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The museq plugin makes our musical equalizer come alive on your DAW. It has all the original tone and features the hardware is known and loved for, including the truly natural sounding EQ bands, the outstanding high/low cut filters with optional resonance and the Warm Mode sound shaper.
The museq plugin license includes two separate versions optimized for specific tasks. This way, you can always choose the user interface that just works best for you.
The master version adds some powerful extras to the original hardware design, like the integrated M/S matrix for mid and side processing, the possibility to link both channels for more convenient stereo operation, and dedicated output level controllers for adapting your settings to the available headroom.
In addition to this master version with all the bells and whistles, a streamlined mix version with a reduced user interface taking less screen estate is included.
Integrated M/S Matrix
M/S technology is commonly known as a variant of stereo microphoning. This technique uses a microphone with cardioid pattern for the middle signal (M) and another one with bi-directional pattern with an offset of 90° for the side signal (S). The main advantage of this technology is its mono compatibility. FM radio stations use M/S technology for transmitting stereo signals exactly for this reason.
To create M/S signals, the left and right channel of the stereo sum are added to generate the mid (M), whereas the side (S) is created by subtracting the right from the left channel:
M = L+R
S = L-R
To decode an M/S signal back into stereo again, M is added to S for the left channel and S is subtracted from M for the right channel:
L = M+S
R = M-S
The integration of an M/S encoder and decoder into a compressor generates new potentials that classic linked stereo compressors can hardly offer. One of the main advantages is the possibility to process the middle and side signals separately. This way you can make the center more compact without corrupting the original stereo spectrum, for example.
Of course it is also possible to enhance the presence of the side signals in an already finished mix. The stereo width can be influenced fast and effectively, too, and it is also possible to compress specific parts of a mix that could not be selected in a stereo mix as precisely as it is possible in M/S mode.
Resonance High and Low Pass Filters
The outer bands of the museq show a great amount of flexibility. In their standard mode, they are set up as sweet sounding high and low shelf filters that can be used to tailor the airiness and fundamentals of your tracks fast and efficiently.
As a special feature, you can independently switch these to become high and low cut filters with 12 dB per octave and an additional resonance peak at the knee frequency. This allows some very interesting and useful filter curves.
Especially bass frequencies can benefit from a low cut with resonance by obtaining a clean and punchy character. But the resonance can also be used to stretch signals in the bass range, because the resonance filter causes a longer post-oscillation time.
In the high frequency range, you can use the resonance filter to put an accent on a selected frequency without boosting the complete HF spectrum at the same time, which can prevent harshness or an unwanted shift of the overall perception towards the treble.
Each band of the museq plugin can be switched from boost into cut mode. The advantage is that the complete controller range is utilized for the desired action and the resolution of the controllers is twice as large.
Not until the gain controller is used, the specific frequency band will come into action. If the gain controller remains in its 0 position, the signal will not be affected at all – the band is virtually switched off.
Switchable Filter Quality
The filter quality of the three parametric bands can be switched between two characteristics: wide (Q 1.3) and narrow (Q 0.5). This does not have any effect on the maximum amplitude. The filters are based on the constant Q principle, which provides an ever constant filter quality that is independent from the gain controller.
Virtual Band Bypass
The user interface of the museq does not have dedicated bypass switches for each individual band, however you can still A/B single filters conveniently:
Just Ctrl/Cmd + Click or Alt + Click (depending on your host) on the specific Gain controller, and you’ll toggle between the zero position and the latest value you have set. This gives you virtual bypass switches for each individual filter band.
This function emulates the effects of an analog slew rate limiter that reduces the speed of the output amplifier stages. This affects the frequency spectrum, the harmonics and the transient response at the same time.
Fast transients are slowed down a bit and the overall sound appears more round and merged. As this function influences the behavior of the output stages, the effect it creates has an impact on the complete processing results of all EQ stages.
This way the museq plugin offers two different sound characters at the push of a button: Powerful transparency by default, and the slightly colored richness of the Warm mode as an alternative.
Please keep in mind that this is much more a subtle audio shaping feature than a glaring sound effect, but it is certainly nice to add a little bit of color to a signal which might otherwise sound just too clean.
Parallel Filter Design
Another specialty is the design of the high and low pass filters: in actual fact, the high pass with resonance is a low pass with resonance which is flipped in its phase and then mixed with the original signal.
This has the great advantage that the mid and high frequencies are not affected by the filter and therefore do not change in sound at all. Only the bass frequency region is processed by the filter and the entire signal remains open and transparent.
Transferring a complex analog hardware into digital code is not exactly trivial, especially if the model is a completely discrete design like the alpha compressor.
The first important task in a project like this is to fragment the electronic circuitry into separate functional blocks. These blocks are translated into software step by step after which they are united to become a functioning prototype.
This first result is measured very accurately and then compared to the hardware, which leads to an extensive and very detailed matching process. The work on the graphical user interface (photography, retouching, rendering) takes place at the same time.
The final stage is the calibration of the behavior of all the controllers in order to give the software the ‘feel’ of the real thing. Finally, the finished code is ported to different plugin interfaces (RTAS/VST/AU/TDM/AAX…) and packed into installation routines.
The museq plugin benefits from higher sample rates in two ways: In the first place, it profits from a much better resolution especially for processing high frequencies.
Secondly, it reduces aliasing artifacts and therefore brings the curves of the karacter‘s filter stages even closer to its analog counterparts.
The museq plugin employs the oversampling technique in order to enjoy these advantages even if lower sample rates are used. This means that the basic sample rate of a project is multiplied by a certain factor inside the plugin without the need to set the complete project to a higher frequency.
This method consumes a certain amount of CPU power, but the acoustic result speaks for itself. The museq plugin uses oversampling according to the following rules:
• Project sample rate lower than 50 kHz: 4x oversampling
• Project sample rate lower than 100 kHz: 2x oversampling
• Project sample rate higher than 100 kHz: no oversampling
You do not necessarily have to click and drag the controllers of the alpha compressor. Instead, try making your settings with the alternative mousewheel control without clicking on the specific controller first. The following shortcuts provide some further comfort:
VST: Shift + mouse wheel
AU: Shift + mouse wheel
RTAS/TDM: Ctrl/Cmd + mouse wheel
VST: Ctrl/Cmd + mouse click
AU: Alt + mouse click
RTAS/TDM: Alt + mouse click
The museq plugin is available for MacOS and Windows in 32 and 64 bits. The following formats are supported: AAX DSP, AAX Native, AAX AudioSuite, AU, VST2 and VST3.