Compression is an important processing step in Radio Imaging. I got different compressors in use, but I always keep my eyes open for new stuff. It seems that Waves is on a release marathon and part of that is a dynamic and compression plugin. The plugin is called „emo D5“. Let me give you an overview about this piece.
I like plugin solutions which offer an all in one interface. It helps to keep your desktop clean and all necessary controls and displays can be found in one window.
Emo D5 is such a plugin. It offers 5 different dynamic functions: Gate, Deesser, Leveler, Limiting, Compression.
It comes in a simple black interface without any sign of overload. The compartements are arranged around a display in the mid, which represents your settings and gain reduction. All visual feedback of the single compartements can be viewed here in one place! This helps to monitor how the modules react to the audio material without the need of opening 5 different plugins.
By clicking on the compartement names you can de-/activate the processors.
Can be Toggled between Gate and Expander mode. Mutes audio below the threshold. For example to mute pauses of your vo talent to preserve that the noise is pulled up by driving compression. The key functions let me trigger the gate with different material. There’s also a key filter.
With precise settings, a gate can add a kind of clicky sound. But this needs constant material like a snare or kickdrum, so I wouldn’t recommend this usage for voice.
This compressor has got everything a normal compressor should have. I don’t think that needs much explanation. Does what it should do. A key filter helps to shape the signal which triggers the compressor. So for example you could exclude the high energy frequencies of a kick drum, thus resulting in a less pumping compression. With „comp mix“ knob in the output section, parallel compression is possible.
The leveler section in the emo d5 is a simple compressor. Can be used to maintain constant dynamics over a long time. Therefore it has long attack and release times and an automatic make up gain. To reduce fast peaks this module is not the way to go. Use the comp section. But could be interesting for classic hits songs, which often have a large dynamic range.
Useful to get a grip on sharp s sounds. Comes with different filter types. I like the visual realisation above the module. Here you can easily review your settings and how it’s reacting on the material.
Two basic controls let you set up a basic limiter. I’m used to the L2 limiter, so this was my reference when I tested this module. And in terms of sound, these limiters are really different. Seems as if Waves took vintage gear as an example for developing this module. When turning up the limiter, you will hear nasty overtones in the material. Unfortunately not my cup of tea.
First, I thought the emo D5 could be an alternative for Ozone Dynamics. But wrong. Waves developed this plugin for mixing purposes. I realized this, when I checked the CPU usage of it. After adding 20(!) stereo instances of emo D5 to an 3,2GHz i5 processor, the usage was max. on 50%. I’m sure this means enough headroom for other plugins in your imaging session.
We summarize: The display is great. All necessary montiors are there and can be viewed at once. The display is also interactive which means that you can grab single parameters and change them in a visual style. This ensures that the compartements work together and either helps to glue your mix and busses or that it can be put on single tracks. The CPU usage maintains great performance and also the latency was super low when I tested it with several instances. But note: for my taste the limiter is not clean enough for imaging.
This takes me to the question: for whom this emo D5 might be useful?
I think if you already have set up your template and you don’t need any new plugins, this won’t be a game changer. But considering the great perfomances, especially the latency, this plugin is really useful for podcast production or moderation. Just add an eq and you will be ready to go. If you’ve got a basic understanding of audio processing, you won’t have problems to set up this plugin. And especially for beginners who consider buying separate dynamic plugins – get this one!
Right now the plugin is on intro sale for $149 (reg. $299) and a demo can be downloaded on the Waves Website!