SPL Transient Designer
Whether you want to bring out the front-end transient in a snare drum or dial back the tail of a wayward tom tom, a transient shaping plugin will get the job done.
Here, we've rounded up 12 of the finest plugin examples around, starting with SPL’s Transient Designer.
Based on the classic SPL hardware, the software (native and UAD) version can dramatically change a sound’s amplitude envelope using just Attack and Release controls. The Release adds clean sustain to the signal, while the Attack dial adds punch.
FULL REVIEW: SPL Transient Designer
An ideal workhorse for transient shaping, this one works in wideband and multiband modes.
Trans-X’s multiband is great for jobs such as adding attack in the high-mids or fattening up the low-end sustain.
READ MORE: Waves Trans-X
One of the most tweakable wideband transient shapers out there, TransMod can shape loud and quiet transients differently - ideal for creative breakbeat manipulation.
There’s also a great overdrive function placed after the processing.
FULL REVIEW: Sonnox Native Oxford 6 Pack
Included with every edition of Computer Music as part of CM Plugins, Snap is a simple but very effective tool. The Hit and Body dials don’t just control level, but also the frequency composition of both the transient and sustain portions of your signal.
READ MORE: SKnote Snap
This one not only sounds great, but is infinitely adjustable thanks to the sensitivity and length controls for both the Attack and Sustain dials. Riding these makes it simple to add precise snap to transients.
FULL REVIEW: eaReckon Transreckon
Schaack Transient Shaper 2
Schaack’s well-loved transient manipulator offers the usual Attack and Sustain dials, plus a selection of attack and sustain shapes for customising dynamics.
There’s also a nifty analogue drive feature.
FULL REVIEW: Schaack Transient Shaper 2
Neutron’s multipack of mix processors has taken the mixing scene by storm. It scores highly for both wideband and multiband transient shaping, with a clean, unobtrusive sound alongside a handy visual display.
FULL REVIEW: iZotope Neutron
Native Instruments Transient Master
Originally part of NI’s Guitar Rig, Transient Master is now a plugin in its own right too, with just three dials on offer: Attack, Sustain and Gain.
The Smooth button gives your sound’s transients a rounded feel when applying big attack boosts.
READ MORE: Native Instruments Transient Master
Flux BitterSweet v3
There’s nothing bitter about this free plugin’s sound quality, with a choice of three transient integration modes (fast, medium or slow) to shape the transient response alongside a super-useful mid/side mode.
DOWNLOAD FOR FREE: Flux BitterSweet v3
Softube Transient Shaper
Transient Shaper's two-band design enables you to divide the frequency spectrum in two. Use it, for example, to add sustain to a drum kit’s treble, bringing out cymbal splash without bloating the lower-mid frequencies in the mix.
FULL REVIEW: Softube Transient Shaper
Joey Sturgis Tones Transify
Transify has three bands concealed behind a cool, API 500-style GUI, with the usual Attack and Sustain controls within a three way crossover.
The per-band clip circuits are great for adding huge crunch to synth basses without affecting the sub frequencies.
FULL REVIEW: Joey Sturgis Tones Transify
LVC Audio Transector CM
Unlike many of the other transient shapers we’ve already mentioned, Transector CM allows adjustment of three parts of the incoming signal - attack, sustain and release - which can really help get a more precise result.
Part of CM Plugins, it's free with every edition of Computer Music magazine.
READ MORE: LVC Audio Transector CM