Introduction to Smart Operation in Nova GE and SlickEQ

Introduction to Smart Operation in Nova GE and SlickEQ

Hi, and welcome to this
introduction to Smart Ops The smart EQing assistant included
in Tokyo Dawn Lab’s EQ plugins Smart Ops can be found in the Gentleman’s
Editions of Slick EQ and NOVA and in Slick EQ M The basic operation is
the same in each case but the details vary according to the differing
capabilities of each of the plugins. Lets start with Slick EQ GE and open the Smart Ops panel with the
button at the top of the interface the first thing your assistant needs
to do is listen to the source signal so lets press the Learn button
and listen along with it… You can stop
learning at any time but a “low variance” message will pop
up once its settled down and stabilized and we now have options in
the Operation menu below: the simplest of these is
auto high pass and low pass we can now enable the highpass
or lowpass filter bands which are automatically set
to remove out of band content without affecting
the wanted audio. Lets try something more complex
however, and choose Deresonate instead this identifies the most likely resonances, looking for strong narrow partials
that don’t move around much, and might represent room
resonances or wolf notes and sets the EQ filters to
notch them out for you. Just like a human assistant, the Smart Ops can benefit from
some supervision and guidance: we can restrict the frequency
range we’re addressing, perhaps to focus on
resonances in the midrange and the EQ filters will reconfigure
themselves accordingly. We can also control the Range,
which is like a strength control turning this up might just cut
the same frequencies further or it might make more
profound changes including switching
the EQ model. You can also apply
negative Range if you want to boost the resonances instead which can sometimes help to exaggerate
the characteristics of a part and make it stand out better in a mix. Each of the three available bands
can be enabled or disabled below but notice that when you do so
the remaining bands might change if you want to enable or
disable individual bands without affecting the
settings of the other bands, click Apply at the bottom these settings now replace
whatever previous settings you had and you can tweak them in the usual way. If we do the same in Slick EQ M we now have up to six
bands of cut available these might shift around or change in width as I adjust
the parameters or disable bands and again, once I get close
I can apply the settings and then refine them
in the usual way. NOVA Gentleman’s Edition also
has up to six bands available but these can be much narrower and more
surgical than the other two EQ plugins so this is the great choice when you
need to tackle very narrow resonances at very specific frequencies. But notice that NOVA calls
this option “Static Deresonate” to help distinguish it from
the “Dynamic Deresonate” option which is only available in NOVA. Now those resonances are
removed dynamically only when they
become too prominent which can be a very powerful way to
clean up problematic recordings. Interesting things can also happen if you turn the Range knob
down into negative values in this case I like what its
doing to the snare drum but our Smart Ops assistant
lacks the human judgement to realise that the boosts in the
vocal range are totally inappropriate so I’ll hit apply and take
over from here manually. For a completely different
approach to dynamics processing you could try Generate Multiband instead now we get complex
multiband compression with each band set to a
different important frequency. Again, we can turn off bands
and simplify the results but notice the Wideband
is enabled by default this covers everything thats
not in any of the other bands and is NOVAs most
unique feature. With the Wideband enabled you’re always compressing
the entire frequency range no matter how few EQ
bands are enabled with no EQ bands enabled we
just get full range compression if I enable just one EQ band that will be set to the
most dynamic frequency band while the Wideband still
covers everything else and as I add more EQ bands, the Wideband becomes more complex,
and covers less of the spectrum If you turn the Wideband off you’ll get more conventional
multiband compression, with nothing happening in between bands. Note that when you’ve
applied these settings you can select multiple
EQ bands together and tweak their dynamics
parameters at the same time making it very quick and easy
to perfect your settings. Ok, I’ll stick with NOVA
for the next example lets break the fourth wall and imagine that for some reason I had
to switch to a different microphone halfway through
recording my voice over and I now need to
EQ them to match. Lets start by learning the sound
of the original microphone just as I did before when its ready I’ll hit stop, and then switch to another instance
loaded on the other microphone track. Notice the little button to
the right of the Learn button lights up if multiple
instances are detected pressing this allows us to choose
whether to learn just this instance or specific other
instances as well or all instances but in this case I’ll stick
to learning just this one and while its learning I can
load a reference response in this case I want the one I just
learned in the other instance of NOVA. NOVA uses the track name
to name the instance but you can right click on
an instance to rename it in case you’re running more
than one instance per track, Now we have the learned frequency
response of both microphones and I can use the Static Match
function to compare them and generate a
corrective EQ curve I’ll limit the frequency
range to that of my voice and as this is the optimal use
case for this kind of feature I’ll try the Range control
all the way up at 100% and this microphone now
