Today has been an extremely busy test day for me. As some of you might noticed from my twitter feed or from a previous post, right now I’m actively testing surround up-mixer plugins. A few words on the test process.
Versatile demo session
Before I even began asking for demos, I prepared a test session that contains lots of different material, almost everything one can possibly imagine:
- Classical music (original stereo mix)
- Classical music (stems created from original multitrack)
- Pop/rock stereo and stems
- Individual instruments (mono and stereo – from snare through guitars to grand piano)
- Foley only (mono)
- SFX only (mono and stereo)
- Atmospheres (mainly stereo)
- Snippets from complete stereo mixes (both drama, music, etc.)
Well, maybe some of my test material seem strange to you, namely dialogue for example, but I really want to hear and know what these plugins can or cannot do. And the only way to really judge them in my opinion is to force them to do weird things. Things you probably never want to do on real material, but it’s really nice to know the boundaries. With the insane deadlines I seldom have the luxury to experiment so I thought this is the perfect time to go wild.
Besides the up-mixers, I’ve set up the session with some cool surround tricks I usually use, just to check how these up-mixers behave, what they can really offer me what I can’t do otherwise. Note that I’ve done quite a lot of up-mixes without any special plugin. The reason I would like to have one is that this process is very laborious. One have to use many different tricks to up-mix a material and as every show/song is different, you can’t escape but test your methods on every occasion. As I don’t really have time for this, I decided I need a high-quality up-mixer plugin.
Lost sense of time
I thought I’m seriously organised, even made detailed notes on what to check, what to look for, but honestly I didn’t think that it’s going to take so unbelievably long. I always read the manual before start to use the software so I was familiar with all the functions, all the advanced settings and yet here I am after a good 10 hours of active test, and frankly I’m not finished yet…
My original plan was to quickly and very effectively test the two main candidate and then do a direct comparison, so at the end of the day I’m going to know which is the clear winner for me, ready to purchase it. Now, here I am, tired, writing this blog post, knowing that tomorrow is going to be the very same, with a different plugin. And still, I’m curious like a child.