Developer Auburn Sounds has released Couture, a volume-independent dynamics editing and transient shaper plug-in with built-in saturation – all contained within a single window.
The obvious benefit to the one-window concept is that you no longer have to switch windows to apply processing in separate steps, simplifying workflow. The user interface seems very intuitive, being separated into components within the GUI yet with all important parameters and oscilloscope visualizers available at a glance.
The transient shaper has speed, sharpen, front and back controls with clipping and three levels for the sharpening. Similarly, the saturator has Drive, HP, LP, and “mood” (sets the intensity) controls with six saturation types – bit-crushing, rectifier, fuzz, sine, bass, and tube.
The transient shaper recognizes three different types of sounds – flat, human, and sybil – and optimizes the sound accordingly.
All in all, this looks like a well-designed plug-in that promises a good grip over dynamics. It’s available in free and paid versions, with the free version omitting the saturator with six algorithms but otherwise featuring the complete transient shaper.
Price and availability
If you choose to go the paid route, you will have to part with EUR 39, which is quite reasonable for a plug-in like this. Couture is compatible with Windows and macOS computers and found in VST, AU, and AAX 32- and 64-bit formats. However, bear in mind that Waves‘ very capable Smack Attack is still being sold for USD 49, and it’s a powerful transient shaper for sure. In addition to controlling attack and sustain properties, it lets you adjust the exact shape and duration of transients. This way, you can make a kick feel ‘tighter’, or bring out more ‘crack’ from a snare. On the other hand, it lacks a saturator. Definitely check out Smack Attack before you make a choice – or just get both for a hundred bucks if you are that kind of aficionado.