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Solera v3 - Mastering The Art of Dynamics!
[AAX Native/DSP 32 & 64 bit*]
How do you:
Compress the sound increasingly without losing the nuance and without adding pumping?
Make a compressor that can add loudness whilst keeping the sound airy, preserve fast transients, subtle distinction and undertone?
Make a processor that can recover lost dynamics?
In order to achieve all these things, as well as any other imaginable dynamic processing assignment, a full set of dynamic processors working together on the same processing task is required - Solera v3.
User Interface And Workflow
The Solera v3 dynamic processor combines the power of a compressor, expander, de-compressor and de-expander, all four available direct through the user interface, processing in parallel.
To provide the best means for the analysis of the material, a side chain section featuring a three-band equalizer to generate frequency sensitive processing, as well as input options for an external side-chain signal, is provided.
In order to further enhance the workflow, three release modes are presented; manual, auto, and advanced (with minimum and maximum release values fully adjustable), as well as an auto delay function allowing for zero attack times by introducing a delay line in the processed signal.
The user interface in Solera v3 is designed for simplicity. In addition to the dynamic processing section a vast range of functions are provided to simplify the workflow and to facilitate the achievement of exceptional results. Some of the key functions are:
Generous -/+ 48 dB input/output gain range
Phase invert of the processed signal
Dry/wet control offering true parallel dynamics processing
Discrete peak-limiter rounding peaks off in a smooth and musically fashion
True bypass control routing the incoming signal direct to the output for a smooth transition between clean and processed signal
Morphing slider for seamless transition between two explicit full parameter-sets
Solera v3 is unique in its kind as it offers two different methods to analyze the signal-processing base. Either by using a straightforward detection process that generates an RMS detection value based on the signal level, the foundation of dynamic processing. Or by using a more complex detection algorithm that generates a dynamic detection value based entirely on the signal's dynamic complexity and not on traditional peak or RMS detection schemes, generating a dynamic value instead of relying on the signal level alone.
Solera v3 presents two parameters that are kind of unique to dynamic processing, Dynamics Ratio and Level Independent Detection (L.I.D), using the dynamic range content of the signal and not just the signal levels as standard processors do.
Dynamics Ratio is controlling the amount of auto-ratio determined by the signal dynamics and the manual ratio setting.
Level Independent Detection (L.I.D) controls the amount of auto-threshold determined by the signal dynamics and the manual threshold value. A Maximum mode can be engaged on the L.I.D control, allowing for processing that accounts for the maximum values of both the standard and the L.I.D detection schemes.
As all Flux:: processors Solera v3 provide up to eight channels of simultaneous processing for multichannel/surround operations.
Solera v3 Signal Processing Features
Input/Output gain controls for adjusting the levels before and after processing.
Phase invert of the processed signal.
Dry Mix control (Dry/Wet with gain compensation) allowing for parallel processing or for blending some of the original "peak" into the processed signal.
Clipper, a discrete peak limiter at the very last stage of the processing chain rounding off the peaks smooth and musically.
Bypass routes the incoming signal direct to the output for a true smooth transition between processed and clean signal.
Solera v3 Preset and Parameter Handling
To enhance the workflow the two Preset/Parameter slots, A and B, can be loaded with two full set of parameters at the same time. Apart from saving each preset, a "Global Preset" containing both the A and B settings, and the position of the "Morphing Slider", can be saved.
Parameter Morphing Slider with Automation:
The Morphing Slider provides morphing between the parameter settings of slot A/B allowing for really creative and useful real-time tweaking. Enabling the Automation control button exposes the Morphing Slider to the host automation.
Input/Output Gain, Phase and Dry Mix Controls:
Plug-in Input and Output Gain controls for adjusting the levels before and after processing. Phase, inverts the phase of the processed signal. Dry Mix control (Dry/Wet with gain compensation) allowing for parallel processing or for blending some of the original "peak" into the processed signal.
Clipper (Limiter), Link ch. and Bypass controls:
Clipper, a discrete peak limiter at the very last stage of the processing chain rounding off the peaks smooth and musically. Link Channel, provides linked/unlinked processing (in M/S mode). Bypass routes the incoming signal direct to the output for a true smooth transition between processed/clean signal.