sounds a lot more like this microphone
that I started on. Matching can also be done
with full mixes of course this is perhaps what people
most associate the feature with Here’s Slick EQ GE again,
learning a full mix once you’ve learnt the
frequency response you can save it as a
reference for future use but in this case I want to load a different
reference to compare with this mix so I’ll load a
reference from a file this could be a frequency
response that I saved earlier or it could simply be a wav file which Smart Ops will then
analyse in its entirety in this case I’ve chosen a file thats
already mastered and at release levels and you can clearly see that
the reference is a lot louder than the learned
frequency response but matching the overall
loudness is a separate option off by default so this doesn’t really matter More importantly, the reference is
another mix from the same artist which perhaps makes it more
likely to be a good fit. In truth EQ matching full mixes
can be a little hit and miss the spectral shape
that works for one mix may not work at all for another
with a different arrangement Even a change of key can make
a significant difference. So it pays to choose the
reference carefully using the best sounding
mix of the album as a reference for the
other songs on that album is probably more likely to work well
than using a totally unrelated mix. Even so, in this case you’ll
nearly always want to keep Range control set much lower with perhaps just one exception if I turn off all three
of the EQ bands below and match using just
the Tilt filter I can now turn the Range up much further
before I start to do any damage. The Tilt filter is interesting in
that it can create gentle smile or frown curve shapes as well as linear tilts
from left to right so this is a great way to very gently match
the overall balance of low to mid to high without changing the fundamental
character of the mix. We can do something
similar in Slick EQ M if I turn off all six EQ bands and match
using only the special centre band but this band provides Equal
Loudness or Hardness curves as well as the
Brightness linear tilt and Smart Ops will choose whichever
type seems the best fit. Alternatively I could
enable the EQ bands instead and create match settings that
also take account of panning and / or width for
the different bands and now smart ops will also set the panning
and width parameters below each band to match the stereo
wideness of the reference. Note that the settings you create
with Smart Ops are all provisional until you hit Apply tweaking the EQ settings will close the
Smart Ops panel as if you cancelled out but don’t worry if you do that by
mistake, just open Smart Ops again and you’ll be back
where you left off. On the other hand, if you
close the plugin interface or save and exit the session Smart Ops will conclude that
you were happy with the sound but forgot to hit Apply, so will do that for you and the Smart Ops settings will
replace your old settings. Ok lets switch back to NOVA GE, and try the Dynamic
Match feature this uses NOVA’s
dynamic EQing features to match the dynamics to
the reference as well compressing or expanding different
frequency bands as needed. This is an incredibly
powerful feature that could potentially
do a much better job of matching your mix
to the reference but could equally be even more
profoundly wrong than the static match when using an
inappropriate reference There are no tilt filters or
special centre band in NOVA but we do have the Wideband as with the multiband setting, this is everything thats not
covered by one of the other bands enabling or disabling
the Wideband can have a profound effect on
the resulting EQ settings. Ok, last example this one is available
in all three EQ plugins I’ll learn the input as usual but instead of picking a reference
file or analysing a wav I’ll choose Pink Noise Pink noise is like white noise but filtered so that the high frequencies
are lower in level than low frequencies and if you ignore the very
lowest and highest frequencies it serves as a useful average
response for most music mixes. Matching to pink noise
might be a good strategy when you don’t have an appropriate
reference mix to compare to and will give much better results than
trying to match to an unsuitable reference now we’re boosting frequencies that seem
quiet compared to the rest of the mix and vice versa without reference to
any specific other mix but again you’ll usually
get the best results with the Range control
set relatively low to nudge it gently
closer to the target And you have to use your
ears to judge this of course as clever as the Smart
Ops algorithms are they lack the cultural knowledge or the
emotional responses of a real human being and will always
need some guidance. Thats all for now Thanks for watching.

13 thoughts on “Introduction to Smart Operation in Nova GE and SlickEQ

  1. I have found the pink noise matching to be quite useful. I generally don't have target mixes so it helps me see stuff I am missing due to my initial perception of the mix especially after listening to the track I have been working on for a while. Not the ear tired kind of thing, but more of how my perception of what is good is sometimes colored by a focus on certain parts of the track.

  2. My slick eq ge download zip file for latest update has error now. both installer/no installer version. i can't open my zip file any zip programs like 7 zip.

  3. So i guess it's pretty interesting to buy Nova-ge instead of my current free-one. I love the Slick eq-m-ge already:), but not the cpu-usage:(

  4. Thank you for showing this wonderful features of the already wonderful plugins from TDR. They make such good plugins for such good prices. I learned something new. Thank you 🙂

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