In the last couple of tutorials, we talked about various forms of distortion and their use to enrich the frequency content of a mix or individual instruments. Harmonic distortion has been a part of modern audio production for quite some time now, and harmonics are capable of adding color, depth, presence, character and warmth to a sound. In the past, software emulators of old hardware units were way behind their ancient predecessors. However, since technology has progressed so much in the last decade, new software plugins have shown dramatic improvement in coming close, if not replacing, some of the famous hardware units. One of these plugins is Izotope’s Exciter.
Izotope Exciter is a harmonic exciter/enhancer which is capable of adding sparkle or shine to the upper frequencies of the mix. You can use it on mid or even on low frequencies to add boost or presence. It offers four individual bands on which you can apply different saturation modes: warmth, tube, tape, triode, dual triode, and retro.
I have already made a sequence which contains elements like rhythm, bass, synth lead, etc. As usual, let’s start by adding a new instance of the Izotope Exciter to the master channel of the SoundBridge: DAW.
As you can see from the picture above, four bands are taking the dominant part of Izotope Exciter`s interface. By default, the saturation style is set to Triode, but you can choose different modes as we mentioned before. Also, the band faders control the amount and mix for every band. You can adjust just about the right amount of the effect for every band.
Above the faders, there is a mini spectrum window which operates in two modes. The first one contains adjustable frequency ranges, and you can drag them around the spectrum.
You can enter the second mode of the mini spectrum window by clicking on the icon on the far left. I have highlighted it in blue. This mode offers the post filter which is an adjustable high shelf filter on the saturation meter. It allows you to adjust the frequency output of the exciter module.
Stereo or Mid-Side
On the right of the band faders section, there is a part of the interface for switching between stereo and mid-side mode. This button allows you to change between “stereo” processing or mid-side. When “stereo” is selected, the Izotope Exciter module will perform basic stereo signal processing. When “mid-side” is selected, all mid-side features become available.
Moving further, Izotope Exciter offers many presets. You can enter the presets window by clicking on the magnifying icon in the bottom part of the overall interface. Here you can save or delete your own presets, as well as to move them to different folders.
Last but not the least, there is a dedicated metering section on the right side of the interface. Here you can control the amount of the input and output signals as well as to monitor the possible peaking.
Finally, let’s hear this awesome plugin in action. Although it can be used on individual or group tracks of your mix, for this example I’ll add it to the master channel.
~Full mix – without Izotope Exciter
~Full mix – with Izotope Exciter)