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Spatial Spectral Isolator Audio EQ in Final Cut Pro with Peel

A new audio plugin from zplane allows you to remove frequencies in the stereo image by just drawing a box around them.

I'm a big fan of Claudio Passavant AKA Dr Mix and his videos on YouTube where he experiments with new technology or recreates synth tracks of popular or older tunes.

Sometimes he will just set up his studio and jam, sometimes he'll do a test of a new piece of hardware or software and post the results. Whatever he does, he's a very talented (and entertaining) guy.

His recent video about the new audio plugin from zplane called Peel really got me thinking. Peel is an EQ (equalising) plugin that allows the user to remove certain parts of audio based on the frequency and stereo image. All the user has to do is look at the visualiser and then move a graphic box so it goes around the element you wish to remove.

There are other spectral visualisations and EQ tools out there, Adobe Audition has a few and iZotope as well, but they don't offer the one click removal that Peel allows. It's also competitively priced at under $50.

I'll include Claudio's video below, which I urge you to watch first as it he 'deconstructs' Come Together by the Beatles. This track is a good example as the instruments and voices are spread out in frequency and stereo image.

 

Of course, I wanted to find out if this plugin worked in Final Cut Pro! As Logic Pro is included on the list of compatible DAWs, it showed up immediately in the FCP audio effects browser after installation. There is a free trial that quits after 5 minutes which is handy to try it out and you'll also need to be running macOS 10.7 or higher. We think this won't be a problem as we had to Google that to realise it was Lion!

First of all, I tried Peel with an interview. Just drop the effect from the audio effects browser on to the audio component you wish to analyse and then EQ. Clicking on the plugin in the Inspector opens up the analysis window.

As this plugin displays the audio spectrum on the Y axis and the stereo image on the X axis, you can see the man's audio is right down the middle as you would expect from a mono source. Possibly you might be able to isolate a troublesome aircon or low hum/rumble this way. 

(Click for larger image, click again for pixel to pixel)

peel in final cut pro 01

 

Time for some music and a colleague's custom track really shows where Peel works with the stereo spread. 

peel in final cut pro 02

 

This is where I can see myself using the plugin, lassoing the area around the frequencies in the middle of the stereo spread that would clash with a voice. I like a 'hot mix' when it comes to balancing voice against music, there's nothing worse than just hearing a dribble of music behind a voiceover. This can be exacerbated by listening on the aurally limited speakers of a flatscreen TV.

When mixing, you can run into problems when the music track contains the same frequencies as the voice, electric guitars can be a culprit. So I tend to pull frequencies of music tracks down slightly using the graphic equaliser that is accessible in the inspector for each audio component.

I can do the same with Peel, but limit this to the centre where the voice would sit. By cutting a hole in the audio, the voice shouldn't clash with the music. Clever.

peel in final cut pro 03

 

The tests that I have done work, but is it worth $50 just to do this? I would recommend you install the free trial and have an experiment yourself.

A couple of things to note. The selection box does have width limits, but you can get a much smaller selection by using the slider controls in the Inspector. You'll also find an invert and bypass button.

I understand this is designed for DAW use, but I'd also like a slider that controls the amount of EQ applied from 0 to 100% as you might not want to take out ALL the frequencies in the box.

So the conclusion overall is that it's possibly more useful if you're a musician or remixer, but also a tool that just might get you out of a hole (literally) one day. 

 


Written by
Top BloggerThought Leader

I am the Editor-in-Chief of FCP.co and have run the website since its inception ten years ago.

I have also worked as a broadcast and corporate editor for over 30 years, starting on one inch tape, working through many formats, right up to today's NLEs.

Under the name Idustrial Revolution, I have written and sold plugins for Final Cut Pro for 13 years.

I was made a Freeman of Lichfield through The Worshipful Company of Smiths (established 1601). Though I haven't yet tried to herd a flock of sheep through the city centre!

Current Editing

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2020 has been busy, the beginning of the year was finishing off a new property series (cut on FCP) for Channel 4 called The Great House Giveaway. I also designed and built the majority of the graphics as Motion templates. It has been a great success and the shows grabbed more viewers in the 4pm weekday slot than any previous strand. It has been recommissioned by C4 for 60 episodes, including prime-time versions and five themed programmes. The shows have also been nominated for a 2021 BAFTA.

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Although both were postponed to later in the year, I worked again on ITV's coverage of the Tour de France and La Vuelta. 2020 was my 25th year of editing the TdF and my 20th year as lead editor. The Tour was the first broadcast show to adopt FCPX working for multiple editors on shared storage.

 

BBC snooker the crucible

BBC's Snooker has played a big part in my life, I've been editing tournament coverage since 1997. I'm proud to be part of a very creative team that has pioneered many new ideas and workflows that are now industry standard in sports' production. This is currently an Adobe Premiere edit.

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Covid cancelled some of the regular corporate events that I edit such as trade shows & events. I was lucky however to edit, from home, on projects for Amazon Kindle, Amazon Black Friday, Mastercard and very proud to have helped local charitable trust Kendall & Wall secure lottery funding.

As for software, my weapon of choice is Final Cut Pro and Motion, but I also have a good knowledge and broadcast credits with Adobe Premiere Pro, MOGRT design and Photoshop.

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I'm the creative force behind Idustrial Revolution, one of the oldest Final Cut Pro plugin developers. It hosts a range of commercial and free plugins on the site. One free plugin was downloaded over a thousand times within 24 hours of release.

I also take on custom work, whether it is adapting an existing plugin for a special use or designing new plugins for clients from scratch. Having a good knowledge of editing allows me to build-in flexibility and more importantly, usability.

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Fcp my bread and butter's Avatar
Fcp my bread and butter replied the topic: #112517 06 Feb 2021 11:06
way more easy to use than what we used to have in Soundtrack Pro
Ben Balser's Avatar
Ben Balser replied the topic: #112518 06 Feb 2021 13:43
This could come in very handy. Going to check it out for sure. Now, if someone would figure out how to do auto-ducking in FCPX. That lack of a true mixer with buses is working my last nerve.
Albo's Avatar
Albo replied the topic: #112519 06 Feb 2021 14:27
What I like about this is the experimenting you can do.
Sometime you need a small audio detail that contributes to an edit.
Thanks.
Ben Balser's Avatar
Ben Balser replied the topic: #112520 06 Feb 2021 18:10
Now, you could do this with the analyzer in the stock Logic EQ, but this seems to be more helpful in use to video folks, and not require jumping back and forth between settings, etc. Just downloaded the free trial, looking to try it out.