Playfair Audio Dynamic Grading: finally, something new in compression!
Playfair Audio is a new project masterminded by DSP expert Christian Luther (Kemper, Sennheiser). Its debut is a plug-in called Dynamic Grading. It’s a proposed answer to a hypothetical question – what would dynamics processing look like if the compressor was never invented?
Technically, Dynamic Grading does borrow little bits from nearly all great compressors out there. The novel part is the graphical, easily adjustable representation of audio dynamics replacing the traditional Attack, Treshold, and Release parameter adjustments. It makes for an uncomplicated, unique and versatile dynamic processing plugin. Dynamic Grading leaves complicated signal chains and urban compressor myths behind.
Playfair Audio Dynamic Grading plug-in
Dynamic Grading has a genuinely differrent approach to dynamics processing – an all-important part of audio production. It challenges the old way of thinking about compressors as technical tools. Rather, it asks you to shape and sculpt dynamics like a piece of clay with the help of Augmented Intelligence. The latter is no flashy tech term but an appropriate definition for the concept of harnessing artificial intelligence to aid your own instead of having it do all the work.
The plug-in does not expect you to master the complex effects chains and processor combinations behind professional tracks, which usually involve compressors, gates, expanders, parallel processing, bus compression, and other intricacies. Rather, it displays a simple histogram of audio dynamics alongside parameters and controls inspired by imaging software. In a way, Dynamic Grading has you adjust audio dynamics the way you change brightness and contrast in images.
As it tends to be with novel tools, you’re going to have to spend some time with this one before you get to grips with it. However, the learning curve seems modest. The interface is straightforward, it’s the process itself that’s somewhat unfamiliar before you become accustomed to it. Still, Playfair’s plug-in is definitely onto something and I’m pretty sure we’ll be seeing some alternate takes and flattering imitations in the months or years ahead.
Price and availability information
Dynamic Grading is available from the Playfair website for EUR 149. It works in 64-bit AU, VST3, and AAX plug-in formats under macOS 10.10+ and Windows 7+.
Learn more about Dynamic Grading
- Playfair Audio Dynamic Grading: Playfair Audio
Neodynium from Elemental Audio did this concept with more controls and for less money 18 years ago!!
It’s abandonware now (which means for free if you can find it).
“Dynamic Grading is an entirely novel approach to dynamic processing of audio”… nope, it is not, it might have been in 2004..
It reminds me a lot Neodymium from Roger Nichols