Modify audio signals more efficiently with NUGEN Audio SigMod

SigMod is a NUGEN Audio plug-in that lets you modify stereo signals that you normally wouldn’t be able to change in the many different ways SigMod allows you to. Sounds like gobbledygook or Chinese? Read on and it will all become crystal-clear.

SigMod is an effect that you can use to modify the signal of your audio. An example is a stereo interview recorded with two different microphones, one of which is too loud in the highs and the other too loud in the lows. It’s hard to fix this inside your DAW, using the usual tools and without breaking up the recording in two tracks, one for the left and one for the right mic.

With SigMod, you just load SigMod, set it up so that the left channel has an EQ plug-in that you set up to dampen the highs and perhaps boost the lows a bit, and the right channel with the mirroring settings — all of it in such a way that both sides sound more or less like they’re coming from the same type of microphone — and you’re done.

SigMod has 12 such modifiers, including Mid/side, Protect, Tap, Crossover, Insert,

Mute/solo, Trim, Switch, DC offset, Mono, Phase and Delay. These modules deliver new creative capabilities or compensate for a DAW that is not too capable.

Inside the plug-in each of these modules can be added, moved around and removed to create combinations of effects. The plug-in itself can be set in Stereo, dual mono, or Mid/Side mode. Because the SigMod plug-in itself is self-contained, you can add mid/side functionality to stereo-only effects such as a compressor or a reverb plug-in by adding those plug-ins to the SigMod signal path, changing the path from Mid/Side to stereo where the plug-ins sit and then back again to Mid/Side.

Mid/Side processing is generally preferred over direct stereo recording and editing, if only because it almost instantly generates good mono files. A full-scale DAW allows you to process M/S files, but not all of them do. In those cases, SigMod enables M/S processing for a very low cost. The plug-in also automatically encodes and decodes stereo to and from M/S regardless of the starting point being a stereo or M/S recording.

But SigMod offers more, both rather common features and complex ones. You can, for example, use the Protect unit across your output bus to prevent hearing damage. The Protect module is a safety module that will automatically cut in to prevent bursts of noise or feedback howls due to system errors, saving both your ears and your speakers. It comes complete with manual and auto reset options.

Tap is an example of a module that allows for parallel processing. Tap allows audio to be replicated to a second track for monitoring. The Tap module works in tandem with the NUGEN Audio Receive plug-in. With the Tap unit switched on, audio will be sent to the track containing Receive. It has the same effect as when you would duplicate the track but without the overhead that comes from actually duplicating it.

However, and this goes for the next module as well, in Logic Pro X you’ll have to ensure that the track containing the Receive plug-in has sound on it for it to work correctly. If there’s no sound region — a sine wave suffices — in the same area as the region on which SigMod is activated.

Together with Tap, the Crossover module allows you to split a signal at a specified frequency, with the signal above or below the crossover point to be passed on for further processing. This module on its own allows to remove part of a signal as well. You can send the removed signal to the Audio Receive plug-in on a different track where it can then be further processed or incorporated as is into the mix.

SigMod includes an Insert module, which is perhaps one of its most enticing features. Insert enables you to insert plug-ins that are normally not supported by your DAW or, alternatively, allows you to, sort of temporarily, split your stereo track into a dual mono track with separate plug-ins for left and right. That’s very useful — for example, when you record to stereo with two different microphones of which one has different characteristics than the other.

Other modules include Mute/solo, Switch and Trim. The latter allows you to trim the left and right sides of a stereo signal independently and Switch flips the stereo image in one click.

Is SigMod a must-have? It depends on the DAW you’re working with. Some audio workstations lack some or most of its features, but even if you’re working with a capable DAW like Logic Pro X or ProTools, SigMod comes with modules that allow for easier workflows and less system load — like the replicating Tap module.

You can download a trial version of SigMod from NUGEN Audio’s website or buy it for $49.