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Using Transient Processors | Audio Examples

Hear For Yourself By Mike Senior
Published June 2023

These audio files accompany my 'Using Transient Processors' workshop in SOS June 2023 issue, and feature transient processing from the cross-platform freeware Kilohearts Transient Shaper plug-in. You can find a download link for this plug-in, and a selection of other transient-processing recommendations, at along with video demonstrations of the parallel-processing techniques mentioned in the article.

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Download the ZIP file above of 24-bit WAV files to audition in your own DAW.


A snare-drum sample without any transient processing, with a peak level of -9.1dBFS.


Here I've used transient processing to boost the snare drum's attack, but have then limited the peak level back to -9.1dBFS. If you compare this example with the tp_01_LimitClip01_SnareRaw file, you'll hear that the limiting doesn't entirely cancel out the subjective transient enhancement, even though the peak level of the two files is identical.


Here I've used transient processing to boost the snare drum's attack as before, but this time I've used clipping rather than limiting to maintain a -9.1dBFS peak level. If you compare this example with the tp_01_LimitClip02_SnareTransBoostLimit file, you'll hear that the clipped file feels more obviously transient enhanced than the limited one, albeit with some change in the transient tone.


A kick-drum sample without any transient processing.


The kick-drum sample with its attack boosted using transient processing with a fast Speed setting. Notice how the added attack feels quite spiky and emphasises the upper frequency spectrum.


Here I've boosted the attack of the kick drum sample with the same amount of transient processing, but have used a slow Speed setting instead, and you can hear how it has much more low-end weight than the fast Speed setting I demonstrated in the tp_02_EnvelopeSpeed02_KickBoostFast file.


If I use transient processing to cut attack from the kick drum, rather than boost it, a fast Speed setting does an effective job of removing the drum's upper-spectrum 'beater click'.


Using a slow Speed setting for the same amount of attack-reduction, the transient processing doesn't do nearly as good a job of softening the drum's 'beater click', which I find usually makes it less useful for mixdown purposes.


Here's another kick drum sample without any transient processing. It has a good deal of subbass, and plenty of upper-spectrum definition, but lacks a sense of power because of a lack of attack in the low spectrum.


Applying transient boost with a traditional insert processor overemphasises the drum's upper-spectrum attack without substantially improving the lower-spectrum attack, even though I've processing with a slower Speed setting.


An alternative approach is to use the transient processor as a send effect (ie. in a parallel-processing configuration) and then low-pass filter it to focus its attack enhancement into the low spectrum, so that the effect-return channel sounds like this in isolation.


By mixing in the EQ'd parallel transient-processing channel showcased in the tp_03_ParaTrans03_KickParaTransBoostSolo file, with the unprocessed kick-drum sample, I'm now able to boost the drum's low-end attack without making its upper-spectrum transient overbearing.