Plug-ins based on artificial intelligence are getting more powerful, and Sonible is one of the most experienced developers in that area. In addition to Smart:EQ 3, the company offers Smart:Comp (compression) and Smart:Reverb, among its other innovative products.
Smart:EQ analyzes a section of the source you insert it on, and its AI engine creates a custom Smart Filter (EQ curve) designed to get rid of unwanted resonances and notches and provide a spectrally balanced result. Profiles are included for common instruments that “prime” Smart:EQ 3 to get the best results. You can also create your own Profiles and store them.
Sonible describes the EQ engine as an “AI-based, content-aware system [that] incorporates signal statistics, psychoacoustic principles and extensive hands-on mixing experience.”
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When Smart:EQ 3 creates a setting, it includes a Weighting Curve that you can drag up and down to reduce or increase the amount of boost or cut. You can also drag the left and right boundaries inward to reduce the affected frequency range. If you want to weight one frequency range differently from the rest, you can create a second Weighting Curve.
Sonible redesigned the GUI in version 3, making it more efficient and intuitive. It also added some new features, most notably Group view. You can add up to six instances of Smart:EQ 3 to a group and designate a hierarchy between them. The plug-in uses “intelligent cross-channel processing” to make adjustments to reduce masking between tracks.
You don’t have to include all the tracks in your session, just the ones that might be masking each other. You can even set the plug-in’s frequency analyzer display to show a color-coded, real-time spectrum for each group member inside the GUI of any of the group members.
The Dynamic Adaptation option is also new. Turn it on and the instance of Smart:EQ 3 you’re using will adapt itself to changes in the music in real time.
Smart:EQ 3 also lets you make manual adjustments. Clicking on a frequency area in the display creates a filter that you can customize and adjust. You can apply each filter in stereo, mid or side. You can even make fine adjustments to the balance between mid and side when in Stereo mode.
The plug-in allows for saving up to eight “states” for each instance. The States are snapshots of the settings at a given time. You can then switch between them manually using the State buttons to compare different settings quickly.
Smart:EQ 3 is available at an introductory price of €89 (about $107 at the current exchange rate) until June 7, 2021, after which it will rise to its regular price of €129 ($155).