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So, take this review with a little bit of a grain of salt. That salt is, I've been waiting for someone to release a good 64-bit looper VST for Windows for a long time... and in many ways Enso is really good, but in others it seems either weak or not quite finished. I'm not going to explain what looping is so if you want to know more, look up "Frippertronics" or "live looping" on the web. There are tons of resources. .
Enso uses your DAWs clock to create a "tape loop" of your specified length. Unlike other loopers like Mobius, it's non volatile, meaning when you have a cool loop going and you save and quit your DAW, that loop will still be there, just as if it were a magnetic tape. Also tape like, it will allow for the changing of the speed of the tape... but here's where it gets really trippy. You can change the speed of the record head and the playback head to be different rates. The results can be totally psychedelic, in a very good way, but also glitchy. Not surprising when you're messing with the fabric of time-space. You can choose to have your "tape" pure, like a good digital copy, or you can let it run though what Audio Damage calls "FX and Levels." This include tape attributes including saturation and hiss, a low and highpass filter, and a chorus effect with rate and depth controls. I would really have liked to see some extra tape destressing features here, like tape crinkle, cross talk, wow and flutter. That said, I got some very dreamy "Frippertronics" style sounds out of it just using the low pass filter, saturation at about 30% with a schmidge of hiss. Oh, I think I used some chorus to fake a little warble. Make sure you keep the feedback under 100% or you can get in trouble. The results can be really mesmerizing.
Enso does not allow for multiple loops, but it has a thing called "sectors" that let you break a loop up into up to 4 sectors and cross fade between them by a user specified amount. You can get some kind of interesting things going on this way by breaking up a loop, overdubbing on some sectors, not on others. Great for a lot of creative "happy accidents." If you want a more RC or EDP style looper, go to Mobius though. There's no real good way to do verse/chorus/bridge type compositions in a non clumsy way. I see why they did this, as Mobius is free, but in all honesty, I think they should include those types of things in a future update just so Enso seems a bit more "feature complete."
Other things I'd like to see is better MIDI implementation. It only responds to CC, and for some odd reason, things like feedback can't be continuously controlled. (you can via your DAW) Other odd things like not being able to use CC at all to change the play and record speed feel like pure omissions. Enso is definitely a performance looper, but it seems like a lot of what would make it great in that respect has been left out.
So, I'd highly recommend getting this plugin. Like all Audio Damage plugins, there is a lot to love and they make it easy to find ways to be creative, and this one is no different. My only complaint is that they didn't cover enough of the "nuts and bolts" types of things one would expect from an audio looper. That's a shame, but it's still a plugin that's well worth having for what it is.
This is an absolutely beautiful fuzz effect preceding any clean amp combo. I tested dozens of great fuzz plugins before various amps, and this was one of the absolute finest in that role. It's now one of my go-to plugins for "fuzz pedal" effect. The filter and feedback make it quite flexible. When used as a guitar pedal prior to the amp, it is a superb tool.
Does one type of distortion but does it very well.As a free plug in this is great and well worthy of being in your plugin folder.I love the no nonsense gui, everything is in front of you and nice and clear.Another hit for Audio Damage.
Audio Damage makes some good products, but for my tastes, this just isn't one of them. The distortion it adds just sounds completely digital and "fake" to my ears. There might be some good uses that I didn't try out, but overall I just didn't care for it.
Replicant is one of my all time favourite FSU plugs.
What is FSU? I believe it stands for "Fuck Shit Up". FSU plugs usually process a stream of audio and then rearrange it, stutter it or apply a sequence of different effects.
You can use Replicant to make live glitch or possibly breakcore. But there are many other applications. For example: 1) you are jamming over a drum loop and it's getting boring as hell. Add replicant and you have a randomized, semi-intelligent drum pattern. 2) You want to create an interesting drum pattern but you're struggling with ideas. Use replicant to randomize parts of the loop and record the output. Keep the best parts and use them in your track. Or possibly recreate the best parts entirely - either way, you have something you would not have come up with yourself.
