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October 24, 2013 / Randy Coppinger

Surfer EQ

EQ adapts to input by detecting pitch fundamental and was the talk of 135th AES NY 2013I heard several people talking about this plugin at the AES convention. So I went over to the Sound Radix booth to see and hear for myself.

Does this scenario sound familiar? The bass guitar needs a little more warmth in the mix. But even a wide Q has a center, favoring some notes more than others. Enter Surfer EQ, which adapts to the input by tracking pitch. The center of your EQ boost can be trained on the fundamental, so as the song progresses you always get the boost (or cut) down where the bass warmth is located. Not only can you apply a typical bell shaped boost / cut, you can also detect pitch for intelligent high and low pass filters, even high and low shelves. But wait — there’s one more extremely cool trick you can perform.

The middle band acts like a regular old bell curve by default. Or you can engage harmonic mode — the EQ not only boosts or cuts the fundamental, it will do the same to the entire set of harmonic frequencies above it. This is a “tone” control in the truest sense. In harmonic mode a boost raises the level of the note across the spectrum. A cut lowers the note, revealing performance gestures and other non-tonal elements in the track.

The obvious application is music. But imagine being able to roll off low end rumble most of the time but the EQ opens up for signal down in that range when it is present. This would be huge for reality TV, film, game audio — any audio mixing market where cleaning up location audio should be quick and intuitive. And I bet sound designers could find all kinds of interesting, unintended uses for an EQ that adapts to pitch.

Here’s a quick look at the plugin so you can see and hear for yourself.

For more check out the Surfer EQ page on the Sound Radix site.

For more convention presentations, photos, audio gear, etc. see: 135th AES NY Roundup

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