Tech Tip:What Does An Enhancer Do?

An enhancer is used to add high-frequency sparkle and/or low-frequency bottom, increase clarity, and reduce muddiness. It can boost some frequencies, and reduce others. In some units, high-frequency harmonics and low-frequency sub-harmonics are added to the original signal. In other units, filters are used in a way similar to an EQ. In still others, phase relationships are realigned.




An enhancer can be used on an individual track (via channel inserts), on selected tracks (processed as a subgroup), or on a complete stereo mix. An effect can also be enhanced by patching into the enhancer via an aux send and return. Enhancers are especially good for corrective measures, when EQing can't bring back lost frequencies. However, it's easy to use too much.




An enhancer can also boost the noise level, so if the signal is particularly noisy, either use one with built-in noise or hiss reduction or don't enhance. Be sure that your speakers can reproduce boosted bass frequencies; if they can't, you might add too much bass without realizing it.




Another danger is that your ear may become overly accustomed to an enhanced mix, so you might think you need to add more than necessary. Use the bypass to compare the enhanced mix with the unenhanced mix. Listen to the unenhanced mix for a few minutes or more, and then go back to the enhanced version to determine whether you still need so much. It may help a lot to rest your ears for an hour or so, then check on the amount of enhancement again. Another strategy is to set your enhancer where it sounds good, then reduce the settings slightly.