Peak Rider is a flexible dynamic processor that rides the output level of a track by an amount based on a sidechain input. Unlike a traditional compressor, limiter, or expander, the plugin smoothly applies boost and attenuation depending on the sidechain, opening up a whole new realm of creative mixing possibilities!
What are some possible applications of Peak Rider? At a basic level, any setup where you want the dynamics of one track to match the dynamics of another. Here are a few examples:
– Matching an ambient room mic to a close mic, tightening the reverb tail.
– Matching time-aligned harmony vocals to a main vocal, syncing the volume of all vocal tracks.
– Matching saturated drums to the unprocessed track, preserving dynamics with even extreme processing.
– Matching a static synth to any rhythmic track to create new life and motion.
– Matching a live bass to the mid frequencies of a drum kit so the bass + snare always hit together.
Two of Peak Rider‘s three detection algorithms work in real-time with no latency, making it suitable for live uses as well as studio production. A Smooth windowed-average mode (described further below) and linear phase multi-band processing allow for highly surgical and precise editing.
Further opening up the creative possibilities, Peak Rider can also be used with an internal sidechain – instead of processing the main input based on a separate sidechain, the plugin can process dynamics based on a single input. In this mode, Peak Rider can become anything from a highly effective gate to a powerful three-band transient shaper.
Peak Rider features four main processing modes
Exact Mode: The plugin rides the main input signal up or down to match the sidechain’s envelope to the main input’s envelope. First, the levels of the main and sidechain inputs are analyzed. Then, gain is applied based on the difference, up to a maximum set by the range control.
Noboost Mode: Similar to Exact mode, but does not apply any boost. Instead, it only rides the main input downwards when the sidechain envelop drops below the main input’s envelope.
Duck Mode: Rides the main input up or down depending on band gain and the ratio of sidechain envelope level to main input level.
Limit Mode: Similar to a standard mastering limiter, with a variable output ceiling based on the sidechain’s envelope.
Additionally, there are three detection algorithms which impact how the envelope is generated and analyzed.
Peak: A real-time, fast peak-meter style envelop designed for controlling transient-heavy material.
RMS: A real-time smooth envelope designer that is ideal for tonal and elongated material, leaving transients less affected.
Smooth: A windowed-average envelope generator that uses a variable lookahead, introducing some latency but offering time-accurate detection. This algorithm is very effective on tonal instruments.
The Range knob controls the maximum amount of gain applied to the main input, while Mix blends between the processed and dry signals. The band view can be used in both wideband and multiband mode, with variable crossovers; by right-clicking on the visual display, the crossovers can be set from 6 dB/oct slope to 24 dB/oct, and from minimum phase to linear phase.
Stereo signals can be processed in left/right or mid/side configuration, and can be processed together or independently in Link mode. The bands themselves each have controls for Attack, Decay, and Transient timing. They can also be soloed, muted, or bypassed easily.
More about the Peak Rider.