I reviewed Igor Vasiliev’s recent update to ‘v.2.0’ of the excellent Audio Mastering app back in January on the blog. Version 2 bought some significant new features with the ‘advanced’ mode providing a flexible parametric EQ and real-time spectrum display of your audio while you work on the processing options. A further update to v.2.1 added a multi-band compression option which featured a very clear and helpful graphical display allowing you to easily see what your threshold and ratio settings were doing to each band.
Igor is now back with v.2.4 of the app and this is available for download from the iTunes App Store as of today. This includes some excellent new features, the highlights of which are improvements in the Stereo Imaging module, additional metering options in the Compressor, the addition of high and low cut filters within the EQ module and a new presets manager.
The changes in the Stereo Imaging module are both under the hood (it sounds better) but also visual. As shown in the screenshot, you now get a rather nifty two-part display showing you just how ‘wide’ your stereo imaging is and, very usefully, you can also see that information for the different frequency ranges. In most cases, you would want to limit the amount of stereo enhancement applied in the low frequencies and the apps’ graphics allow you to keep a good eye on that. If you wish to, the display can be toggled off (I assume this brings a modest reduction in the CPU load the app generates); a useful touch.
Within the Compressor module, in a addition to the multi-band options added in the v.2.1 update, you now also get gain reduction meters. This is an excellent addition as it is very useful to get some visual feedback on just how much work you are getting any compressor to do and even more so with something as complex as a multi-band compressor. If you want to retain a natural sound, aiming for relatively modest amounts of gain reductions is generally a good thing. Now at least, you can get a better impression of this and, for new users in particular, I’m sure this will be a very useful visual cue in setting up the compression controls.
The EQ module has now added both low-cut and high-cut filters to the existing 5 bands of parametric EQ. These are fairly simple affairs where, once toggled on, you can basically select the roll-off frequency between three (sensibly chosen) preset values. The slope of the EQ cut is fixed however. That said, if you drag one of the parametric nodes towards these filters, the two EQ controls will interact so you can create some quite interesting EQ curves if required. Being able to roll off the very lowest frequencies can often help tidy up a mix and reduce some low end rumble from hogging all the audio space. Equally, taming the top end a little can warm a mix up and get rid of some digital fizz. Both these options are, therefore, useful additions.
Audio Mastering is an excellent app and the straightforward interface does make it very easy to get to grips with for new users. If you want to know more about the basic operation of the app and the features it offers, do check out my original review and the review of the v.2 update. However, at UK£8.99, Audio Mastering represents excellent value for money.