DMG Audio Expurgate by joe_04_04
- Plugin: Expurgate
- Developer: DMG Audio
- Formats: AAX 32/64 bit, RTAS, AU, VST2, VST3 on Mac/PC
- Price: 99 GBP (≈150 USD)
- DRM: License Key
- Websites: DMG Audio
The Scope: As a followup to their Essence plugin (a de-esser), DMG has released a brand new monster of a gate plugin capable of being either extremely simple and straight-forward or extremely flexible and complex (whichever you choose).
Sound Quality - 5/5: Over the course of my testing, I have come to the conclusion that if you dial your settings correctly, Expurgate is capable of some pretty phenomenal gating. This might sound like a comical statement to a newer mixer, but anyone who has used a gate that just didn’t work will know what I mean. There is almost always a trade off with gating in someway (gate chatter, having to automate threshold, etc.), but Expurgate tries to mitigate those tradeoffs in intelligent ways by giving you more parameters to dial, which ultimately gives you more control over your gating (for instance, the very powerful “Hysteresis” parameter, more on that later). Expurgate also offers a handful of gate models that allow you to tweak the response of the gating process. You can select hardware style modes that mimic the action of classic pieces or you can pick DMG and get a good combination of digital and hardware attributes. All of this flexibility results in a seriously capable gate plugin that can adapt for any source material you may have.
Ease of Use - 4/5: Expurgate can either be fairly simple or extremely complex. It all depends on how deep ‘down the rabbit hole’ you want to go (this is no joke, just like all DMG products, Expurgate is ridiculous it its range of tweakability). It also depends on whether or not your source material calls for more complex parameter tweakage. Expurgate has two different GUI views - each one providing a different Ease of Use. You can have a reduced view that tucks away a vast majority of the more complex parameters or you can open up the GUI and have tons of precise control over the gating (I will get into feature specifics in the next category). In my experience, I’ve had to open the advanced panel a large majority of the times I used Expurgate, as I’ve not been able to get the simple GUI view to work with my source material as much. I recognize that this experience will change from person to person and from source to source, but as of now, I’ve always had to dig into the advanced controls. Once I get to the advanced controls, I’m able to dial in a perfect setting for my gating needs. My only complaint in this field is that I wish some of the advanced controls were moved over to the simple mode. Most people are entirely familiar with gates and the standard settings, such as attack, hold, and release, so I wish that these could reside under the threshold and ratio sliders. If that were the case, I think I would hardly have to open the advanced panel, which would be nice since I would only be opening the advanced panel to get to the REALLY advanced parameters and not just to access standard parameters. Outside of this only complaint, Expurgate is Ease of Use is fairly perfect in my opinion.
Features - 5/5: In the feature category, Expurgate excels. If I could rate it a 6 out of 5, I would. This is definitely the most advanced gate I’ve ever personally experienced. I will break down as many of the features as I can, but some will most likely be missed as there just isn’t enough time in a day to list and explain them all. I will show you both views, but only breakdown the features of the advanced view as it contains all of the simple view features plus more. I will also expand on features that seem to be more complex.
- Adjustable GUI Size - Fully variable, any size you want
- Model Choice - Choose between various types of gate styles. Hardware emulations and digital hybrids (Some Models Include: Brit Chan, Brit Mega, and DMG. A handful of others are also available)
- Standard Gating Controls - Threshold, Ratio, Range, Attack, Release, Hold
- Hysteresis - This is an extremely powerful control, in fact, its one of my favorite controls. By definition of the manual, Hysteresis “is used to prevent a phenomenon known as “chatter” which you may hear with short Hold and Release times on very dynamic material. If Expurgate is rapidly opening and closing (creating a stuttering signal) and you don’t wish to adjust timings, you can increase the Hysteresis. This requires that the signal exceeds a high Threshold to allow audio to pass, and a lower Threshold to decide that the signal has passed. The Hysteresis parameter adjusts the distance between the higher and lower Thresholds relative to the Threshold parameter.” I’ve included this graphic as a visual representation of how hysteresis is usual. In the graph, you can see that without hysteresis, the signal is hovering around the threshold, which is causing it to open and close very rapidly, but with hysteresis, the opening and closing of the gate is dictated by two separate thresholds, which allows the signal to move a bit (depending on how far you dial in the setting) without the gate opening and closing.
- Lookahead Adjustment - Helps the gate to foresee incoming signal prior to processing
- Real Time Scrolling Graph - Indicates what part of the audio has passed the gate
- Sidechain EQ - Three bands of EQ (with multiple filter types and slopes available) to tailor the audio that Expurgate ‘hears’. Very useful to help remove bleed in drums that might be causing the gate to false-trigger and really zone in on a sound.
- Split EQ - A very unique feature that actually gates only certain frequencies of audio.
- Auditioning of Sidechain/Split EQ Audio
- Volume and Gate Metering
- Mixer Section - Input, Makeup, Dry Injection, and output controls
- Stereo Link Control
- Setup Options - An enormous amount of tweakability hidden in this menu. You can change gain reduction direction here from down to up and turn Expurgate into an upwards compressor. You can turn off the “Safety Range” feature. When engaged, keeps the attack and release settings from being dialed to super extremes, when off, you can push them to faster values. Linear phase option, oversampling options, and much much more reside in this little menu. It will payoff to spend a good amount of time familiarizing yourself in this section
- Tool Tips
As you can see, the list of features is fairly vast. I even condensed multiple features down into one category and didn’t even touch on everything capable, especially in the setup menu. This is a seriously capable gate with a huge amount of features. It definitely deserves a high rating.
Bang for Buck - 4/5: Expurgate can be purchased for 99 GBP (at or around 150 USD). While the features in this plugin are absolutely top-notch, I will say it feels a tad bit high. In the end, it is still only a gate plugin. With that being said, if you are in the market for an ‘end-all’ gate plugin, this would be the one. If you have your standard stock gate plugin and you just aren’t able to dial in settings that work, I’m sure that you’d be able to dial in the perfect gating settings with Expurgate (Once you put in the time to fully learn it).
Verdict: My overall opinion of Expurgate is entirely positive. DMG plugins are as well-thought out and ingenious as their product names are. I think Dave is putting out great plugins that really push the boundaries of what digital software can achieve. Don’t get me wrong, I love emulations from time to time, but I find myself really enjoying developers who are breaking into futuristic territories, rather than repeating history for the hundredth time. DMG seems to be one of the leading plugin developers who is not afraid to do something entirely different and against the grain, who wants to push forward, rather than regress. Expurgate is no deviation from the quality we expect from DMG.
Last edited by joe_04_04; 28th August 2015 at 10:57 AM..