A POINT OF VIEW: Un-compressing Recordings (Expansion)


I've had a DEQ2496 in my system for years and I have occasionally played with the expander to counteract the effects of heavy dynamic compression on recordings. It never really works though, because you'd need exactly the opposite settings used for the recording. Most recordings these days will have a multi-band compressor applied during mastering and the settings might also change depending on the section of music. So a single-band stereo expander never worked well.

I've just been looking at a cheap way to get digital I/O on my PC as I plan to move my Lynx card to another system at some point. I came across the Sound Blaster X-Fi series and reading on Wiki about the various models they mention a feature called 'Crystalizer'. Basically it is a multi-band expander that dynamically adjusts it's settings to improve dynamics.

I don't know if it it done in software of on-chip but it sounds interesting. If this could be done well it might be one of the biggest upgrades for audiophiles! Has anyone tried this feature on the Creative cards, or know of an advanced plug-in that does similar for PC audio?

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