ProAudioDSP DSM V3 Native Plugin by horriblemind
I am honestly amazed by how versatile this plugin is and how good it sounds. It almost feels like cheating, because it single-handedly does things for which I had to use 2-3 separate plugins before. Also, to my ears it sounds a lot nicer than many other spectral dynamic plugins I’ve used before, even those which are more surgical in terms of cutting very specific frequencies and resonances.
The way frequency range is set in this plugin is kind of opposite to a regular plugin frequency range. Usually it is very detailed in lows and mids and as you go higher it gets narrower. Here it is narrow in lows and mids but gets very detailed in upper mids and highs.
Here are some examples of using ProAudioDSP DSM in my workflow:
- To smoothen out dynamic and resonant instruments
Suppose there is a saxophone track in a very dense mix. Since it's a very dynamic instrument it peaks here and there across different frequency ranges, so to smoothen it out a regular EQ and compressor won't work, because sharp cutting or compressing in one section of the song might negatively affect other sections. Put this plugin on it, choose a preset or capture a curve from your favorite track, or manually set the compression curve, set attack/release/other settings to taste and marvel at the fact that you might not need any other processing on this instrument.
- As de-esser
Put it on a vocal track with harsh “esses”, choose a de-esser preset or set the curve and other settings manually. This plugin is capable of removing harshness without touching other frequencies and without making vocals sound dull, as opposed to a standard one band de-esser which dips the entire frequency range above the set point. I put it on a vocal track which was recorded on a cheap cndenser microphone into a 16-bit audio interface in a poorly treated room. There were terrible “esses” which I could not deal with using any other de-esser or spectral dynamics plugins. DSM with a de-esser preset dealt with those in seconds. I could not believe how smooth it sounded, and it only dealt with these nasty resonances without touching any other important frequencies, above or below, so the vocal was not sounding any darker. I can confidently say that DSM is the best de-esser I’ve tried so far.
- For mixbus processing
Again, you can capture a reference curve and apply it to your mixbus, or set parameters manually, or browse through presets (which I find quite useful for this task, especially tape presets). I tried it on one of the projects in which I removed 2 or 3 plugins (doing compression, equalization, subtle saturation and limiting) from my mixbus and replaced them with a single instance of ProAudioDSP DSM. Then I applied a tape preset and set controls (threshold, attack, release, output gain) to taste. The result exceeded my expectations, the mix sounded better than with those 3 separate plugins, each doing specific task it was designed to!
Overall, it’s one of the best plugins I’ve tried in years.