Glitch plugins. To be honest, I cant stand them and I’ve used most of them over the years. From SupaTrigga and Buffer Override, to dBlue Glitch and Reaktor patches like ‘The Finger’ etc. They all provided instant “wow” sounding FX, however they are so obvious, it’s like putting a time-stamp on your track saying “this was made in 20xx”. I kind of cringe whenever I hear them on a record (especially my own releases) as it just screams lazy producer to me. Anyway, flash forward to 2017 and Unfiltered Audio SpecOps brand new audio manipulation effect drops in my mailbox and it’s super quick to get up and running using the slick Plugin Alliance online registration.
First impressions of the GUI is that it is certainly, different. The promotional blurb states it is “easy and fun to use”, although I’m not sure I’d agree. Yes, it is easy to change presets and destroy your audio in various instantly-gratifying ways, which is fun for a few minutes. However, unless you have some previous knowledge in digital sound processing, or at least a passing interest in fast fourier transform algorithms, I can’t honestly say you would find it instantly “easy” to patch this thing.
That being said, it is expectedly wild. Definitely recommended if you like destroying sounds in a random ‘experimental’ style, like adding instant Richard Devine sauce. Personally, I found the most interest came with using subtle settings and modulation patched on very few ‘slices’ of audio. This, combined with triggering the ‘freeze’ function came up with some really pleasant textures from the piano sound I ran through it. Also, routing cables is pretty cool, LFOs can be routed to many different destinations by simply dragging virtual patch cords.
I quickly grew tired of the technicoloured rainbow light show and found changing this to the green analyser was a bit less distracting and easier on the eye.
Overall, I admire the manipulation possibilities offered by SpecOps. I think the key to coding and releasing a plug in of this nature AND have it “easy and fun to use”, would be to simplify the interface much further. For example, most producers will be confused as to what a Spectral Compander actually is and this terminology is what could potentially put off new users digging deeper into the plug in.
SpecOps is available now via Plugin Alliance website and currently costs $89.