TL:DW; A different bright EQ from any other.
Digital EQ is a series of trade-offs. You can have a general effect with a simple calculation, or a more complicated effect with more calculation, or you can just bury the audio in calculation and get something very precise which unfortunately is just a huge pile of mathematics. And digital EQ shows this: it’s typically some digital-audio textbook calculations, maybe with distortion or a convolution impulse on top of it. When it does extreme things, like sharp or resonant filters, it bogs down in the details and loses texture, and it’s a rare developer (like Andy Simper with his nifty ‘The Drop’) who can do something interesting with ’em.
These are something different. They’re ‘air band’ boosts (less effective as cuts, or you can over-cut to create odd cancellation effects) based on an entirely different principle, basically interacting with the sample rate directly as if it was a ‘gearbox’. There’s a feedback parameter that serves to increase the resonance of the filter, making it ring and produce still another tonality.
The thing is, you don’t get to adjust them. I can’t give you 14K out of the 15K tap, and that number only relates to if you’re at 44.1K sampling rate: if you’re at 48K it’s actually boosting 16.3K. This is the technology that turned into ‘Energy’ (a forthcoming Kagi-class plugin on the ‘patreon release list’, and it can’t be adjusted: it’s a little black box and we’re only doing a dry/wet with each tap (the Filter Q affects all taps).
But what it CAN do is give you a ridiculously powerful boost at 10K, 15K or 22K, and let you sharpen it. It’s doing that with far less processing than you’d usually have to do, to get the result, and it’s doing it as a simple add so it retains the tone of the audio. And one more thing: if you do a super-sharp resonance, with normal EQ that’s linear phase you have to produce extensive pre-ring to get that filter curve. Air doesn’t do that. All its ring takes place after the initial transient attack, so Air is unusually good at sculpting the attacks of trebly sounds… for instance, EDM high percussion and hihats and sampled cymbals… and doesn’t blur where they attack, at all.
That makes Air a VERY good secret weapon for tightening up the percussiveness of hats and snares on EDM. Whatever genre you’re in, you can dial-an-attack and there will be no blurring from the EQ. Your options might be limited to a few bands, but on the other hand you can make crazy blends (they’re parallel) and get unique tonalities all with ultra-sharp attacks, even if you’re maxing out the Filter Q to make things sound very, very unnatural.
Sometimes that might be exactly what’s needed :)
Oh, but please don’t actually treat it like a secret weapon. Treat your SETTINGS like a secret weapon, and tell people if you’re finding Air useful. That’s because I survive through a Patreon that has replaced the previous form of Airwindows, and it’s done so well that now we’re starting to release the greatest hits of Airwindows! If all goes well, Iron Oxide 5 is coming out next week, and you can have the latest version of the second most popular plugin Airwindows ever made, with $27,844 in sales over its lifetime as a $50 plugin. And it will be FREE. And at the next funding goal, I begin the process of also making them open source. So please don’t treat Airwindows plugins as a secret weapon. Treat it as a Patreon, and the more the merrier: it lets me do more interesting things if I can afford to do them :)