Metering and general plug-in settings:
Metering (VU not Peak!); Input, Output, Dynamic Processing Summing, Dynamic Difference, Level Difference (Input/Output) and Resulting Transfer Curve. Dynamic Activity (current Hysteresis threshold) and Instant Release Value information. Input Channel Processing and Side Chain Routing toggle (1-8).
Detector/Side-Chain Equalizer, a three band sidechain eq/filter providing the option to shape the sound before entering the selected dynamic detection scheme. Filter Types; Hi/Low Pass, Hi/Low Shelving, Parametric, all available on any of the three bands. Gain (-/+ 24dB), Freq. (5-22kHz), Q-Factor (1-100).
Time related Settings:
Settings for the Processing Time Envelope with advanced options for the Attack and the Release. Selection of what Dynamics Profile desired for the detection (Flux processors offer a range of different ways to detect the dynamics of the incoming signal).
A complete dynamics section with four processors working in parallel is provided. The Compressor is used to reduce the dynamic range of the material, this can be done either smooth and clean, or more obvious and pumping (as an effect).
A complete dynamics section with four processors working in parallel is provided. The De-Compressor is used to increase the signal level above the threshold, a very useful tool to restore the dynamics of the material.
A complete dynamics section with four processors working in parallel is provided. The Expander increases the signal with a certain ratio below the threshold, very useful to clean up the material from unwanted low level components.
A complete dynamics section with four processors working in parallel is provided. The De-Expander increases the signal level below the threshold according to the set ratio, to reduce the dynamics of the signal and magnify low levels.
Up to 8 channels Input/Output.
64-bits internal floating point processing.
Sampling rate up to 384 kHz DXD (Pyramix DSP based).
Sampling rate up to 384 kHz for native (AAX).
Solera V3 is available in Native version (AU/VST/AAX Native) and in DSP version (the DSP license includes licenses just for AAX DSP/Native). Click Here For NATIVE Version
The DSP based Pyramix version is available from the Merging Technologies sale network.
* Solera v3 AAX Native/DSP supports 32 bit in Pro Tools 10.3.5 and 64 bit in Pro Tools 11.
Flux Solera II Review by Garrett Haines, Tape Op
Click here for the full Tape Op Flux Solera II Review
FLUX is a French company that specializes in high-quality audio processing tools. Solera is the company’s flagship dynamics tool. And there is a reason for the name; it comes from solerais, which is a wine-blending technique used to ensure consistent flavor from year to year. That the manufacturer put this much thought into the name of a plug-in is a hint at the level of effort that went into the design and coding.
Graphically, the interface is crisp and elegant. The background is a dark gray that is soothing to the eyes and helps to offset the three-dimensional controls. Parameters can be edited by mouse or by typing specific figures in value boxes. The graphic display area, where metering and compression information are displayed, uses a black background with light grey lettering and blue VFD-style graphs. The whole presentation provides a sense of being an operator on a futuristic rocket or aircraft.
I normally don’t like to go into detailed features in my reviews, but Solera is a different kind of title, and it deserves a closer inspection. Under the hood, it is actually four different detectors and envelope generators that operate simultaneously in parallel. Re-read that sentence and let it sink in. There is a compressor, de-compressor, expander, and de-expander. Each title can be independently enabled or bypassed. You can also load two different configurations, calling one A and one B, and transition between them (even back and forth) while your track plays back! Standard controls like threshold, ratio, and knee are present and fully adjustable. However, there are even more features that keep Solera from being just another every-control-available compressor plug-in.First, metering uses RMS values instead of dBFS, which is more in line with how humans perceive loudness. Second, FLUX has spent considerable effort to create an adaptive release algorithm. The actual particulars are proprietary, but this control varies the release over time in a frequency dependent manner. Termed Angel’s Share, this parameter helps restore top-end and space where other compressors begin to sound pinched, confined, or overdone. (There is also an Auto Release function for users who prefer less tweaking.) The Hysteresis parameter allows compressing and de-compressing independently of the sound level. It can be mixed with the standard compression scheme. Next, you can insert a signal delay in the path to create an instant (meaning zero) attack time—talk about brick-wall limiting. Finally, there is a wet/dry mix feature that allows you to blend processed material with the unprocessed source.
