TDR Nova (Quicker Review)
What Is TDR Nova
Nova by Tokyo Dawn Labs is a parallel dynamic equalizer plugin. While it appears like a standard parametric EQ, It's packed full of features like a full dynamics section, including multi-band compression.
In contrast to it's $60 bigger brother, the Incredible Tokyo Dawn Labs Nova GE (Gentleman's Edition), Nova is completely free to download.
The TDR Nova GE adds to the functionality of Nova, with more frequency bands as well as mid/side operation and a host of other features. Both plugins retain the equal loudness functions and all other parallel dynamic, expansion and equalization features.
One of the best free EQ units, Nova is extremely versatile and can fulfil a lot of utility work in your mixes. Gain structure, dynamics processing can all be handled by this tiny beast.
The main drawback to Nova is that it can be a little CPU hungry, so if you have a less capable system, try not to use too many instances of Nova, without flattening your audio.
TDR Nova is available in VST, AU, AAX plugin formats, for both Windows and Mac OS X.
Features & UI
As previously mentioned, Nova is an extremely versatile plugin, which can handle all types of different processing. You get a parametric and dynamic EQ, compression, wideband compression, multiband compression and expansion
In addition to this, the loudness equalization function means that, no matter what you do in the plugin, your overall audio gain structure should remain intact.
Nova includes four, switchable dynamic EQ bands as well as a high-pass and low-pass filter on the input to shape your sound further.
The Dynamic Equalization, frequency selective compression and expansion as well as a wideband compression mode adds to the functionality of Nova greatly.
How Does It Sound?
The Tokyo Dawn Labs Nova is not the plug-in you'll use for razor sharp precision work. In Comparison to something like the FabFilter Pro-Q3, the TDR Nova is a way more colorful effect.
Where you'd usually use Pro-Q for mixing, the TDR Nova is way more of a creative EQ. Considering it's got a lot of functionality, to quickly shape your sounds the way you want them, Nova is perfect for sound design.
The EQ algorithm is also a little sweeter than a surgical EQ. The high-end can get really sparkly and shiny with the TDR Nova, if you're going for that sort of sound.
How Does It Compare To Other EQ's?
Comparing the Tokyo Dawn Labs TDR Nova to other EQ's is quite hard. As an EQ all on it's own, there's nothing that really makes the Nova stand out.
The added functionality however, is what what really makes the plugin shine. While Nova is not the most precise EQ, only offering 4 bands, the full dynamics section as well as gain equalization, makes Nova an amazing pickup.
It's got such a beautiful, sweet sound to it that you just won't find anywhere else. And, the fact that it's free for all that functionality, is beyond us.
In our opinion, the king of all software EQ's is Pro-Q 3 and while Nova does not beat Pro-Q, it stands comfortably alongside. For a free plugin, that's pretty damn amazing!
Using these plugins for different purposes is going to give more versatility to your production workflow. Using a one-size-fits-all approach will always bring compromises, and Nova is a great tool for an important job.
What Is A Dynamic EQ
A Dynamic EQ is a kind of Equalization processing unit, which reacts dynamically to your audio, depending on the threshold and gain set. It almost acts like a multi-band compressor, but provides a much cleaner sound as it's not ratio-driven.
A standard EQ works by changing a certain frequency range, by a fixed amount of gain. Whether that's cutting or boosting, the “fixed” part is what matters here.
A Dynamic EQ reacts to the incoming audio signal, and depending on signal intensity, increases or decreases the gain, depending on your set threshold. It's essentially like multi-band compression, without the compression part.
In simpler terms, if you are using a high-shelf to boost everything above 4kHz, you could use a standard EQ, which would boost the entire frequency range. A Dynamic EQ would only boost these frequencies, when they're quieter, essentially leading to a more balanced EQ response.
Dynamic EQ's are great for adding shine to your top-end, without making it sound harsh. You can also soften a harsh hi-hat's or a snare by dynamically adjusting the high-end of the signal.
Is TDR Nova Free?
TDR Nova is entirely free. Not a demo, or “lite” version, but just… free.
If you're loving Nova a lot, but want a bit more depth control, the TDR Nova GE might be for you. The Gentlemen's Edition of Nova has the same great sound quality and wide range of features like parametric equalization, dynamic eq, multi-band and gain equalization.
In addition to this, you'll also get more EQ bands, than the free version, as well as a mid/side mode, expansion and other controls.
The TDR Nova GE version is available on the Tokyo Dawn Labs website, for $60.
TDR Nova and Nova GE is available in VST, AU, AAX plugin formats, for both Windows and Mac OS X.
TDR Nova (Quicker Review)
TDR Nova is one of the more powerful and versatile EQ's on the market, and it's FREE on the Tokyo Dawn Labs website.
Whether you're a power user that dives deep into all settings and controls, or a beginner, Nova is a great and powerful effect for your sound design.
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Toms is a music producer & DJ, born and raised in Post Soviet Latvia. Currently based in Brighton, Toms has had over 6 years of experience with all things production and in that time, he's done a tonne of cool stuff! He's played multiple festivals, had experience in the field with mixing & mastering and even become a freelance journalist in the music industry.
Toms currently creates music under the alias Sovereign. Producing music that's intimate and subtle, while full of edge and energy, the young producer combines the artistic sounds of Trip Hop artists like Massive Attack, with the energy and youthfulness of producers like Flume, Jamie XX and Yaeji. You can check his stuff on Soundcloud.