this is a review of a free product - Flux's Bittersweet. I suppose it's silly to look a gift horse in the mouth, but this is more than just a rating.
If I had to rate it, I'd give the plugin a score between 8 and 10 out of 10.
I had seen other transient tools used on video tips from other engineers, and I thought I'd try a free one first.
If it's unclear, a transient shaper changes the character of the very front of the attack of a given note. In Bittersweet, bitter gives you more of the transient, sweet gives you less.
In my example, I was dealing with music recorded fairly well - an acoustic jazz quartet: drums, piano, bass and sax.
My main intent was to get more 'ping' out of the ride cymbal so that the cymbal pattern could be clearer in the mix without making the cymbals overly bright. Bittersweet worked like a champ! Ping-o-matic!
I thought, then, that I'd try it on piano to give it a little more 'life' and sparkle, again without changing the eq. Again, worked like a champ.
After working those two instruments, I found the bass to be lacking a bit in life, so I also ended up using it on that. All of these instruments used a different level of 'Bitterness', drums using the most at about 13%.
In my mixes, I didn't have need to make something more 'sweet'. But I could easily see that being helpful for some keyboard sounds or an overly aggressive instrument.
There are several controls on the interface, but the most important are the speed and the overall amount of bitter/sweet; messing with those will get you closer to the sound you're looking for if a transient designer will help.
Since it's free, it's definitely worth a download - check out Flux's site as they have a lot of other fine plugins. Cheers to Flux for making such a great plugin, AND free!
Here are some audio samples - 24bit 48k - these instruments have no compression on them save a peak limiter on the drums:
*for the Bitter file, go to my other review as I cannot double post the file... UAD Little Labs IBP