Playfair Audio’s Dynamic Grading is an alternative to compressors

Image Credit: Playfair Audio

How would we control audio dynamics if compressors were never invented? Now, Playfair Audio seems to be answering that question with its debut plugin Dynamic Grading.

Dynamic Grading is an alternative to a compressor, whereby we can control the dynamics of our signal without the use of threshold, ratio or attack controls. Despite its alternative controls, Dynamic Grading does take advantage of some of the great compressors we know and love. But what’s intriguing is the easily adaptable display of audio dynamics that replaces the aforementioned controls.

As a result, Dynamic Grading should release your signal chain from complex plug-in pairs. You no longer have to watch a hundred or so YouTube tutorials to understand the different types of compression as well.

Playfair Audio Dynamic Grading

“Dynamic Grading makes your audio dynamics visible and tangible.” state Playfair Audio.

Dynamic Grading is an intuitive alternative to compressors.  Instead of controls like Threshold, Ratio and Attack, it uses image controls like Spectrum, Response and Release.
Image Credit: Playfair Audio

And, well, this seems to be the case. The representation of audio dynamics via a histogram is one thing, but combine it with the limited three controls and you get a plugin that is easier to understand than compressors first.

Controlling audio dynamics is an important part of music production, but the fresh approach of Dynamic Grading for them can be a game-changer. The plugin asks how we have been thinking about compressors and technical tools for so long. Previously, we had to sit and think about signal flow in complex signal circuits involving combinations of different processors. Now, using Augmented Intelligence – artificial intelligence that helps you instead of doing the work yourself – you can sculpt the dynamics like Michelango’s David did. Its simple histogram display and image controls allow you to adjust audio dynamics as well as change brightness and contrast in images.

The dynamic grading method is inspired by digital image processing tools, whereby the use of histograms and grading curves is known and established to adjust the dynamics of brightness in images. With Dynamic Grading, these concepts have been adapted for the first time and adapted for practical use in music production and audio technology.

Playfair Audio

Image Credit: Playfair Audio

The interface seems to be fairly straightforward, though you may need to spend some time using the process and getting it in hand.


Price and availability

Dynamic Grading is available now from the Playfair website for £ 167.00It works in 64-bit AU, VST3, and AAX plugin formats under macOS 10.10+ and Windows 7+.

Do you think Dynamic Grading is the first of many alternative take on audio processing plugins?


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