Accusonus ERA 5 Bundle PRO by Diogo C
accusonus has been carving out their space on the audio repair scene over the past few years, with their breakthrough plug-in ERA-D capturing our community’s attention thanks to its quality algorithms and superb ease of use. The company has also ventured into beak-making and other creative applications, but repair and restoration remains their forte, so today we’re looking at their top-tier product, the Era Bundle Pro.
Breaking it down:
The Era Bundle Pro consists of nine components, which are designed to tackled specific tasks and presented as the following standalone plug-ins:
- De-Clipper Pro: removes/attenuates distortion from signal overloads, the infamous clipping that we all fear, but that is bound to happen from time to time.
- De-Esser Pro: works on the sibilant that is commonly present on words with “S” letter and reduces its unpleasant sound.
- Noise Remover Pro: Mitigates all sorts of noise, from low-frequency to high-frequency hiss.
- Plosive Remover: Deals with the excessive energy coming from the P and B letters mostly, but useful whenever the mic gets that unwanted hit.
- Reverb Remover Pro: Attenuates reverberation present on the source material, making it sound as dry as possible.
- Room Tone Match (currently available as AudioSuite for Pro Tools only): Unlike other tools in this category made by other developers, this not only matches two acoustic spaces, but it can also add an extra layer of ambiance from a city street, bedroom, indoor ventilation and even rain.
- Voice Auto-EQ: One of the most interesting and different processors in the ERA series, it is a “one-stop solution” for tone.
- Voice Deepener: Another single-stop solution designed to give vocals extra weight and depth, making it close to mix-ready.
- Voice Leveler: Keeps levels consistent, a mixture of automated fader rides and slower compression.
Sound quality: Overall the quality of the processors included in this bundle is superb, and they present a good trade-off on doing what they’re meant to do with an amount of artifacts that are perfectly reasonable. Artifacts are perhaps “the” big issue when it comes to repair and restoration, and accusonus has managed to build processors that keeps them mostly at bay, with minimum side effects. Overall all processors are very good sounding, there’s a good level of consistency here and none of them stick out as better or worse than the rest of the pack, but I was positively impressed by the results I was able to achieve with the Noise Remover Pro - where the multiband feature really shined on polishing a hissy recording without killing the top end entirely.
Ease of use: Certainly Era’s biggest strength is the ease of use. These tools are very intuitive to use, with uncluttered and minimalistic interfaces that can be understood in a matter of seconds, and it shouldn’t take long until excellent results come through. Since all processors share the same GUI scheme it’s quite easy and fast to get acquainted with them. The Audio Cleanup Assistant plug-in is also of great help when more complex tasks have to be accomplished. As for their computing performance, latency is a bit high, which is expected on this category of processors, but the CPU load is quite manageable, and basically any computer made in the past five years should be able to run a few instances of ERA processors without breaking a sweat. The documentation, provided on accusonus, is quite comprehensive and does what it is supposed to do, but I do miss the good old HTML or PDF file for offline reading. The offline situation comes up again in the activation, which has to be done necessarily online, and I also experienced a few “disconnects” from the license server, which asked me to log in to my accusonus account to re-activate a product that was supposed to be activated. Not a big deal as my computers are always online, but certainly a nuisance to some.
Features: Those accustomed to iZotope RX’s more advanced and deep tweaking capabilities may find Era’s processors to be a bit lacking in more nuanced adjustments. It’s worth keeping in mind that each product has its focus and this where it becomes evident, and they diverge greatly in their overarching goals and not only on how to approach problems, but also on which problems they want to tackle. In a nutshell, RX is certainly more suited for post-production, whilst Era cares more about facilitating the life of the everyday musician and content producer in general instead of catering for the forensic analyst or restoration expert.
Bang for buck: You don’t need to be a restoration expert to repair those damaged recordings, the ERA Bundle Pro does a great job on making the process easy enough for non-pros and musicians who aren’t that nerdy to approach it painlessly and effectively. That should be excellent a bang for the buck ratio, however, if on one hand we’re provided with tools that are highly competent and easy to use, on the other they’re far from accessible when it comes to pricing. A perpetual license for the Era Bundle Pro comes at a whooping $999, which rules out a good chunk of its audience. This is where a subscription plans idea kick in, as most don’t have the need to necessarily - or should I say perpetually - own this set of tools and may be better off simply renting when they need it. accusonus offers a nice range of plans from $9.99 (ERA Bundle Standard) up to $24.99 (ERA Bundle Pro), so pick accordingly. For most users it’s arguable that the Standard version should suffice, so those on a tight budget should definitely check that out and see if it ticks all the boxes they require.
Recommended for musicians, content producers and mixing engineers looking for an effective set of tools to deal with common audio problems such as inconsistent levels, signal overloads/clipping, hiss/noise, excessive/bad room reverberation or mouth artifacts such as plosives.
- Excellent sound quality, with minimum artifacts
- Extremely friendly to use and quick on achieving good results
- CPU-friendly for the most part
- Audio Cleanup Assistant is quite useful and handy to have around
- Pro version is relatively costly regardless if it’s a perpetual license or subscription