TDR Nova is a dynamic EQ (DEQ) for “special needs”.
TDR is – like VoS – one of the more popular free plugin developers. It is mentioned in many rankings, videos….
They have high quality instead of high quantity. You can also buy some of their stuff as “Gentleman’s Edition” which provides some extras that are good to have – but not desperately needed (at least by beginners). Stick to the free stuff and if you like it you can upgrade. The free Nova has “only” 4 Bands (plus high and low cuts) and a less controllable dynamic section. But still (more than) enough.
You get a high and a low pass (with crazy slopes), four bands of (dynamic) eq, analyzer for in, out and sidechain and some extra options and tweaks. (And the possibly best GUI I have ever seen in general information, usefulness and aesthetics)
Like I mentiond before the ReaEQ/ReaFir is all you need for general EQ purpose. Hence the introduction: “special needs”.
So what are these “special needs”?
There are two scenarios:
- You need dynamic eq.
- You want to boost your signal and compare it.
DEQ works like an EQ, but dynamically. (Useful, right?). This means: You define the frequency band needed. EQ it, like you would do normally. And if this band is louder than the threshold you can reduce it with a ratio (similar to a compressor*) – or even boost it (“upward compression”). This is often used in mastering or for critical frequencies. An example would be sharp “s” you’d would normaly attack with a de-esser. But here you have more control and can use it for instruments alike.
Maybe these results can be achieved with the ReaFir too – but it is not as intuitive.
Boost and compare
The Nova has an unique feature (at least I have not seen this anywhere else in free plugins) called “EQ Gain”. Activated it levels the output to the input.
This means: If your eq would lower all frequencies in a flat line, the output level stays the same. This is interesting for comparison – we usually percieve louder as better. The EQ Gain eliminates this effect (in both directions). So if many frequencies are cut and the overall level is down, it will be amplified. If some get boosted the gain will go down. It really helps to evaluate the actual change, without being misled by your ears/brain. (this is really important while boosting. While cutting it can still help.)
Why not use it all the time?
All this power comes at a cost. CPU load. Nova itself (as pure EQ) has a low load (~1,8% on FX6300) but still much higher than the ReaEQ. This is relevant as soon as you run multiple instances – not uncommon for EQ.
As soon as the DEQ is acticated the load goes up to 3-4%.
It is just perfect (and beautiful). You get everything you need, optional analyzer, graphical curve of eq and even the dynamic effects are modeled realtime.
Works. And does a damn good job.
The high load due to the dynamic stuff is comprehensible – a lower load without it would have been nice.
Personal opinion: 9,5/10
If you know what you’re doing, this thing is just great. Due to the high CPU load I’d not recommend using this as standard eq.
I use the TDR Nova on a regular basis for aplications explained above. Though not as main EQ.
*please note, that it is technically not compression. But the principles are alike, so this is just a vague explanation – the multiband compression is also not the same as a DEQ!