Plug ins developer Waves brought the REQ
to the shelves. REQ stands for Renaissance Equalizer, a 6-band audiophile
equalizer plug in that helps you -among others- to give digital generated
sounds (such as from synthesizers) a more warm "feeling" and breath
some extra life into your Macintosh hard disk recordings. It is intended
for professional use. So, when using REQ, at least you should know what
you are doing.
The sometimes quit "cold" patches, programmed in synthesizers, can be
made more lively by giving them some of the fatness old analog synthesizers
used to produce. With REQ, Waves did not bring "just another equalizer"
to the Macintosh digital audio world: "The new REQ provides warm and
clear vintage-style EQ on native Macintosh applications. It includes
real-time graphing, preview, bypass functions and all with just a few
intuitive clicks" is what Waves tells us about this new plug in. ~~Let's
see if that is true.
We decided to test REQ in a rather strange project we are running at
the moment. A guy contacted eCompany some time ago with a question:
"Can you make very old jazz recordings more audible, without killing
the historical feel". Wow, quit a question. He brought in a bunch of
old long play records with recordings from unknown jazz bands, all recorded
somewhere in the 50's. Cracks, hiss, bad microphones: it was all there,
plus that aging and intensive use had brought a lot of damage to the
LP's with loads of dust and cracks. Quit a challenge, right?
Of course there is professional software and plug ins, that denoise
and decrack perfectly, but the quality of the records this guy brought
was too poor to do the normal automated job with this kind of software.
We needed hand work, and we decided to try REQ in this one.
It took us about two weeks to find the best way to bring these old records
back to an acceptable level with REQ, but all the results we got are
worth all these efforts. REQ appears to be a Swiss knife, that can be
used for just this kind of special demands.
One of the presets of REQ, hiss removal, shown below, appeared to be
of great value in this project.
It indeed remove most of the hiss, so typical for old tape recordings,
without distorting the "natural look" of the recording. Great!
The user interface is very intuitive and user friendly. You can pick
up the colored dots and drag them anywhere you like: left to right,
up and down. Alternative: slide the values in the lower part of the
user interface according the direction, drawn with little yellow triangles
at the left.
If you are too wild with these multidirectional sliders, your audio
gets the flue, or tries to fly above the digital sealing. A red overload
indicator above the two sliders on the right will warn you when you
try to run out of the safety zone.
But you do not have to invent the wheel all by yourself. REQ comes with
a bunch of presets for 6-band setups, and for 2- and 4-band setups.
For example the Rezonator: it can add more acoustic flavor to e.g. an
electric violin, or -if you like- make it sound even more electrical.
We used this setup to lighten up a bit some of the old brass and sax
recordings, that were very "dark". Another setup is "60 Hum Notch":
it killed effectively irritating 60 MHz hum in some of the old recordings,
especially those heard with old electric guitars or badly wired microphones.
We loved working with REQ and it has become already one of the tools,
we use standard for mastering, especially when it comes to lighten up
old tapes, or low budget bands that come in with prerecorded music made
with low budget synthesizers. We at daMac are not the only ones that
love the REQ from the very first beginning. Here are some quotes, Waves
uses in it's promo campaign (and we fully agree with these guys):
Dirk Buro, dB Tonstudio:
"REQ is FANTASTIC!!! Warm sound, smooth operation, the best sounding
digital EQ I've ever heard! Big congratulations for this masterpiece
(it's already in use my latest production)."
Frank Heller, Weaselboy Recording Power:
"I would like to say that I really enjoyed the actual layout and look
of the REQ. It is a nice set of graphics. This is a real nice improvement
over the Q10 controls. Much slicker."
Ray Brunelle, Rumblestiltskin Sound FX Design:
"Looks and sounds great. Beautiful interface. I am knocked out by the
Here is some feature information about REQ:
-48-bit internal processing.
-Filter-curves based on vintage analog equalizers.
-Flexible controls including simultaneous multi-parameter adjustment.
-Stereo, dual-mono or linked modes of operation.
-Real-time EQ graphing.
-Clean and intuitive user-interface.
And this is what Waves gives as a product description of REQ: "Renaissance
Equalizer recreates the distinctive sound qualities of classic analog
hardware in the digital domain. Including support for both native and
TDM/DSP Macintosh applications, Renaissance Equalizer delivers warm,
sweet and clear sound tracks! High-precision, 48-bit internal processing
for maximum resolution make Renaissance Equalizer your best choice for
paragraphic equalization. Renaissance Equalizer gives your audio the
warmth and clarity it deserves using filters based on vintage analog
filter-designs. Get Renaissance Equalizer, the ideal tool for tracking,
mixing and mastering!". We at daMac cannot do but agree with this statement.
The REQ supports the following platforms on the MAC (version numbers
minimal required, or higher): Premiere 4.0, Cubase-VST 3.02, Peak 1.5,
WaveConvert Pro 2.01, Pro Tools 4.0 (TDM and AudioSuite), SoundEdit
16 V2.0, Deck II 2.5, Digital Performer 2.11, Logic Audio 3.0, Studio
Vision Pro 3.5, Opcode Vision 3.5, Turbomorph1.5 and MultiRack 2.3.
The system requirements: Any Macintosh with a 68040 processor or higher,
including PowerMac, AV and PPC computers (fast PowerPC recommended).
MacOS version 7.5 or greater. 24MB RAM minimum for basic processing.
32MB RAM minimum for multitrack application. Cubase supported by a minimum
120MHz processor (150MHz recommended).
REQ is a very powerful, flexible, and easy to use tool, rich equipped
for the professional audio environment on Mac. You can freely reshape
your audio in many ways, or -if you are not that experienced- start
using the perfect presets that come with REQ. Very strong tool, absolutely
not "just another equalizer". Working this plug in is like working with
that toy stuff Silly Putty, you probably know that soft flexible stuff
that can be squeezed in any form you like. One small (may be for some
of you) disadvantage: on slower Macs you will hear a click each time
the REQ jumps to a new value while sliding around. Well, disadvantage...:
to be true I did not mind at all. The clicks gave me a check on changing
of values by ear, rather than by looking at values on my Mac screen.
The clicks told me something was happening, and enabled me to "count"
the number of clicks. If I went too far, I just had to "click" back
the same amount to get the sound back I started with. To my opinion,
the best way to alter audio is using your ears! Waves describes the
clicks as a less better something: I just loved them. My small advice
to Waves: don't remove this "bug"!
In this country, we rate from 1 to 10, where 1 is very bad, and 10 is
absolutely great. The REQ gets our 9 appreciation,
with an extra compliment for the easy of use of this plug in, and the
magnificent results you get, by hand, or by presets. It's capacities
make it an absolute must-have-tool for mastering activities on the Mac
A full working version (will work as a demo for non WaveKey owners)
of the REQ can be downloaded at the Waves site, Macintosh section: Download
the full version of Renaissance Equalizer V1.0 (1.60MB). Mind this:
this REQ download will NOT demo under AudioSuite!
All reviews in AudioMac.net are written by Peter J. Bloemendaal. All rights reserved.
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