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Leapwing Dynone

Leapwing Audio DynOne

4.5 4.5 out of 5, based on 2 Reviews

A new approach to multiband and parallel compression

30th August 2017

Leapwing Audio DynOne by Mazoulew

  • Sound Quality 4 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 4 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.25
Leapwing Dynone

Lets be honest there is no shortage of Multiband processors available to engineers nowadays so I guess to stand out you either need to come with a unique feature set or un-compromised sound quality. I would like to say Leapwing Audio have managed to kill two birds with one stone here with DynOne.

This plugin excels in both downward compression or upward expansion and each band can independently used for either task. One of the first things you will notice with this processor is how quickly you can achieve increased intrinsic loudness and ‘weight’ of sources when used in parallel mode. Ive always been slightly reserved in my use of multiband processors as a lot of them have issues of interaction between bands and their crossovers, that said whatever the developers at Leapwing have done in the development of this plugin has paid off in a really exceptional way. The phase coherency between the bands is so solid I couldn't notice any audible shifting or degradation.

I find the GUI very nicely presented and clean cut, you can see exactly where you are at very quickly with minimal fuss. Leapwing have opted out of the inclusion of numerical readouts on the meters which may ruffle a few feathers but I found the more I used this plugin on a variety of sources the less I noticed it. The power of its processing is enough to grab your attention and the less visual feedback from the GUI allows you to concentrate more on the tonal and dynamic shaping that is taking place.

When using it in its direct form(non-parallel), you can really hit this compressor hard and it still sounds great, the usual breakdown of midrange frequencies in the majority of digital compressors is so minor and occurs only when you have literally gone way too far but for my sound design and production purposes I have enough range from subtle ‘glue’ to outright pumping effect which ticks all the boxes for me.

I have tested most commercially available multiband dynamics processors over the years, both hardware and software. The results I have achieved in such a short amount of time with Leapwing’s DynOne has put it up there for me as one of the most impressive pieces of kit in any price bracket.

26th August 2018

Leapwing Audio DynOne by Diogo C

Leapwing Dynone

A new approach to multiband and parallel compression

Belgium-based company Leapwing Audio has recently entered the plug-in with CenterOne and DynOne, two interesting pieces of software with design philosophy that opts for simplicity and ease of over extensive tweakability. Today we take a look on DynOne, which according to its makers is a “smart parallel multiband dynamics processor”.

Recently updated to its second version, this plug-in is their rather distinct take on the familiar multiband and parallel compression techniques and at its core there is a set of smooth linear phase crossover filters, carefully crafted by Leapwing Audio to sound as gentle as possible. These filters split the incoming signal on the following points: 160Hz, 800Hz, 4kHz and 11kHz. As one can notice, DynOne works on large portions and its five areas are quite broad. Each area has a fader that can be raised to a maximum of +12 dBs or attenuated until they’re mute (-100 dB), and the scale is quite comfortable, leaving the bigger chunk of the fader to the -12/+12 dB range, which helps with the ease of use.

Leapwing Dynone-dynone-expanded-bands.jpg

When clicking on the “controls” button we are presented with the expanded interface. Here we arrive dynamic side of DynOne, and here we are presented with a clever solution to attack and release timings by adopting a system that takes into account minimum and maximum settings, thus enabling a “smart” adaptive attack-release behavior that minimizes artifacts usually associated with abrupt changes. The attack and release settings are adjusted by a slider on each band’s tab, which also houses threshold and ratio controls. Ratio can freely go from 0.80 to 20:1, making it suitable for many mixing or mastering situations. On the “global” tab we can enable the parallel compression mode, freely set the channel linking from stereo to dual-mono, freely set the detection from peak-based to RMS and also the “weighting” from single-band to all-bands. “Weighting” is quite an interesting idea that allows for variable band interaction on the sidechain level and it’s worth quoting the documentation here since it’s a rather unique approach: “You have the possibility to shape the compression sidechain input for each frequency band as a weighted combination of the 5 frequency bands. The sidechain can be the single band itself by placing the slider to the left, or for the full bandwidth signal to the right. Settings in between are a gradually increasing, weighted sum of the frequency bands, whereby neighboring bands have a bigger influence than the ones further away.

Lastly, there are two quality modes provided on the settings tab with the Ultra and Low Latency switch, and “Ultra” has to be taken literally as it offers a substantial difference, which comes at a price of increased CPU load and extra latency. The settings tab also provides an automatic gain compensation option, which is extremely useful when one wants to operate with matched levels and I’m sure it will please many of my fellow Gearslutz who are very fond of this feature. Wrapping it all up, DynOne offers input/output faders (from -inf to +12dB) with K-weighted metering (LUFS and dBFS values are displayed) and a handy “Info” button where users can check for updates, open the documentation, check license info and go to the Leapwing Audio website.

