Audio plugins had been invented to replicate analog signal processors. With enhanced processing power and decreasing prices of modern computer hardware, the digital signal processors became very popular and affordable to the big majority of people interested in music production.
Nowadays the market for audio plugins is vast and a common laptop pc can replace a conventional analog studio for most purposes. Also digital processing opens the door to go beyond the physical boundaries of analog devices.
Some of the more recent developments involve artificial intelligence to the process. The first product I came across was Ozone by iZotope, Inc. It is a mastering suite with various effects included. There is a feature called “mastering assistant” which will “listen” to a portion of your audio and make a suggestion of how to set the parameters for EQ, maximizer, etc.
At the All Around Audio Symposium in St. Pölten (November 2019) we have seen a talk from an employee of Sonible GmbH, a Graz based company for audio products. He presented their equalizer plugin “smart:EQ 2“. Similar to Ozone it analyzes your audio and generates a custom filter curve to create a natural sounding tonal balance. What I found very interesting here is that you could save and exchange your custom profiles to achieve your desired sound even faster.
Of course, those plugins will not replace a professional sound engineer anytime soon. But the results are quite impressive from an amateur perspective and can speed up the workflow of an expert by providing a solid foundation for further tweaking and fine-tuning.