Hi, below I will do a mini review of each product included in the Soundtoys 5 bundle. At time of review I am using OS X 10.11.6, Protools 12.5.2 and Soundtoys 5.0.4. I've had absolutely no crashes nor found any bugs yet to speak of. CPU usage across the board is very reasonable. I'm on a 2.8ghz, i7 quad macbook pro.
Tremolator - i got to say, this tremolo is absolutely incredible. I never experienced anything like it, and i tried every tremolo plugin in existence. You can do patterns, and tons of steps per pattern as well as every conceivable sync time, but what sets it apart is you can draw the *shape* of the volume ducking, with as many "shaping" dots as you want, and then you can smooth it (or make it completely rigid like a gate), and simply click on steps to enable or disable them within a pattern. Perfect product. Every sort of tremolo sound is possible. 10/10
Phase Mistress - a bit disappointing, as it has no bass preservation (like uhbik bass sanctuary, and other good phasers which have a high pass of some kind on the signal actually being phased), so it's useless for anything with bass in it, as it increases the bass dramatically near the peak of the cycle. BUT, it has tons of emulations including classics like mutron biphase of course, a plethora of tempo sync options (incl very short or long sync times) and sounds lovely on synths and keys. 6.5/10
Filter freak - I am really not a fan of this product. I find it grating on the ear when pushed (there are various distortion modes you can choose from which help smooth it somewhat). Put cytomic's the drop after it, and it really shows how bad filterfreak is. Also there are no resonance volume compensated models, so the moment you increase resonance, volume starts dropping relatively. This just doesn't work for any sort of modern music IMO. I guess the 1% CPU vs the drop's 10% means something in this case. The only good thing about the product is the very easy to use modulation which can be synced to BPM, controlled via envelope, or speed adjusted with hz LFO. Although this helps somewhat to redeem it, the basic sound quality of the filters are just not there. Get the drop, waves metafilter or softube mutator instead. 2/10
Radiator - amazing ability to increase warmth, presence and punch, as well as perceived volume, whilst actually lowering the energy requirements the sound is using in the sound field. But don't worry, this isn't a limiter of any kind, rather a very high quality pre amp saturation algorithm. 9/10
Decapitator - Very nice distortion overall, especially fantastic on bass. Mixed results on drums, but ok on most other sources. 5 different distortion modes as well as a hp and lp filter with one push "bump" knob, which gives the filter a preset resonance peak. This allows quite a nice bass boost whilst cleaning up the low end. The distortion's punish mode is too harsh for most sources I tried it on, to me it just sounds like digital mess. The mix knob really sweetens the usability of the plugin though, and without the punish knob, very nice sounding saturation or obvious, pleasant distortion can be had. 8.5/10
Echoboy - Very disappointed there is no resonance on the HP and LP filters, and to get a crazy overdriven sound (like logic's tape delay, or the TK delay plugin)is not that easy even when the feedback is cranked. TK sounds much better when driven hard, and logic tape delay still just kills everything when overdriven, with sweet, addictive feedback distortion, which echoboy simply does not do as convincingly.. Regardless of all the delay models on offer, i am still not enthralled with the final sound of any of them. The groove and shuffle add something unique however, and can really bring life to the sound source. Still, it's usable, more as a standard bread and butter delay with a few fancy features, rather than a special FX one. Mono, Stereo, ping Pong and grid modes are available. 6.5/10.
Primal Tap - at first it appears to be a standard delay but in reality turns out to be so much fun. Automating the multipliers and the delay time, as well as the freeze function, leads to out of this world effects madness. Can also be used very well as a bread and butter delay. Once again, the sound of the feedback when driven hard disappoints me somewhat, as does the lack of resonance on the filters, just like Echoboy. Still, a great plugin overall, and I rate it 8.5/10.
