POWAIR by Sound Radix Review
POWAIR by Sound Radix is a loudness leveler, compressor, and with brick-wall limiter features.
Sound Radix is the company behind Auto-Align, Drum Leveler, Muteomatic, Pi, SurferEQ, and now POWAIR. The company goal is to develop innovative software tools to help mix & mastering engineers as well as the composer to achieve the best sound possible. The approach is based on smart algorithms, and easy-to-use interfaces. The team consists of Nir Averbuch, Yair Chuchem, Dan Raviv and others. Sound Radix did send a review copy with no strings attached.
After purchasing POWAIR, you receive a code that you need to register with the iLOK copy protection tool by using your iLOK ID and activate the plugin in iLOK. The plugin can be installed on Mac & PC supporting VST2/3, AAX and Audio Units.
The leveler is an ITU-R BS.1770-4 (Loudness, K-weighted, relative to full scale) compliant. Loudness management is used to ensure that the listener has an enjoyable experience while listening to music on YouTube, iTunes, Spotify, TV, and big screen. In a nutshell, loudness management is important to ensure that your music sounds the best where ever it is distributed and played by the end user.
The compressor includes gain detection also reduction engine, which helps you to apply fast gain changes and reducing artifacts like distortion with the adaptive response algorithm included which react on the source material. While other compressor tents to emulate hardware (which is nevertheless a right approach) the plugin developer has taken a step back and come up with a new innovative and great working way. The reason is that in their thinking process they want to design cutting-edge plugins to help you to be successful, also using technology that was not possible to develop in hardware. You find hardware based modeling in so many other plugins. To be honest, I have a hard time to hear the promised color of plugins that are modeled after vintage devices.
With the punch feature, you have control over the transients’ levels during the attack stage and can shape the transients’ lengths while preserving peak levels. Sound Radix also introduces what it called Adaptive Compression. This feature is aiming to maintain an average natural sounding compression consistently result in a score. You can easily compare those compressions with a dry/wet control that if not all compressor comes with. Also, you can use filter functions to manage band-pass and side-chain. Some users did report a higher CPU usage, which I did not see at all on my system.
There are some presets included, and you can add your own.
User interface & Usability
The interface is slightly busy and complicated. For ease of use approach, it should be more straightforward and even less feature & tech-driven. For a more technology savvy person end experienced mixed the UI is quite handy. When you do not have a mixing or mastering background, the UI looks complicated to you, and you need to invest time to learn how to use it.
Rating: Four out of five stars
POWAIR is a brilliantly smart plugin. It is an excellent compressor for mastering and on induvial tracks/groups and sounds great on vocals. With the Punch control, you have full control over the transients levels during the attack stage. This allows you to shape the length of the transient while controlling peak levels. With the Adaptive Compression, the result is an average compression, with natural dynamics and the so wanted glue to keep physical dynamics and the mix together. You can use this compressor and get shielded from artifacts or dynamic inconsistencies as you can see in other compressors on the market.
Area of improvement: The UI could be enhanced and simplified for users that have less of a mixing and mastering background or overall are new to compressor plugins. If you are an experienced mixing and mastering engineer, this is a non-issue, and the rating for you would be Five out of five stars.