The Precision Enhancer Hz Plug-In: A Specialized Tool for Enhancing Bass Perception

May 26, 2010 2:11:12 PM PDT

The Precision Enhancer Hz is the latest addition to the powerful line of plug-ins we call the Precision Mix Series. For those of you who are not already familiar, the Precision Series of plug-ins is the brainchild of UA’s own elite team of DSP gurus. For the mastering process, there is the Precision Mastering Series—featuring the Precision Equalizer, the Precision Limiter, the Precision Multiband Compressor, and the Precision Maximizer. The Precision Mix Series includes the Precision Buss Compressor, the Precision De-Esser, the Precision Enhancer kHz, and now the Precision Enhancer Hz. Be sure to visit the product page of any Precision Series plug-in to watch informative videos for each.

Each of the Precision Series plug-ins features a similar look and feature set for ease of use, so you’ll feel instantly at home when switching to another Precision Series plug-in.

Precision Enhancer Hz UAD-2 Powered Plug-In
Precision Enhancer Hz UAD-2 Powered Plug-In

So, what exactly does the Precision Enhancer Hz do? In essence, it is a low-frequency enhancer, hence the "Hz" in the name (and of course the Precision Enhancer kHz is our high-frequency enhancer). But you might be wondering,"Is that different from adding some boost to the low frequencies with an EQ?" The answer is: YES, very different!

What the Precision Enhancer Hz does differently from a typical EQ is allow the user selectively to add upper harmonics to fundamental bass frequencies, sometimes referred to as "phantom bass." Why would you want to do this? Sometimes, when you’re mixing for a system that has small speakers, you still want some low frequencies to come through. By creating phantom bass, this plug-in significantly enhances the perception of low frequencies beyond the normal frequency response of small speakers. Phantom bass is a signal that consists of harmonics generated form the original signal that are around one octave above the original note. But you might be asking yourself, "If the phantom bass is an octave up, how can it make something sound, for lack of a better word, bassier?" The answer is that UA’s algorithm is fooling your ears into thinking you’re hearing something lower than you actually are by stimulating a psychoacoustic bass-enhancing effect in the listener.

But the Precision Enhancer Hz is not just for use in mixing for small speaker systems. It is great for punching up weak-sounding samples, or controlling low synth bass tones. It can keep something sounding really big and full, but without eating up a lot of headroom with ultra-low frequencies. You can also use it to rescue old tape recordings in conjunction with the Precision Enhancer kHz. In the video, I use the Precision Enhancer Hz on a few audio examples, and explain the many ways it can benefit your mixes, no matter what style of music you do.

— Dave Crane