The Scores

Sound quality:
DynOne shines for its transparency, it’s certainly among the best when it comes to clean and stealthy compression. It’s actually kind of hard to go overboard with it, especially when parallel compression mode and band auto gain are engaged as it becomes particularly forgiving. Nevertheless, things are bound to be profoundly changed when you started knocking off five or dBs on a couple of bands, and this is DynOne shows its strength, sounding natural even when it’s not supposed too. As said earlier, the Ultra Quality mode does what it says and it’s certainly more refined than the Low Latency. It adds 4096 extra samples of latency (at a sample rate of 48 kHz) and basically doubles the load of the plug-in, but to me ears it’s definitely worth it and on a mastering or mixbus context that shouldn’t matter much as long as you have the computing power to cope with it. Low Latency is great sounding on its own too, it only adds 68 samples of latency (again at 48 kHz) and can be very useful on mixing session or when producing with virtual instruments, but overall the Ultra Quality mode has the upper hand and should be the preferred option when the uttermost quality is a desired. One final aspect to highlight is that DynOne also works nicely for raising the average levels and perceived volume of a track when parallel mode is used, delivering results that are as natural sounding as possible thanks to the adaptive attack-release timings while also providing some broad tonal balancing opportunities.

Ease of use: Leapwing Audio came out with a clean and efficient design, and even though my preferences lies with the “all parameters on screen at a glance” approach I think that the DynOne is nicely organized and the tab system (for bands and settings) is efficient when using in tandem with the band link function. There are no major obstacles to the workflow, which in the end is what prevails. Overall DynOne shouldn’t present many challenges to those familiar with multiband compressors, and thanks to its simple design it should be mostly intuitive to use. A 9-page PDF is also provided with concise information about the plug-in which should suffice to clear up most questions. On the performance side there’s quite a gap between Low Latency and Ultra quality Modes, not only on latency but also on the CPU load, but on the other hand DynOne is not really a “heavy” plug-in and it’s far from what I can a hog as my aging i7-3770 chip was able to handle multiple instances with relative ease, taking roughly 5% of my resources on the AAX version (Pro Tools 2018 on MacOS Sierra). It’s also worth noting that DynOne is not the kind of processor that will be widely used on many channels across a mix, so latency figures aside that shouldn’t be a matter of concern.

Features: It would be a bit foolish to say that other plug-ins are able to do what DynOne does, that is still valid point to some extent as there are enough similarities to establish a meaningful comparison, but the fact still stands that the fixed crossover points limit what it can do when compared to other plug-ins in this category - and there’s no shortage of good contenders to be considered. On the other hand, one can certainly argue that DynOne will get there faster and will deliver end results that speaks for themselves in terms of quality, so it’s even more foolish to dismiss its merits. Having said that, DynOne is more about bringing a “curated” set of tools to work with than offering the deepest of all control sets, something that has already been done by some of its competitors such as the FabFilter Pro-MB, Waves C6 and the insanely flexible Melda Production MDynamicsMB, just to name a few.

Bang for buck: Now here comes the highly subjective part, as DynOne is a plug-in with a clear philosophy and some may find the fixed crossover points too problematic to deal with. If such aspect is not considered a problem then it will be a joyous ride, as the sound quality is quite impressive and Leapwing Audio has achieved something quite special with this plug-in, which certainly puts the company on the map as a legit developer to follow. The asking price is in-line with the market although I’d say that it leans towards the “premium” range at €199 (MSRP), which is not exactly what can be called affordable these days but it’s also not unreasonable or prohibitive by any means. Most importantly, it delivers on what it promises and overall DynOne feels like a well polished plug-in from a competent developer, and it’s great to see new companies coming up with novel ideas and successfully realising them on solid products such as this one.

Recommended for: mixing and mastering engineers who want the most transparent multiband processor or looking for a refreshing take on parallel compression.

• One the least intrusive multiband compressors out there.
• Excellent as a loudness maximizer.
• Intuitive and friendly to use.

• Fixed crossover points may narrow its range of applications.

• Price: €199 (MSRP)
• System Requirements: 64-bit AAX, AU, VST or VST3 plug-in host on Mac 10.10+ and Windows 7+
• DRM: Hardware-ID based online or offline authentication with up to two activations per license. Activations can be reset at any time from the Leapwing Audio website.
• Demo: fully-functional for 30 days.

Attached Thumbnails
Leapwing Dynone-dynone-expanded-settings.jpg   Leapwing Dynone-dynone-collapsed.png   Leapwing Dynone-dynone-expanded-global.jpg   Leapwing Dynone-dynone-expanded-bands.jpg  
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