Update (29.07.2022): At the time of publishing this review, Pancz was released under ‘Oversampled plug-ins’ in collaboration with YouTuber Oversampled and Spectral Plugins. The two have dissolved their partnership since, and Spectral Plugins is re-launching Pancz under its own brand. The plug-in now costs USD 75 (it used to be USD 119) and it will be sold for USD 45 during its re-introductory period. It’s still pretty killer and all, so go check out a punchy transient shaper at its fairest price ever!
Transient shaper plug-ins have evolved into something fierce. I remember the first one I tried back in 2016 – the revered SPL Transient Designer Plus. It had two knobs, mix controls, and it made drum hits go brr or… slightly less brr! That’s pretty much all there was to it.
Five years of Progress™ later, we have this absolute unit of a transient shaper plug-in called Pancz. It’s made by developer Spectral Plugins. Pancz (pronounced Panch) does precision transient shaping over 3 frequency bands, hard clipping (like taking a lawn mover to the waveform), soft/hard limiting, parallel compression, and coloration (with Presence and Air parameters).
All of that good stuff happens in a single, distraction-free window devoted to the most essential controls and visuals for the punchy tasks at hand. Any rhythmic material you take into it (think one shots, drum beats, bass lines and melodic sequences) gets whipped into shape and sounds bolder. Either that, or it’s completely obliterated when you’re feeling frisky or you don’t know what you are doing. In other words, I am smitten!
Pancz ticks the right boxes by doing exactly what a transient shaper ought to, then going ways beyond it. At the basic level, transients are manipulated from the Transients and Length faders. The former makes transient more or less prominent so that already great sounds get to hit harder and the ones that need taming can be subdued. The latter does dynamics processing, squashing or expanding the transients’ sustain and thus manipulating the dynamic range.
You should try this first before reaching for your favorite compressor – they might become best friends with Pancz. These transient shaping features can work independently across three frequency bands with full control over the range and crossover frequencies. Two parameters doesn’t sound like a lot, but with frequency splits in the equation, you can do super-detailed transient shaping.
Live audio and everything you do to it is visualized in the waveform window with visuals for both the input and output signal. Pulling down the Treshold line literally cuts the waveform at the given point. It also lets the optional Soft Clipper and Limiter know which peaks to suppress. The Soft Clipper introduces analog-sounding distortion that’s quite appropriate for bass-heavy sounds like 808s. The Limiter does hard limiting – anything above the threshold line gets chopped clean off.
Moving to the NYC knob, it blends a compressed variant of the signal to obtain the typical parallel compression sound (everything-in-your-face) with zero-hassle. The Presence control adjusts the high-mid frequency range for added bite and Air gets you a bit of posh-sounding sizzle. All the processing done by Pancz can be blended in from the Mix knob.
Pancz is legendary as far as I’m concerned. If you think you need more powerful transient shaping than this, I humbly suggest having another look at the source sound before spending the next 3 days massaging your snare.
Price and availability
Pancz is on an introductory sale for USD 45, down from USD 75. The plug-in works in VST, VST3, and AU formats on 64-bit computers running macOS 10.11 (or later) and Windows 7 (or later).
More information about Pancz
- Pancz transient shaper plug-in: Oversampled