Harrison Consoles: Xtools


Xtools are audio processing plugins for Harrison Xrange digital consoles. A typical Xtools collection consists of an audio looper, 32 lookahead bus limiters, and 8 selectable plugins. Multiple Xtools engines can be installed, forming a scalable, powerful signal processing matrix which complements the existing console DSP. The Xtool plug-ins are chainable and interchangeable from the router, just like any other console resource. Unlike external gear or lesser plugin formats, a floating-point "wide pipe" connection is used to get into and out of the DSP. All 32 limiters and 8 Plugins are available "at all times". Xtools share the 64-bit processing and routing capabilties of the Xrange. Unlike DAW plugins which only emulate the look of external gear, Xtools actually sound as good as the best external gear available.

The Ultimate Specialized Processing Package

The Bus Limiters, Audio Looper, Linear EQ, Multi-Band Compressor, Harmonic Notch Filter, De-Esser, Leveled EQ, Subharmonic Synthesizer, Telephone Filters, Crossover EQ, Multi-Band Expander, Insert and other specialized filters currently under development, form an on-demand matrix of hardware and software based tools, each using dedicated DSP for optimum power and flexibility. When added to Harrison's digital.engine, XTools are installed and run on a separate computer interfaced with the console's DSP and controlled from the console's control surface. With Harrison's Xrange system, Xtools may be (a) installed and run on a separate computer interfaced with the console's DSP and controlled from the console's control surface; or (b) installed in a Harrison DSP engine which has been a specially-partitioned to set aside processing power to run a collection of audio processing plugins.

Each plug-in has a rich GUI for visual feedback to the mixer, meeting the expected standard of an IKIS graphic interface.

Audio Looper

Each Xtool engine provides an "audio looping" feature of twenty seconds for “in console” sampling. This exclusive Harrison feature allows any audio signal to be sampled and looped indefinitely while the user manipulates the signal. When used with companion IKIS™ software, the Audio Looper becomes a Super Looper. Press any PFL switch to route its source audio to the looper’s input and start recording. Pressing the AFL on the same channel ends the recording process and substitutes the looper’s output as the signal source. Now you have a source signal even after your talent goes for coffee.

Bus Limiters

Typically, each Xtool engine comes with thirty-two look-ahead bus limiters. The limiters can be arbitrarily linked to accommodate mono, stereo, or multi-channel signals. Multiple combinations of transparent lookahead limiting and soft-clip limiting can be selected. Each limiter has an "anti-breathe" control which negates the "pumping" effect of a traditional limiter on difficult source material. These features combine to provide flexible multi-channel limiting of the console busses (or any other signal that you need to limit to a maximum level before the next stage of processing). Input and Gain reduction meters are provided on all thirty-two bus limiters. An optional "oversampled" mode is provided for super-critical limiting applications where intersample peaks must be detected and accommodated.

Multi-Band Compressor

A multi-band dynamic EQ specifically designed to function as a multi-band compressor. The Multi-Band Compressor can be selected to be a two, three or four band device with full spectrum frequency control for each band. The controls also include separate meters threshold, ratio, attack and release controls per band. The frequency ranges and maximum gain reduction (depth) of each band can be manipulated directly on the graphical display. The display also serves as a meter showing the dynamic EQ curve that is being applied to the incoming signal.

Harmonic Notch Filter

The Harmonic Notch Filter is a highly specialized, multi-band dynamic dip filter designed to attenuate camera motor noise. The user is able to quickly and easily apply only as much harmonic filtering as needed for the application. Each band has a broad "trough" at the bottom which makes tuning easier. Dynamics controls include variable threshold, attack, and release times. In "discrete" mode, each of the 8 notch filters may be individually tuned. Comprehensive search/solo facilities are provided for tuning. The notches are overlaid on a dynamic spectrum display which allows the user to quickly dial in the right frequencies.


The DeEsser tool provides quick and easy de-essing. You can manipulate the sibilance frequency range as well as the maximum gain reduction directly on the graphical display. The display also serves as a meter showing the dynamic EQ curve that is being applied to the incoming signal.

