Unveiling Sonic Sorcery: Elevate Your Listening Experience with the Mind-Altering Powers of Our Psychoacoustics Audio Plug-In “FiDef!"

#004 Unveiling Sonic Sorcery

Unveiling Sonic Sorcery: Elevate Your Listening Experience with the Mind-Altering Powers of Our Psychoacoustics Audio Plug-In “FiDef!”

…as Jayson Tomlin, inventor of the process and friend of us at MAAT says, “FiDef is weird mojo.” That about sums up what is – to some a valuable tool and, to others, a hoax or “snake oil.” Let’s look back for a moment to gain perspective, then turn to the future to see what’s next for this crazy product.

FiDef started as a question…Jayson Tomlin is an experienced musician and audio engineer, having worked in our business for many decades. In Tomlin’s mind, there was a gap in understanding why live music could sound so engaging while a recorded version of that same performance could fall flat. Regardless of the lengths an engineer went to capture the highest possible fidelity, the result simply was not the same as the real thing. So, he started digging and, after several years of listening and experimenting he thought he had found something, so he dragged in a physics and coder colleague who has created some audio algorithms we all hear every day. Together they created FiDef, a plug–in that generates low amplitude correlated noise.

FiDef is “correlated” to the incoming audio, using the input data stream to fashion a shaped collection of noise components that complement the material. It’s low enough in amplitude that you don’t ever have to worry about peak limiting, yet it’s high enough that a lossy codec won’t toss it out without mercy. Amplitude–wise, it’s in that Goldilocks Zone with tape hiss and guitar distortion so it always makes it to the listener’s ears.

What, you may ask, makes FiDef so special? Well, it’s that secret sauce of shaped noise. During development, realtime MEG brain imaging tests confirmed that FiDef was working subconsciously to positively influence the brain of a listener. Being a subconscious process, you as an engineer cannot reason your way through this like you can with a compressor or EQ, you have to purposefully turn off your concrete analytic engineering mindset and listen like a consumer. That is, listen for entertainment and enjoyment. When you relax and take a naïve approach, you’ll experience the weird wonder of EQ’ing without EQ’ing, of modifying the soundstage without changing the gain of anything, and of falling in love with a performance that otherwise was just meh.

At present, the FiDef Profiles are designed for broad strokes. Think mastering workflows. That doesn’t mean you can’t apply FiDef to stems or individual mix elements. On the contrary, we highly recommend you try that! What we are now workin on are Profiles designed as special effects; for timbral sculpting; for image and positional alteration; and for focusing the listener’s attention on one aspect of an instrument. We’re beta testing now and will be rolling out these new Profiles going forward.

If you have a fun FiDef story, I’d love to hear about it. Write to me at [email protected] and let’s connect. For those of you who “get it,” we at MAAT and FideliQuest thank you. We have had fun working on and with FiDef, and we hope you enjoy and creatively exploit this new weird mojo!

P.S.: This is what Rik Simpson – Grammy–award Winning Producer, Mixer & Musician (Coldplay, Jay Z, Marianne Faithful, Portishead) says about FiDef:

“I’m loving FiDef JENtwo, well done for making it! I know it was fairly contentious upon release but it’s all over the records I make and I thank you for making it.”

Rik Simpson

July 2023 by Oliver Masciarotte