Replicant uses a circular track which I find very intuitive - other FSU tend to use a straight line. The pan, filter, and reverse effects are exceptionally well designed. Not sure why AD didn't apply similar principles to the bit reduction feature. It's very crude and typically sounds way too loud. There are limitations to the length and repeat settings, but I usually find I can work around that by stacking one or more Replicants in series - you may want to set Replicants with larger "lengths" before other Replicants using smaller "lengths".
Replicant 1.5 adds a live MIDI chop feature. This feels a bit "tacked on, and contrasts somewhat with the rest of the plug. However it works well and if you are running a randomized drum pattern you now have the option of mashing the keyboard with your hand every now and then (to create stutters).
There's also an option to randomize every variable in case you suddenly want to make some real garbage. I've just been trying to figure out what the "hold" button does but I really can't notice anything. Maybe this version has a bug or something with the hold?
I have one SIGNIFICANT CRITICISM of this plug - it doesn't handle tranisents at all well. My guess is that it does a fairly severe crossfade at the edges of the audio chunks. This means that you never get ugly sounds at the edges of the audio. However if you are running a pattern with sharp transients (at the start of the chunks) then these become much quieter than they should be. To some extent you can compensate by turning the effect volume up. But it would be SO MUCH BETTER if the plug had a crossfade variable from 0-20ms or thereabouts. Can we please see this for the next Replicant release? Please.
Rough Rider is miles away from being a "clean" compressor that you want to use on every project. It's more like an "experimental" compressor suitable for "mashing shit up".
So here's some stuff you were dying to know:
* It has a really sexy GUI. Seriously, this is one of the best-looking GUI's I've ever seen on a compressor. I wish this was something I wanted to use a lot because it sure is hot.
* Not sure if it's on purpose but the plug rolls off frequencies above 10hz. Even when it's not compressing at all. If you were even remotely thinking about using this in any "normal" way you may as well stop now.
* I would prefer numbers. Does that mean I'm not hardcore? Ratio is 1 to 1000 logarithmic. Attack sounds like it goes right down to microseconds. Release seems to have a pretty standard range (1ms-1s?) Sensitivity aka threshold goes down to -60db. Of course you don't really need to know what anything does at all. Just turn the knobs. Audio gets mashed.
* The GR gauge isn't the best ever but it strikes me as fairly accurate. The range is 30db so each one of those thin lines is 1db.
* There's a hardclip on the output at 0db. Generally not something you want in a compressor. But it helps to create some crunchy effects.
* The "active" switch is actually a wet/dry variable that you can alter within your daw. This is one of the most useful parameters. Why can't I change it on the GUI? Seems like a bad decision to hide it behind a switch.
*The dry signal bypasses the makeup and the hardclip. I find this a good arrangement. Unfortunately the gauge measures the gain reduction across the wet/dry. I find this counterintuitive and atypical for compressors.
In conclusion: It would be a big mistake to try and use Rough Rider all over your tracks like a "normal" compressor. In fact I'm not sure it belongs in the compressor category at all. It might sit more comfortably alongside distortion plugs. Also I don't think Rough Rider is really a great example of what Audio Damage do. If you don't like this plug you should check out some of their others regardless.
I went through a phase when I was addicted to trying and buying different reverbs. Reverb, to me, is one of those effects where each one you use has its own unique character; therefore, I felt it was impossible to have too many reverbs. Eos is one of the select few that I'm still happy to have purchased.
If I had to describe Eos' sound in a word, that word would be dense. Eos isn't understated. It's not for adding a little spaciousness to a sound. Eos is extremely rich and cavernous. Some reverbs need to be coaxed into sounding nice and full, but Eos needs to be tamed. It especially sounds wonderful on trance leads and anything that needs to soar and fill out its space in the mix.
The interface is pretty simple; it's attractive, and there are enough options to explore, but not enough to be overwhelming. And for $50, the price is pretty much right. I don't get as much use out of Eos as I'd like, mostly because the music I produce usually doesn't call for such a powerful reverb, but when I do need it, I'm glad I have Eos around.