One of the most artist-acclaimed products in the Plugin-Alliance lineup has proven to be the SPL Transient Designer Plus. A hardware emulation plug-in, it can amplify or attenuate both the attack and sustain characteristics of sounds without affecting the overall track’s level—making it very different from a compressor.
SPL Transient Designer Plus’s $199 price probably turns away some independent electronic musicians who may otherwise be interested in it. However, Waves Audio has now released the Smack Attack Transient Shaper plug-in for $49. It can adjust the level, shape, and duration of a sound’s attack and sustain, again without altering the overall track level the way a compressor does.
Smack Attack has a user interface all its own, including a real-time waveform display. Waves seems to be aiming it at electronic musicians and bands, touting its ease of use and value for mixing drums, and adding punch as bite to synth arpeggios, stabs, one-shots, and other percussive elements. While the hype behind these kinds of plug-ins usually relates to cranking up sounds, they are also just as important for reining in sounds with over-aggressive attack or sustain.
Waves claims Smack Attack has zero latency, making it suitable for live performances, in addition to the studio. The plug-in also includes a built-in limiter/clipper, which should be very good news coming from the maker of the industry-favorite L1, L2, and L3 “maximizer” limiter plug-ins.
This video tutorial shows Smack Attack in action on a variety of drum, synth, and instrument sounds.