Wether you use self-created MIDI loops, or audio loops from sample packs, adding motion to loop based music can be a vital part of producing a final version. DJ/Remix style glitch, gates, chops and stutters can help to move a track forward by adding much needed variation. We'll look at 5 different plugins of this type suited for processing a mix, or for individual instrument tracks.
In the audio examples below, all the plug-ins are individually processing the entire song on the master track. When choosing the effects for this article, it was important that none of them added any coloration when not processing the incoming signal. This way you can easily leave them enabled on the master output without worry, and of course on individual channels/buses too. Also important was either a click-less ability to enable and bypass the effect, or an internal fade/bypass. Easy setup was also a requirement, as all 5 plug-ins do not require any side chain configuring making them quick and easy.
|Editor's Note: We've featured iZotope's Stutter Edit and BreakTweaker in previous articles about glitch and stutter effects, and although they're not given proper mention in this article, we do recommend you check them out as well!|
First up let's look at SugarBytes Looperator. This fun new plug-in allows you to chop up the incoming signal into 16 synchronized slices. All 16 of them are processed in their own private space and never bleed over to the next'¦ so Looperator is the closest thing to an actual handmade audio edit as you can get in a plug-in. You can easily repeat and rearrange slices in any order, but that's just the beginning. All 16 slices can be processed with loopers of different speeds, filters (including vowel type), envelope/gates, vinyl tape stops, and more. The built-in bypass button allows you to conveniently stop and start processing without any noticeable click, or you can use the Dry/Wet slider to move between the un-effected and effected sound. In the audio example below (and on each of the 5 reviewed effects). The first 4 bars are the raw unprocessed track, then effected by the plug-in, then faded out.
Audio Sample 1:
Glitch Bitch by default is disabled which makes it perfect for creating glitch/stutter effects. The idea is that the processed song, bus, or musical part is totally unaffected until the Glitch button is pressed. Since these type of effects are meant to be left on all the time, this make a lot of sense. The large 'glitch' button in the center of the effect turns the effect on and off, and can be easily automated specifically. When enabled, you can trigger perfectly synchronized repeats. The size of the repeat is easily selected with values like 1/4, 1/16, etc. These repeats can be set to play out for specified lengths of time like 1/4 notes to 2 bars (or more) in length with the 'Length' parameter. They're then processed with low pass/high pass filters, semitone pitch intervals, panning, gates, and more. Of course, all of the effects can be sequenced over the chosen length with independent envelopes. Despite a somewhat small and semi-confusing interface, this one has one of the most dramatic and musical sounding results.
Audio Sample 2:
Sequential is a step sequencer that can be used to blast in cool effects like multi filter types, bit reductions, drive, chorus and flange effects. When triggers are placed all the way across the original lane the effect is completely bypassed. You can then start to add various triggers on the various effect lanes. The sequencer area can be set to various lengths like 1 bar up to 32 bars, and when used with the 8 different snapshots, you can sequence up to a 256 measure song. The Dry/Effect blend doesn't look controllable via automation, but you can easily use you're DAW's bypass button to undetectably turn the effect on and off at will.
Audio Sample 3:
Need a reason to use the built-in knobs on your keyboard controller? If your controller has a set of 8, you'll love Turnado. Like Glitch Bitch above, Turnado starts you out clean with no effects. After assigning your keyboard knobs (or by just using the virtual ones on the interface), you can twist your way to a huge collection of effects like loopers, pitch effects, filters, gates and way more. Unlike most of the other effects in this article all the individual processes are highly tweak-able. When you click the edit button on any of the 8 effects, and elaborate display of parameters will appear for each. Sequencing effect patterns is not really Turnado's intention, even with it's 'Dictator' function, it's meant more to be used in a live manner by recording the knob movements via automation while the song plays back. In most DAWs however you can easily write blocked/snapped automation to trigger the 8 different effects as I did in the audio example below.
Audio Sample 4:
Loomer Sequent gives you filters, delays, gating, loopers and more that can be chained together in different ways. You place virtual cords between these effect blocks like you would on a modular type synthesizer. Each of the different modules have their own separate step sequencer that can be set independently for creating long constantly changing patterns. The Looper effect block is definitely the standout of the various ones within it. Not only do you set the triggers on the built-in sequencer, but things like reverse, pitch, pitch decay, and length. Many of the parameters allow you to modulate them with randomizers too. There's a great 'Crossfade' knob in Sequent that allows you to move between the totally unprocessed sound and the fully processed. You can patch this together in the plug-ins router. In the example file and image below I used the Crossfade knob to do exactly this.
Audio Sample 5:
Each one of these great effects have demo versions, so check them all out and make your own decision. For simple quick and easy stutters/glitches try Looperator and Glitch Bitch. But for more elaborate ever changing effects try either Sequential, Turnado or Sequent. Thanks for reading!
|Editor's Note: We've featured iZotope's Stutter Edit and BreakTweaker in previous articles about glitch and stutter effects... and although they're not given proper mention in this article, we do recommend you check them out as well!|