What originally started as a search to find the best sounding bitcrush/samplerate reduction solution, turned into me stumpling upon this little gem. Fell in love with the demo almost instantly, after feeding it several drumloops, 303's, chipsound riffs and basic synthesizer waves. Although I started by flicking thru the presets, within a couple of minutes I'd strayed from the beaten track and was tweaking away, moving from section to section and getting a feel of the range and quality of sounds this can do.
I'm very much into the lo-fi sound, I grew up with the crunch of both the Amiga computer's 8 bit sample-based sound system, and the 12-bit crunch of the Akai S950, tapes and record players. These systems are all flawed in a way the modern DAW is not, and recreating some of this old crusty, dusty magic is something I haven't seen an application for in the VST world so far, until now.
Because Sonitex is a collection of effects in one suite, it provides a holistic approach to adding depth and texture through imperfections. Because everything is so interlinked and many of the effects are dynamic or have the ability to change over time subtly in various ways, a true 'mulching' effect is possible, rather than simply 'filtering' or 'degrading' the sound. You can whip it up into creamy peaks or bring out certain characters of the sound in a way that working with single effects can't achieve. A freely assignable LFO and envelope follower is there to modulate virtually any parameters in any combinations, furthering the possibilities for creative, breathing effects. Furthermore, there are filters and gain stages EVERYWHERE, and because of the following effect stages, they can have a big impact on the timbral effect of the plugin.
Just about every effect required in lo-fi duties is provided, and there's no need for me to list them. I will say, however, that I frequently found myself creating effects far beyond simple muffling, noising and distorting! Mixtures of distorted flanging, enveloped or triggered-LFO filter sweeps, pitch instabilities, weird splatterings, formant effects, dymanic rhythmic effects, phasing, and generally exotic colouration jumped out at me, all with a delicious, crusty, musical character. Of particular note is the bit-crushing section (called "Sampling") which has a LOT of options to grain up and generally smash your pristine audio - one particular setting for the sample reducer is quite unlike anything I've ever heard on any effect section of this genre. This is gourmet filth, alright!
The creator has described his aims for this as both a sonic texturing plugin (hence Soni-tex, just call me Sherlock) and as a toolkit and playground (or laboratory) for lovers of the impure to cook up their own recipies for degrading, colouration and impact sweetening. In this I'd say he's succeeded triumphantly!
The last point I'd like to bring up is the GUI. It's just brilliant to look at, and to use. The little lights around the dials which show modulation, the 'traveller' style bandlimiting filter screen, the easy on/off switches for every section and some sub-sections, and the quick section-specific preset buttons all add up to making this a dream to operate.
No, this will not make you sound like a 70's rare groove band with the turn of a knob, as some might be hoping. It is simply a box of very well calibrated, musical-sounding tools. Apply imagination and talent as per requirements.
This multi-effect unit is pretty much the last word on getting lo-fi grit into your recordings, apart from cutting the wax yourself and dropping it on a turntable or loading up that 12-bit sampler with drum loops. It modifies audio in rather unsubtle ways, but does so with a keen eye to character that makes its sound very musical. This, and the fact that it covers just about every method you would want to grunge up things, gives the STX-1260 a leg up on all its lo-fi competition.
The effect is split into six sections, each of which can be enabled and disabled. In a rather smart move (and one of my favorite features), each section has its own "sub-presets" making it extremely easy to quickly dial in the sound you want. The MIX section deals with the typical wet/dry mix plus dynamics. I haven't fiddled with the compressor too much, so I can't comment on its sound. DISTORTION allows you to drop tape sat or a number of other distortions. The distortions are warm and subtle to my ears, making them perfect for adding just a touch of color without getting out of hand. The VINYL section gives you control over vinyl effects like warble and silibence. The silibence control here is particularly outstanding -- it's basically a harmonic exciter that just nails that "hissy" quality to vocals on vinyl. The TONE section gives you a colorful hig/low pass EQ, which, by itself might not be spectacular, but sound just right in the context of this plug. NOISE gives you the typical vinyl pops, clicks, and noise. Again, otiumFX gets it right with a very musical character of the grit, much moreso than iZotope's Vinyl. It also introduces interesting artifacting at high levels of noise, which can get pretty wild. Finally is the SAMPLING section, which is a bit-depth reducer with major teeth. The STX-1260's reduction sounds much more like "hardware" than any other reducer I've played with.
The plugin itself is solid, I've never had it force a crash. I have had trouble dropping it into a track while audio is play in both my sequencer and multitrack.
Overall, the VFM of this plug is excellent. It provides top notch grit with a nice entry level analog/warming functionality.
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Comments & Discussion for Tone Projects Sonitex STX-1260