There are countless audio plugins out there used to achieve dynamics. There are a plethora of options when we’re talking about compressors, dynamic equalizers, expanders and so on. Still every once in a while a dynamic processor plugin pops up and quickly becomes a game changer. One of those processors is definitely the Inflator by Sonnox.
Inflator by Sonnox
The inflator is a unique and powerful plugin used to increase loudness, without sacrificing sonic quality or dynamic range. It is capable of adding power and presence to your mix. Furthermore, it is perfect in helping the vocals cut through the mix. When driven harder, Inflator delivers tube-like musical warmth and provides the ‘sonic glue’ you need to gel your mix together!
Here are some quotations from some of the top sound engineers of today :
“Inflator is a rare Plug-In…I can’t live without it. It simply makes everything sound better…”
“Just the right amount of Inflator will breathe life into anything you run through it!
Use it on any audio material!
You can really use it on any audio material, from individual instruments to mix buses and it has shown to be really beneficial in the mastering process as well. Let’s start by dropping a fresh instance of it on the kick drum channel which is a part of a short sequence which I have previously made in Soundbridge and listen how it sounds unprocessed.
~Kick Drum – Unprocessed
As you can see for yourself it looks like a rather simple plugin with few parameters to control, but don’t let that discourage you. In its base, it is a loudness maximizer but besides that, it has more functions and it has a kind of psychoacoustic effect on the sound source. It gives you a very straightforward way of improving gain, and secondly, it just lifts the stuff in the mix. Let us look at its parameters.
– Input: Sets the input level to the Inflator process. For full level input signals, maximum peak input is obtained with the fader set to 0dB. Further gain beyond is provided to allow the lower level programme to be boosted to full modulation and allows the Inflator to be deliberately overdriven to produce distortion effects.
– Effect Fader – Sets the amount of the overall Inflator effect that is applied to the programme, from 0% to 100%.
– Curve Fader – Modifies the processing characteristics and sonic effect of the Inflator.
– Clip 0dB – When this button is selected, internal processing levels are restricted to the equivalent of normal digital maximum. When de-selected, internal processing may develop and process signals beyond the equivalent of digital maximum.
– Band Split – Selects processing on the direct full band signal or invokes a band splitting function that processes the signal separately in the LF, MF, and HF spectral regions.
– In – This switches the Inflator process in and out for comparison purposes.
– Output Fader – sets the output level to allow adjustment of the signal level after processing.
Once we covered its parameters, lets us move to audio examples. As I mentioned above I will first use on the kick drum. As you can see from the picture below I have pushed the effect to maximum, while I made a balance between input and the output. Besides that, I selected Clip 0 Db option in order to avoid clipping. With the settings like this, the kick drum became more massive and kind of tighter. Additionally, you can hear some warm saturation.
~Kick Drum – Processed with Inflator
After this example, I will add and an instance of the Inflator on the master but before the limiter in order to maximize the loudness of the mix. Here the change in the original state of the parameters will be less dramatic as with the kick drum, but for sure you will be able to hear the difference before and after the processing with the Inflator.
~Full Mix- Unprocessed
~Full Mix-Processed with Inflator
Feel free to download the project here.