Designed foremost for vocal signals - which can be the most variable in level - GainRider lets you dial in level-adjustment rules so you can use your hands for other things.
As progress marches on, the mix engineer with a finger on the vocal channel fader may have gone the way of the ploughman and the checkout assistant thanks to DAW automation, but the vocal recording remains mostly the same, going anywhere between a mouse-like whisper to a deafening roar in one take.
TBProAudio is seeking to push civilisation further with GainRider, an AU/VST/RTAS plugin that'll eliminate the need to even program in a lengthy volume automation sequence. Mix engineers everywhere might just have to get their red flags out.
Fade out a gain
By dialling in Sensitivity, TargetLevel and Range parameters, you can tell GainRider to basically compensate for any changes in volume in real-time, ideally bringing the output level to hang closely around a consistent average.
You can refine the plugin's response further using NoiseLevel (presumably telling it how much background noise is inherent in the signal to begin with), PreDelay (to give a minor delay before volume changes are made - potentially helpful for transient retention), and a control for its gain behaviour when 'idle'. It's also got a sidechain input (in the VST/RTAS version), as well as other options.
Get your automate on
OK, cool, but how is this different from a compressor? It's standard practice to tighten up performances at the macro level as a potential alternative to gain riding, so what can GainRider offer us that our Threshold and Ratio controls can't?
"As gain riding is not compression, the 'micro' dynamic of the signal is preserved," says TBProAudio. "We made music productions with GainRider only - no compressors, no limiters; just a little bit of EQ - and they sound amazing."
Judge for yourself over at the TBProAudio website, where you can download a demo or get GainRider for €59.