So, we know it is pretty to look at and has immense flexibility, but how does it sound? Well, it depends how you use it, and I mean this as a complement. In mastering situations where a gentle touch is required, Solera can be one of the most transparent digital compressors you have ever used. At the same time, you can abuse the attack, knee, and ratio to make it sound horrible—just like most high-end audio hardware. For example, I was able to use a gentle 1.5 to 1 ratio for a classical piece, and it was virtually undetectable save for the loudest passages. It was almost as if Solera was not in the signal chain until the moment it was needed. While we expect this kind of performance from every plug-in, the truth is few deliver that kind of transparency. Just instantiating most compressors, even with parameters set to zero, tends to affect the sound. Not with Solera. Likewise, it's possible to use foolishly-fast release times to create hyper-pumping.
My favorite feature of Solera is the sidechain, which is called the Detector Equalizer in the GUI. There are many times when you need different compression based upon frequency. By using the solo function, you can focus on the exact "audio window" that is fed to the compressor. If that isn’t enough, you can choose filter type, gain, and Q-factor to further affect the frequency of the sidechain. This makes tasks like de-essing or taming overbearing hi-hats much more manageable. I was able to shape the sidechain to be more sensitive to these problem areas while leaving the rest of the signal untouched. Additional tweaking of the Angel’s Share control made the processing less evident—which is exactly my goal. This proves to be a better solution than applying an equalizer to the entire mix. After all, the problem sources should be attenuated only when they reach a certain point versus a full-time reduction.
FLUX also has the Pure series, which is based on Solera. Available as a bundle and separately are Compressor, Expander, DCompressor, DExpander, and Limiter. Each offers the features of one Solera component (and thus saves on CPU and screen space, as well). I’ve found myself addicted to Pure Limiter and can testify that it retains the clarity and transparency of its parent.
FLUX Solera is pleasing to the eyes and ears. It provides both flexibility and transparency and stands as one of the best dynamics processors I have encountered in a digital format. I strongly encourage readers to try the downloadable demo. In the meantime, I’m off to start using Epure, the equalizer companion to Solera! FLUX is Mac and PC compatible (AU, VST, RTAS).
Gaël Nicolas, Sound and Effects Editor
"Thanks to Flux::, and their 'Pure’ series, my sound effects are now always well mastered upon delivery to the final mix.
During the final mix of a movie it is, for many reasons, impossible to take care of each single sound effect. Due to other reasons, I have not had the right tools for the mastering of my sound effects until I recently discovered the Flux Solera II.
During the sound editing of the movie about the life of Edith Piaf (La môme/La vie en rose) we had to deal with a boxing sequence (Piaf's lover, was the middle weight boxing champion, Marcel Cerdan). The punch needed to feel strong but still stay clean, flashes needed to be sharp with real deep bass. For this important task the Solera II performed with excellence.
When recently working with an action movie containing gunfights, first I recorded the guns on four mono tracks with a Soundfield microphone in ambisonic sound format. But still after the recording session I was quite desperate to get some more power to the gun sound. Then I needed to master 5.1 channels and mono tracks as well.
For this kind of job I always use the Solera II, but in this case I needed something really strong and sharp. So for the final effect mastering I went with Alchemist and the Pure Limiter II. With Alchemist I was able to get the deep bass as well as the sharp metal component, and using the Pure Limiter II you can get a really powerful effect still with a total respect of the frequency range.
Finally, it was a big success, especially for the gunfight!
With the multi channels capabilities of the Flux:: plug-ins line, I can master my stereo files as well as my 5.1 ambisonic files and this makes also the difference.
Great sound, great functions and a really nice looking user interface!"
Jack Vad, Producer/Engineer, San Francisco Symphony
"There's no question that Solera is the best software based dynamics processor I've had the pleasure of using; the real surprise is that it's the best dynamics processor period. And since Solera solves so many of the traditional negative consequences associated with processing, we have no hesitation incorporating it into any of our various multimedia projects."