Subharmonic Synthesizer

The Subharmonic Synthesizer generates ultra-low frequency content based on the existing low-frequency content of the incoming signal. Individual level controls are provided for 2 subharmonic oscillators as well as an overall synth level and general "LF boost" control. There are also controls for the crossover frequency and whether the resulting output should be full-range or subharmonic content only.

Telephone Filter

The Telephone Filter allows the user to add color and texture to a signal to simulate sound through a telephone line. The filter provides a typical 300 to 3kHz "steep side" filter with additional controls such as:

  • Crackle Generator with Density and Width controls
  • Even and Odd Harmonic Distortion Controls
  • Aliasing Level and Density
  • Amplitude Modulation
  • Bandpass Filter Controls
  • Hiss Level
  • Gating and Squelch effects, with threshold

Crossover EQ

The Crossover EQ is a dual four band dynamic EQ. The Leveled EQ is specifically designed to provide dynamic switching between two EQ settings on signals with a wide dynamic range where it is necessary to EQ the signal at low levels differently than the signal at hi levels. Upper and Lower threshold settings determine the crossover range. Crossover time can be adjusted to create a smooth transition between the two EQ's. Odd and even distortion can be added to create a "warm" analog response or create a desired effect or texture. Each band in both EQ banks has multiple shape selections including bell curve, notch filter, search filter, hi shelf and low shelf.


The Insert tool provides a flexible "insert point" for an external device. The input to the device, output from the device, and the bypass path each have four bands of parametric equalization and a comprehensive set of polarity, delay and trim controls which, when combined with a smooth cross-fade function, allow you to transparently insert and remove an external piece of gear from the signal chain.

Multi-Band Expander

A multi-band dynamic equalizer is often used to remove hiss often found in the high end of a track. The Multi-Band Expander can be selected to be a two, three or four band device with full spectrum frequency control for each band. The controls also include separate threshold, ratio, depth, attack and release controls per band.

Forensic Dialog Tool

The "Forensic Dialog Tool" is a multiband dynamic EQ that is perfect for cleaning up those difficult dialog takes. Each of the 4 frequency bands can ramp between 2 independent EQ curves based on the amount of energy in the band. De-essing, de-noising, special effects and "audio forensics" tasks are possible with this powerful tool.

Buzz Kill

"Buzz Kill" is a series of hundreds of notch filters, harmonically related to a fundamental frequency. This tool is designed to clean up the harmonically-rich buzzes from lights, motors and ballasts. Ranges (low, low mid, high mid, and high) may be individually adjusted for depth and bandwidth. Each filter may also be enabled and disabled individually. For fast and accurate location of the buzz harmonics, a spectrum display (FFT) is shown on-screen. The display may be zoomed in to a very small range to allow fine viewing and adjustment.

Mag Tape Saturation

The new "Mag Tape Saturation" tool simulates the effect of analog tape. There are controls for dynamic character, low frequency saturation, and tape speed in addition to input "drive" and output level. This tool allows for a full range of tape effects, anywhere from the warm and punchy sound of a 70's feature film to yesteryear's telephone answering machines.

2-Band Dialog Denoiser

This new tool is a quick and easy way to clean up noisy dialog. 2 adaptive filters work dynamically to filter out noise, while allowing clear dialog to pass through undistorted. This quick&easy solution is a must-have tool for the dub stage.

6-Band Dialog Denoiser

This tool is a quick and easy way to clean up dialog with a poor signal-to-noise ratio, or other common difficult noise problems. The 6-band denoiser has discrete bands which can be used to filter out noise that is within the bandwidth of the program material. The 6 bands may cover the entire audible spectrum, or they may be focused on a single range (low, mid and/or high). The strength of this tool comes from the realtime measurement of noise in-between the syllables of dialog. This method of detecting noise allows the noise reduction to be very effective while exhibiting minimal artifacts. This is a Harrison exclusive technology that improves on the most-used denoising tools. Three dynamic spectrum displays show the magnitude of the program material, detected noise, and applied gain reduction overlaid simultaneously. This trio of displays allows the user to detect and fix even the ugliest noise issues with minimal effort.