Nugen Audio Focus Bundle Demo & Giveaway
This last point is key, since most loudness metering utilities are still geared up for HD television applications. Briefly, though, the MasterCheck plug-in is dropped into the master bus of your DAW, after any mastering plug-ins, and provides comprehensive metering with true-peak displays, integrated and short-term loudness, and PLR or peak-to-loudness ratio, which is representative of the dynamic range. It also has facilities to audition loudness-matched effects chains, providing accurate comparisons with different mastering processing, and can be used to compare dynamic range and loudness against a reference track in the same DAW. The Pro extension to MasterCheck takes this plug-in to a whole new level, with the key difference being its new facilities to allow the user to hear as well as see how a track will work on different media platforms. The provided codecs are:
Nugen Audio MasterCheck
While HDTV broadcasters all around the world have embraced the concept and practice of loudness normalisation — a method of ensuring a more consistent listening experience for the end user see our feature in February This is not surprising: However, it could be argued that another potential impediment for the music industry is that most of the available loudness—metering tools are geared exclusively towards broadcast applications rather than the specific needs of music mixing and mastering.
It is compatible with Mac OS At the simplest level, MasterCheck is a very neat, three—way bar—graph meter. In addition, two numerical displays at the top indicate the integrated PLR and Loudness values over the full duration of the audio material.
Usefully, a button converts all three meters to show the equivalent Mid and Sides signals, instead of the default left—right on the true—peak meter and mono sum on the loudness and PLR displays. As you would expect from Nugen, there are plenty of options for user configuration, too. For example, the level thresholds at which the different meters change colour can be customised — although the defaults work very well — and the peak meter scale, segment intervals, loudness target value, loudness units, and even the label text colour can all be changed, if required.
More importantly for music mixing and mastering applications, though, there are two variations optimised for music streaming outlets such as Spotify, and three for iTunes.
Most of these presets employ the standard BS. It is also a great tool for making objective comparisons of the dynamic range of same—genre reference tracks.
In fact I think it works so well that I have already switched entirely to using MasterCheck instead of my old favourite TT meter. MasterCheck is highly configurable.
The integration of this dynamic range meter with so many other useful meters and tools also considerably furthers its appeal and usefulness in a music—specific context. The Short—term and Integrated loudness metering displays are invaluable when trying to mix material to hit a specific target loudness value — as we will probably all have to sooner or later. Mixing to the required loudness target, and building in dynamics, delivers dramatically more appealing material!
True—peak metering is essential for not only managing headroom, but also to warn of potential clipping problems in D—A and format converters caused by inter—sample peaks. These slip by completely unnoticed on standard DAW meters, but can cause real problems with the lossy data—reduction systems which are routinely employed in Internet music streaming, downloads and for MFiT.
It is recommended, for example, when mastering for the MP3 format that true peaks should be kept below —3dBTP to avoid the risk of overload distortion from the codec. Music—specific Applications In addition to these critically important, but broadly familiar, metering functions, MasterCheck has some rather more specialised and extremely powerful features. First amongst these is the ability to audition the real—time effect of loudness normalisation on a mix in progress.
Cleverly, Nugen have also incorporated a facility to use an external signal as the reference, rather than a fixed target level. It is also possible to audition the reference track directly through the MasterCheck plug—in in place of the normal source track.
This external reference input mode provides a remarkably powerful facility, and the most obvious way to use it is simply to get a handle on where a work—in—progress sits in relation to a reference track by instantly comparing their PLR, Integrated loudness and true—peak values, as described above. In this case, the reference track could be a commercial track from a similar genre, a previous mix attempt, or an alternative master version.
The inclusion of presets conforming to many widely used standards is very welcome. However, it can also be used to negate any loudness change imposed by upstream signal processing, such as compression, essentially by using the unprocessed track as the reference.
Clicking on the speaker button toggles the audible output between the processed and original signals, at matched levels. This is a really useful and immensely powerful feature, especially for mastering applications, and one I had previously only found in the brilliant MeterPlugs Perception plug—in reviewed last July: Yet another clever application of this external reference facility is to assess the audibility of dialogue above background effects or music — something which is critically important when mixing for TV, for example, or when mixing podcasts and so on.
In this situation the MasterCheck plug—in is inserted on the dialogue track and the Send plug—in on the effects or music track. The MasterCheck plug—in is no exception to that rule, and I am tremendously impressed with how easy it is to use, how much useful, relevant information it provides while still being very easy on the eye, and how amazingly flexible and powerful it is.
Very highly recommended. Pros Comprehensive loudness—metering facilities that are, unusually, optimised for music production. Good value for money.
More Gear Reviews
While HDTV broadcasters all around the world have embraced the concept and practice of loudness normalisation — a method of ensuring a more consistent listening experience for the end user see our feature in February This is not surprising: However, it could be argued that another potential impediment for the music industry is that most of the available loudness—metering tools are geared exclusively towards broadcast applications rather than the specific needs of music mixing and mastering. It is compatible with Mac OS At the simplest level, MasterCheck is a very neat, three—way bar—graph meter. In addition, two numerical displays at the top indicate the integrated PLR and Loudness values over the full duration of the audio material.
VIDEO: Nugen Audio Focus Bundle Demo & Giveaway
NUGEN Audio reviews. A free inside look at company reviews and salaries posted anonymously by employees. NUGEN Audio: SigMod Plug-In. Reviewed by Andy Hong. My new favorite plug- in, SigMod, is a routing toolbox with various “modules”– Mono, Trim, Phase, DC. Award-winning professional audio plugins and software for the creative music producer and sound designer. Innovative and intuitive, industry standard audio.