly from the vocals themselves produces superior results to conventional vocal processors, simply because when action happens the results are audibly and artistically more credible to the ear.
The unique "Capture" function, which captures both level and frequency response in one operation, makes for lightning-fast operation, obtaining results within seconds that in many cases surpasses what could be achieved with combinations of conventional processors, even after ages of effort.
This is the original vocal excerpt:
This is a mix of a lead and two backing vocals.
This is the de-essed vocal excerpt:
This was obtained simply by doing a spectrum capture during around 5 seconds of the vocals track, applying this with a Threshold matching the vocals in general, and using fast Attack and Decay times so that the parts that breached the average spectrum (essing and hissing events) were compressed back to the average captured spectrum. Because the spectrum is taken from the vocals themselves, the results are very natural-sounding - in fact almost as though the sounds were never made by the vocalists in the first place.
This excerpt is the stylised vocals:
This was obtained by capturing the spectrum of a very popular boy band production with powerful vocals and applying it directly to the track, to obtain a similar sound and texture to the vocals.
Sound Modification Examples - Instruments
The DSM has considerable scope in modifying existing sounds for artistic purposes and creativity. The next examples illustrate a taste of what can be done.
This excerpt is the original acoustic guitar:
This excerpt is compressed with the DSM:
This was obtained by capturing the spectrum of the original acoustic guitar and applying it to the whole track with appropriate timings to fill out the sound and increase clarity and sustain:
This excerpt is the stylised acoustic:
This was obtained by applying a spectrum capture from another kind of acoustic flamenco-style guitar and applying it directly to the original steel acoustic track. The original track has taken on some of the responses and spectra of the flamenco guitar. This is an illustration of cross-track DSM application.
Sound Modification Examples - Drums
The DSM can be very effective at tightening up and stylising percussive sounds. The following are with the DSM applied to a complete drum sub mix.
This is the original drum mix:
This is a clean sub mix of the drum and room mics.
This is the drum mix with the DSM:
This was obtained by capturing the drums with a long release setting (to include the spectra of a spread of percussive events) and applying it to the whole track with a much faster release to fill out the sound.
This is with DSM freq/time modifications:
This is the same basic setting as the last one but with the LF attack and HF release controls raised by about 40%. The LF ATT function slows down the LF attack relative to the HF. The HF REL speeds up the HF release relative to the LF. So this setting fattens-out the bass drum by allowing more gain overshoots in the LF region, and it compensates for the increase in LF energy by allowing the HF events to recover more quickly from compression and therefore giving the impression of greater HF content.