New Music Gear Monday: Process.Audio Sugar Frequency Enhancer Plugin

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One of the things about mixing is that we frequently find that there’s not enough energy of one or several bands of the frequency spectrum. Mixers have been trying to find the right processor to add some of what’s missing back in for decades now with varying levels of success. Enter the excellent Sugar plugin from Process.Audio, which may be the ultimate audio frequency sweetener.

Sugar is boost-only, but it’s linear phase so its so smooth that it eliminates the harsh edge that you get with many traditional equalizers. It’s basically divided into 4 bands (Low, Medium, High and Air), and each band has an alternative algorithm. For Low you get to choose between Thick and Punch, Medium is Warm and Broad, High is Shine and Excite, and Air gives you the colorful Yin and Yang. In other words, there are a lot of different colors to choose from.

There are two modes of operation – stereo and M/S. When MS mode is selected, each band will have 2 faders. The one on the left controls the Middle part of the signal, while the one on the right controls the Side of the signal.

You can control the amount of each band by just grabbing it on the display and moving it to where it sounds good to you. If you want to control all 4 (8 in M/S) at once, there’s a big Jog Wheel master in the middle for that.

Sugar also features a Saturation control that has 3 different algorithms – drive, distort and crunch. Then there’s the linear phase variable filters with 2 different roll-offs to narrow the frequency band as needed.

I fell in love with Sugar immediately in 2 situations. The first was on a bass that just wouldn’t speak in the mix. Sugar not only put it in the right place, but added some needed bottom end without making it sound fluffy.

The second place was on my New York City Compression buss. Sugar gave it an edge as well as the top and bottom that the sound needed. I’ve been looking for the right processor for this for a long time, and I think I’ve found it with Sugar.

Sugar is available for $149 (there’s a free 30 day trial) on both Mac and PC’s in most plugin formats, but will only run on 64 bit systems. That shouldn’t be a problem if you keep your operating system up to date, but if you’re still on an old system because it’s solid, then this might not be an option for you. It also requires iLok authorization.

Find out more info here, and check out developer and engineer Fab Dupont’s excellent video explanation of the plugin below.

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