Transient Designers (Transient Shapers) are amazing for controlling and shaping the attack part of a sound, as well as the sustain part.
Basically you can make sounds more snappy, plucky or punchy by increasing the attack on the transient shaper plugin. But you can also increase the sustain, length, depth and room tone by increasing the sustain part on the transient designer.
Or, you could go in the opposite direction by decreasing the attack to make the sound less in your face, or reducing the sustain part to make it shorter and snappier.
There are many transient shaper VST plugins on the market, but here are my top list of recommendations for you:
5 Best Transient Shaper Plugins
- Softube | Transient Shaper
- XLN Audio – Ds-10 Drum Shaper
- Joey Sturgis Tones – Transify
- Oeksound – Spiff
- Waves – Smack Attack
1. Softube | Transient Shaper
Softube are already known for their high studio quality effects plugins, and this is no exception. It sounds very natural, and is very easy to use. The best part about it is that you can choose if you want to affect the hi band, the low band, or the complete frequency range…both with the sustain and attack knobs (called punch on this plugin). You can also adjust the cross over frequency of the bands, as well as set a fast or slow attack setting on the punch knob.
2. XLN Audio – Ds-10 Drum Shaper
While this is called a drum shaper, it is technically a transient designer and can be used on other rhythmic sounds as well. But what makes it stand out is that you actually have 2 modes dedicated to either Kick or Snare sounds. And a third mode suitable for the drum bus. The interface other than that is very simple, with the standard attack and sustain knobs, but it also features a special “mojo” knob that changes frequency focus depending on mode (kick, snare, bus). Not only that, but you can change the sound algorithm for different results (classic, natural and smooth).
3. Joey Sturgis Tones – Transify
This is a multi band transient shaper, with 4 bands with separate cut-off frequencies that you can set, as well as individual clip cirquits for extra aggressive sounds while avoiding digital peaking. You can for example tame and tighten the low end, while opening up the high end shimmering depths, which makes it perfect for use on mixing groups.
4. Oeksound – Spiff
This transient shaper works by analyzing the incoming audio signal in order to apply the processing on only the transient information of the waveform, which makes it very detailed and controlled. You can also dial in the exact frequency range for super detailed transient control, adjust the depth, sensitivity, decay etc. of the transients. And even shape where in the stereo field you want to shape the transients (mid/side). Everything outside of the boundaries of your setting will be left natural, which can help to reduce the common side-effects of using transient designer plugin.
5. Waves – Smack Attack
Waves have included some very interesting features in this transient shaper, that allows you to control both the shape (envolope) and duration of both the attack (transient) and the sustain. It also has a “sensitivity” which almost acts as the threshold on a compressor, letting you dial in how many and how much of the transients you shape.