A transient shaper, also known as a transient designer or modulator, is a type of audio processor that is very similar to a compressor. The transient shaper is a level-independent dynamic processor. A transient is a high amplitude, short-duration sound that is placed at the beginning of a waveform that appears in percussion sounds. These types of processors have a non-harmonic sound content that can have great impact over brightness, character and the perceived distance of a sound.
Within the audio engineering universe, it’s essential to place elements right in the mix. This being said, it is extremely important to differentiate between the presence and domination with percussive sounds. The transient shaper can be very useful in this process. SPL revolutionized the music production and recording industry by introducing the transient designer hardware effect processor. This processor used a combination of voltage-controlled amplifiers, known as VCAs, as well as envelope followers to lock particular areas of a sound’s transient events. It’s worth mentioning that the differential envelope technology allows the production of level-independent dynamic processing.
The transient designer can transparently shape the attack and sustain of a sound’s feature. This process can be attained no matter their level they are in and without the need for threshold and other parameters found in the compressor effect. The transient shaper is extremely useful since the desired effect can be achieved at maximum speed.
Nowadays, the transient processing hardware unit or software plugin has two main controls: attack and sustain. By controlling the attack level, the player can have control of the presence of a sound. By changing the sustain level, the player can change both the room and density of a sound. This effect can be used in instruments that have clear transient in their signals. Currently, there are many hardware and software versions of this effect that operate fairly similar.