1) INTERFACE The interface has some glowing and shininess going on and first of all is organized, easy to find the parameter you want to change quickly. Of course, you won't find too many knobs. I really love the frequency display. It shows exactly what the curve looks like at all times for any parameter changes. For fine-tuning, click and hold ALT and you can change knobs in a circular motion which allows you to pull your mouse away and fine-tune the frequency or any other parameters. CTRL resets the knobs. While the most important frequency knob displays value in HZ, the rest of the parameters show a value from 0.00 to 1.00.
2) SOUND What does it sound like? To sum it up, imagine the most delicious cream of wheat you've ever had. Take that bowl and throw it at your mother… let me explain.
a. PERCUSSION - You can get many totally unique sounds when processing percussion with the help of the wah-type envelope, distortion types, and delay. It's possible to get those crazy dub delay effects, which ambient and trance would benefit from, but like other delays, you'll need to spend time taming it. The comb filters and resampler are great choices for percussion as well as the more standard filters help with the common filter-fade-in/out effects.
b. SYNTH EFFECT - I don't think you'll ever need more distortion than what FilterBank can give you. I quote bobsled, "BP Dist can definitely tear your face off." From the lows to the highs, FilterBank can deliver dangerous distortions that can scream louder than the fat lady. At the same time its moog, notch, and (check it out) para BP filters do a great job in creating soft monosynths. The vocal/formant filters can really get things sounding classic, too. But if distortion is what you're after, included are some very unique distortions including Cubic, Wavewrap, Warble, and Presence which adds all kinds of fun harmonics.
c. VOICE MORPHING - It's no voice morpher but you can achieve some interesting results with the resampler filter and distortions which can make you sound like you're talking through a bad radio or distortion effects commonly used in pop music. You can achieve some funny results using the square distortion, the FM and AM filters, and the delay filtertype which can pitch your voice once you figure out how it works. However, I'd look elsewhere voice pitching.
d. SFX POTENTIAL - In my opinion, no matter what you are working with it's difficult to create musical or movie-potential sfx, but because of FilterBank's nature, the design and modulating abilities makes it possible to create interesting effects you won't find anywhere else. You'll have to listen to the mp3 demo or go through the SYNTH version's sfx and sequence presets.
e. AS A SYNTH - Absolutely ear-melting. Head straight for the presets. You will find some very nostalgic stuff like the SYN Churchorgan, SYN Theremin patches, and the SEQ(uence) patches great for trance. Of course it's very limited in programmability and doesn't have basic synth parameters, but the polysynth-only presets are great.
3) FEATURES For what Filterbank is, it's feature-full. One of the best features is the filter routing. My favorite feature is the ability to route Filter1 to right speaker and Filter2 to left speaker and then modulating their frequencies opposite of each other. Awesome for percussion effects and awesome if you want your synth to sound wide. The matrix is great because of its mod shape types. From square to circular, hard to soft, you have everything in between. The only thing is - it lacks a matrix bank. Then again it's sort of an extra. If any feature was to be expanded I'd vote on the matrix. The delay combined with the distortion can result in great ambient stuff.
You get ping-pong as well as delays that only work if you have surround-sound speakers. You can choose to route it before or after the distortion. Also, there's a huge selection of filters including things you wouldn't expect such as FM, AM, Resonator, Resampler, Comb filters. You will also see strange names like "HP SVF", "LP Oct", and "NoLP Moog." Combining this with Filter 1 minus 2 routing and unique distortions you can get some very unique filter shapes and harmonic textures.
...REVIEW CONTINUES... http://www.kvraudio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=2665450#2665450
User Interface - Well, it's easy on the eyes in a colorful way, no squinting at least, and it's a good size. The graphic waveform display is a cool addition, although it doesn't always work for me, sometimes it kind of sticks in one place for a while, or disappears, but oh well, it's just like a bonus feature anyways, and does not affect the sound at all. The knobs turn easily, and Ctrl-*click* resets them, although *shift* to fine tune would be a bonus feature. Overall a good, easy to use interface.
Sound - All over the map, as far as filters go, in a good way, tons of filters to mix and match. Beware the randomness though, you can easily get some toxic sounds fast, too fast sometimes, but hey, calm down and turn the knobs slowly eh. It seems a tad *harsh* sounding overall, at least that's the general filter sound I think of when I think of Filterbank 2, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, I just wouldn't call it all that analog sounding ya know. Perhaps with a masters' touch it could be tamed into a creamy Moog sounding delight, I just didn't hear it myself ya know. Oh, and bonus points for the 1=L and 2=R setting, talk about mind warping stereo sound yo. I ended up giving it an 8, because I couldn't hack a 7.5 into the K-v-R sever ha-ha. :)
Features - I like the step sequencer feature, that is great to me, because you can get some cool clicky, or burbling accompaniment to your sounds. The delay is a bit lacking in settings/controls if you ask me, but again, we're kind of talking bonus features here really, this is a monster mega filter plug-in. (I'd love to see an expanded delay section in the future though, that'd definitely add even more value and function to this already capable and featured filter.) The modulation routings are easy to understand for the most part, so it would have to score pretty well under user-friendliness in this section.
Documentation - I didn't read it, but that kinda tells you how easy it is to use right ? (I went and looked at the .pdf manual before hitting *post* for this review. The manual/guide looks fine, some close up pictures, some filter explanations. Good enough, could be better, in fact, could be a lot better just because there are so many filter types to mention in it, a possible thing for an update, add improved manual. *shrug*)
Presets - The presets are pretty decent, I've heard better, I've heard worse, you get a good amount (64 I think?) and there might be a 2nd bank on the Tone2 site, not sure, as I always just make my own presets.
Customer Support - On this one, it's been really good I feel. It was updated fairly promptly after being released if I recall, fixing a few issues, and the dev showed some concern and got on the problems.
Value For Money - Yes, yes it is. High marks here, especially if your budget is low, this is one to check the demo out for sure.
Stability - It has not caused me any problems, so pretty high marks here also.
Final Notes - To summarize : I just can't see anyone really not finding something to like about this plug-in. And while it's not the ultimate filter, it's certainly a good nu breed filter, and still retains a pretty wide range of sounds. It's filed under contemporary, and "best value" in my book, but that is just my opinion, grab the demo, and see what your ears think.
What a great plugin this is, hard to believe it hasn't yet been reviewed. So here goes.
The GUI- Easy on the eyes, the user interface is simple to use and well laid-out. There is even an info box with brief explanations of each control's usage.
Sound- From "subtle" to "not so subtle" to "tear your face off" FilterBank2 delivers. Quality sound, very nice indeed.
Features- Among the features I most enjoy would be the simple MIDI-learn and the randomizer. The plugin also smooths the tweaking of controls so that parameters may be adjusted "live".
Documentation- The FilterBank2.pdf manual is put together well and should answer most questions folks might have.
Presets- 100 for the synth and 86 for the effect. Impressive starting points, the presets need very little (if any) tweaking to get the sounds you're looking for.
Customer Support- Tone2 maintains a forum here on KVR and seems to respond promptly to all posts. Dealing with some of these posts must be the hardest part of any devs job.
Value For Money- An outstanding value, definitely worth the price of admission.
Stability- Very stable on my system (P4 2.4ghz WinXP SP2). Have never had any problems.
Go ahead. Buy this plugin. Once you open the the synth and the effect together in your host, you will be impressed with your wise decision and your friends and neighbors will be impressed with the sounds you're able to make.
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