SPL Transient Designer plugin review

Submitted by on Apr 18, 2011

What’s good fam, back at you with another review.

Wanted to take a look at another fx plugin that I find pretty useful.

This one is from SPL (Sound Performance lab) and it’s called Transient Designer

Let’s check it out

So what is Transient Designer?

It’s a plugin based on the original hardware transient designer.

The tool has two controls, attack and sustain, and allows you to adjust the gain or reduction of attack and sustain on whatever you wish.

You know I like simple plugins and to me it doesn’t get much simpler.

If you have a snare or other sound that has a huge reverb tail on it, maybe you sampled it or recorded it that way, but want to change it, this allows you to do so.

Similarly, if you have a percussive sound that doesn’t quite have the “bite” or “snap” you need.

You can adjust the attack with this plugin without having to layer or apply tons of eq tricks.


Quick Specs

  • format: vst, au, rtas, tdm
  • price: 99 euro (about $142)

How does it sound?

Well, considering it’s not an instrument, how it sounds depends on what you’re trying to do.

Personally I like to use it on snares, claps, and other percussive sounds when I need to introduce a bit more “slap” to get them to cut through the mix.

Sometimes you don’t need to alter sounds by layering, or you don’t want to, but you still want to increase the immediate attack of the sound.

I find this adds just the snap I need.

Also, when sampling from vinyl or other sources, sometimes there’s a bunch of verb or extra “tail” on my drums, this tool let’s me tame that tail very quickly to get a much cleaner sound.

I’m sure there are many other ways people use it, on instruments, vocals, whatever.   For me, it’s a drum shaping tool, and in that respect, it works well.

So what’s the bottom line?

Tools like this are very specific and depend on what you’re looking for or what you need. If you’re always shaping drum sounds and know exactly how you want them to sound, this could become a pretty common tool in your toolbox.

With such a simple and direct method of operation, I don’t get lost in settings, I just adjust my attack, sustain, maybe the output, and I’m good.

I give this plugin 4 out of 5 subs, really simple and effective.

It’s much more precise than a normal compressor or limiter we sometimes use to get the punch and smack from drums, it adds just that percussive attack you need to get your drums to cut through.

Great thing is, they have demos for all of their plugins, they even have a free eq plugin, so definitely check them out: http://spl.info/software/transient-designer/short-description.html

leave me a comment below, let me know what you think


  1. Jon says:

    $140+ tho? lol

  2. VIVIDRUSH says:

    Dope, will give a try sometime this weekend, Thnx for the review as always STJ!!!!!

  3. VIVIDRUSH says:


  4. Quest says:

    I guess a good question would be: why would I use this for drums when Poise does all of this and then some? Output gain/complete attack sustain decay control/and even some effects! For much cheaper than this one trick pony. Is the sifgnal processing on it noticeably better?

    Great look on Poise by the way, I was using it this weekend on a session. It’s BOSS. Super intuitive.

    • saintjoe says:

      @Quest, what poise does it totally different, it doesn’t change the character of the attack on a drum it can only work with what’s there, you can’t increase the attack. Basically Poise has a basic adsr envelope that you find in any sampler. This will actually add attack to the drum, not just take it away.

      General envelopes either leave the attack at 100% meaning, exactly how it is when you load it, or they take it away, you can’t add attack to anything with a basic adsr envelope found in most samplers.

      So that’s the difference. For example, if I load a clap in poise, with the attack at 100%, it sounds exactly how it does when I load it, I can’t increase that attack to make it snap more, etc.

      • Quest says:

        @saintjoe, I see, so the only difference is the “attack” dial. .I wonder what it’s actually doing. Probably just samples the actual attack of the drum you selected and sums it to the wave. As if you were layering drums.

        That would be a time saver and useful for sure. Again pricey for that one trick though. Thanks for clearing that up!

        • saintjoe says:

          @Quest, well I wouldn’t say “just” the attack, the sustain dial as well, it’s a very specific tool, based on their hardware tool that does the same. Also remember, it’s not just a drum tool, that’s just what I use it for, it can be used to tame vocals or even used by live sound engineers, just depends.

          Again, it’s a pretty specialized tool, so it’s a matter of if you have use for it or not.

          I found it useful for drums but that’s just me, others may use it for other things.

  5. Nick says:

    The price is very high….may be because of its high quality……am i right?

    • saintjoe says:

      @Nick, high compared to what? As with anything else, price is very subjective, they have free demos, so folks can check it out for themselves and see what they think.

  6. xavier.p says:

    hmmm…could be usfull for me as i love messing with my drums, but only if the price was more reasonable i would get it. i mean 142$ isnt alot of money but its alot when u dont have money, but still it is priced a lil high. Thanks for the review saint joe

    • saintjoe says:

      @xavier.p, no doubt, I look at it like this, if it’s something you could really use, then it isn’t priced high, if it’s just something you “may” use, then it may be too high just for a “maybe”.

      I think the price is inline with other higher end plugins from companies like UAD, Waves, etc. It’s just a matter if it’s something you would use enough to justify the price.

      thanks for the response bro!

  7. BDrake says:

    Not a bad tool but at that price I’ll wait a little while.

    • saintjoe says:

      @BDrake, thanks for checking it out. I’m kinda curious what people think a good price would be for this? I find it in line with most fx plugins around actually.

      • BDrake says:

        @saintjoe, Your right but it’s not that must have plugin for me which lowers the value of it. So I guess it depends on the user. I think its definitly handy just not tempting enough to spend $140 right away.

  8. sky says:

    simplicity is best.

  9. eric lam says:

    I got really into the enveloper in logic. This plugin is very similar. I also watched an interview with Anthony Kilhoffer (kanye’s engineer) and he said he swears by it. He used it on the lead synth sound in “ni**as in paris” to give it more attack. Dave Pensado even commented when he had him on Pensado’s Place (youtube show) how great the attack sounded. Yes the plugin is expensive but the price isn’t intended for everyone to be able to afford it. I am sure they put tons of time into getting this plug to sound perfect so the price is a reflection of the work put in.

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