Review: frei:raum by Sonible

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Frey-rarwm? Free-roam? Freighee-raaoom?

We’re not sure how to pronounce it but we’re damned sure we love it. Sonible’s smart EQ plugin “frei:raum” is a little bit of audio magic for mixing.

Get Smart

Wanna know what makes this EQ so smart? Well it’s definitely more than an EQ. As in, it’s also a tool for controlling the amount of room or reverb in your audio, and it’s also transient controller… but also it’s an EQ with a special talent.

The EQ section of this plugin can act as a regular boosty/cutty type EQ like any other but where it really does get smart is when you click the magic wand icon next to one of the bands. You are then given the option to let frei:raum learn a bit about the source audio by clicking the little red dot and playing it some sounds.

The plugin analyses the audio for a few seconds and uses what it learns to precisely shape your smart EQ changes based on the actual harmonic content. So when you pull the band up it only actually increases the level of specific frequencies, and it even reduces the level of others. What it’s doing is boosting the good harmonics and cutting the nasty resonances. The result is a subtler, but more ear-pleasuring boost in the desired area.

This is amazing on full mixes where you just want to add some body in the mids, or some air to the high end, without overdoing it. It’s also great on individual tracks for bringing out the character of a source without also dragging it’s nasty side into the limelight.

It’s more than smart, it’s freaking genius. A very handy tool to have for your mastering chain.

But wait… there’s more!

Yup. As hinted at earlier, frei:raum is actually made up of three ‘layers’. As well as the smart EQ section we also have Proximity and Entropy layers.

These are two more really valuable mixing tools. Proximity is used to control the amount of reverb in a sound. You can use it to pull back the room sound from recording in a less than perfect location, or at the other end of the scale it can be used to make a drum recording sound like it’s in a huge space.

The Entropy layer behaves like a multi-band transient controller by letting you boost or cut the harmonic or inharmonic elements of a sound. Another very useful mixing tool.

Pretty impressive, huh?

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