In this day and age, there are plenty of ways that you can enhance the sound of basically any type of recording.
Yes, you first need to have quality input, so getting quality mics, instruments, cables, and mixers is a must.
This basic foundational factor just cannot be enhanced in any meaningful way. However, with an abundance of great products, including great DAWs and very useful plugins, a lot of them free, with detailed parameter controls, the bar is set quite high.
You not only have to use so many different tools, but you need to know how to implement them in practice.
For instance, aside from compression, EQs, saturation, and other effects that come in handy for mixing, it wouldn’t be bad to use tools like transient shapers- This technique is now essential in modern music production.
This is exactly why we decided to look more into one of these transient shaper plugins. The one we’ll be discussing here is made by W.A. Production and it’s called Imprint.
There are a few interesting key features about it that could potentially make it a great choice for any modern producer.
What’s more, the plugin is relatively cheap, which is one of the main reasons it caught our attention in the first place.
Here’s a quick glance at this plugin:
Imprint by W.A Production- At a glance
Maker: W.A Production
Plugin Type: Transient Shaper
Main Features: 3 band transient shaper, 20+ presets, width / smooth / attack / releas controls, output level and master gain control
Our Rating: 4.8/5
Before we get into it, let’s first clear things out for those who are not familiar with transient shaping.
After all, you don’t hear about it that often.
This concept has to do with the beginning of the sound sample and its attack.
In some cases, we need a stronger and more pronounced attack, like with kick drums. In some other cases, we want something smoother and softer.
Transient shaping plugins come in handy for creating better tones for samples where you need a stronger and more defined attack.
Things are not that simple though, as you can’t just add a strong attack to a certain sample and thing that everything is going to be alright.
With transient shaping, you bring all the much-needed nuances of these tones. Essentially, with these plugins, you’re able to bring life to tones that need more attack, especially components like bass drums.
Imprint brings a few features that allow detailed transient design.
First off, it allows you to work with three frequency ranges, along with the adjustable crossover points.
Of course, these three frequency ranges are flexible and customizable. Thanks to the very clear graphic interface, setting up these ranges is made easy.
What you do here is add equalization while also tweaking the attack curve.
Each of the three frequency bands is adjusted with a simple control below it.
The amount is determined by percentage and you’re essentially creating a ratio of these three custom set ranges.
On the side, there’s also the gain control, which boosts the overall output of the plugin. You can also completely bypass any of these three frequency ranges individually.
The more functionality comes with the option to open advanced settings for each of these three bands.
Just click on the arrow below, and you’ll get settings for attack, release, width, and smoothness. With width control, you can set the width of the peaks that you want to target and alter, while the smooth control can smoothen out the peak shapes.
Right above the gain control, you can see the overall output with dB meters. This way, you’ll also be in total control if there’s any potential clipping involved.
The main part of the display, and its largest portion, shows the realtime output waveform. This comes as a useful feature where you can see any odd shapes that need correction.
For a quick look at this plugin, check out the video below:
The most important thing to note is that the interface is fairly easy to use. It features a pretty straightforward and intuitive design that makes it so simple.
The most common use is with samples with a strong attack that needs more definition, mostly drum components and certain synth basses.
However, it works fairly well with various types of synths or pads with at least a somewhat pronounced attack.
But the interesting part comes when you try to apply it to an entire drum track, even if it’s one separate audio file. It manages to “sharpen up” the overall tone as if you processed each component individually.
Like we already mentioned in the features section, the graphic interface makes it fairly easy to use. It’s turned on and off by clicking on the Imprint logo at the bottom left.
The frequency bands are extremely easy to control. All you need to do is just drag their edges left and right to set the width and to drag them up and down to set the output volume of each frequency, according to your preferences.
Also, the waveform can help you in determining the amount and whether each frequency range is causing any clipping.
The option to bypass these individual frequencies is pretty useful.
You can customize it to pronounce only the highs, mids, or lows for the selected track that you’re processing. Those additional controls for each band that we mentioned are where it gets really interesting. These features allow some serious tone shaping and very detailed controls for controlling attack and release.
Those additional controls for each band that we mentioned are where it gets really interesting. These features allow some serious tone shaping and very detailed controls for controlling attack and release.
Basically, anything from subtle and smooth up to sharp and intense tweaking is possible through the very simplified graphic interface.
W.A. Production refers to this plugin as very “advanced” control of one track’s attack. What’s rather interesting is that the plugin itself is not exactly advanced but rather simple. Nonetheless, with some patience and experience, you’ll be able to do very detailed tweaking of each custom set frequency range.
In the end, the price of the plugin is pretty affordable. Which is not a surprise as the Imprint is fairly simple to use. However, we would argue that it’s worth every penny and wouldn’t complain if it was 50% more expensive. It’s safe to say that this is a good purchase for any home or professional studio.