Devil loc deluxe - Delicious, crunchy, and (optionally) lofi sound. I can't find this flavour of compression with any other plugin. It's just crazy on certain drums and bass sounds, and even vocals. Furthermore, it behaves like an actual hardware compressor in the attack, which is not true of at least half the software comps out there. I have tried 100's of compressor plugins over the years, and this is truly unique. Elysia mpressor, kush ubk, eventide omnipressor and ssl mic comp, would be closest "crush" competitors, but just don't have that flavour of the soundtoys. A GR meter would have given it a perfect score, so, a 9/10.
Panman - it's probably the best auto panner i have used, but it took time to actually get used to it. The drawing mode is very tiny and fiddly, and it's tricky to get a smooth automated panning cycle.. the preset shapes don't make any sense to me.. for example, it goes gently to one side then jumps to the other, and that's with a preset sine.. A sine should flow the same way from left to right and vice versa. Opening up the advanced controls reveals a flaw in the pattern design which must be corrected manually, as it's off kilter, and thus, annoying. Regardless, as far as auto panners, ultimately it can do what you need and probably a lot more, with a bit of effort. Also has plenty of tempo sync features. 7.5/10
Microshift - the first doubler since waves that has probably finally overtaken it for my number one spot. Even though the waves, and izotope nectar doubler, both have a lot more control over the modulation, the soundtoys microshift just sounds so lush, there is something, a certain quality to it, that the other doublers just can't sound like imo. Actually, it seems to sound so great on everything, being simple as pie to use, with instant results. Try it on vocal, guitars, pads and leads, and pretty much any other instrument! However, don't be tempted to over do it just because it sounds so good, as that defeats the purpose and will muddy a mix. Use it selectively on a sound here or there. 9.5/10
Crystallizer - honestly, i am not a fan of this for applying it to rhythmic patterns such as drums. Try as i might, I barely ever get a usable result (it just sounds like a cacophony to me, whereas i would have liked an easy way to create *organised* rhythmic chaos with it, if that makes sense). However, on instruments and pads, is where it shines. It's capable of creating some beautiful, magical soundscapes. Ultimately, it really needs more control over the rhythm section.. perhaps they could add a pattern generator to it like the tremolo, for example. 7.5/10
Little alter boy (the only little without a "big" alternative currently) - hilarious plugin (and good too!). You are either into the robotic kind of special fx it does on vocals, or not. Good quality formant optional pitch shifter (you can use this as a straight pitch shifter and/or harmoniser, without using the special fx features), with relative semitone snap or shift click fine tune. Instant Cher mode, as well as robotic mode (everything is the same pitch basically, it's a lot of fun). I can't wait to see what the big brother brings. Optional distortion can add grit and presence. 8.5/10
Effects rack - great idea, i wish it had undo, and i wish you could hide the fx window on the right (which you can), but STILL be able to add fx in the main window (which you can't). Still, terrific idea that has a global wet/dry. Using the rack saves extra inserts in your DAW, and has some really wacky and fun starter presets to show you how the soundtoys effects can all be combined. In a nutshell, you drag and drop to add or remove sound toys plugins (non "little" versions only), then combine them and reorder to your hearts content. 8.5/10
I won't review the other "little" plugins, as they are just cut down versions of the bigguns, and are all worthwhile, bar perhaps little primal tap as it misses way too many features. D'Lok, little radiator and little microshift are all very good one trick ponies that do their job with a minimum of fuss.
Overall, a good plugin pack really. For me, it isn't worth the full $599 asking price, nor would things like decapitator on it's own be worth $199. I think that's ludicrously expensive for a single distortion plugin these days. But on SALE, it becomes worth it to either buy 1 or 2 individual plugins, or the whole bundle. In a nutshell, price is really the only major issue for me, and missing features i'd like to see in the delay and crystallizer plugins. Also, removing the speed time and pitch plugin was a bummer. It should have been updated to 64-bit AAX and AU, so it could be used as Pro Tool's (or Logic's) offline default time and pitch algorithm. A 64-bit VST version would have also worked in hosts like Cubase that have an offline plugin processing function. Although not the best algorithm in the world (radius and elastique pro 3 are superior), speed is better than what comes with some daws, and would have therefore still had a real place in the plugin world.