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Sugar Bytes Effectrix review by Sound on Sound

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Doing Trix

Effectrix and Artillery2 are both interesting variations on the idea of a multi‑effects unit. Most hardware multi‑effects are designed either for studio use or for guitarists, but the emphasis here is on real‑time control methods that suit DJs and dance producers. In essence, both plug‑ins offer a similar battery of effects, including not only Sugar Bytes' trademark filters, but also modulation effects, bit‑crushing, slicing and gating, delay, reverb and effects that emulate various vinyl scratching techniques. The main difference between them lies in how these effects are used.

Effectrix presents the user with a 32 x 14‑cell grid. Each different effect type has its own row in the grid, and the 32 columns represent beats and sub‑beats in the incoming audio. Clicking and dragging within the grid creates horizontal bars, indicating that a particular effect is to be applied at a particular point in the measure. So, for instance, you could apply filtering to the first bar, phasing to the second, both together to the third, and bring things to a close in the fourth bar with one of those switching‑off‑the‑turntable slowdowns. Clicking on the name of an effect brings up its parameters for editing, while you can also bypass effects or empty their lanes with single clicks. On top of this, each effect has its own presets and two 32‑step sequencers, which are edited in the larger lane below the main grid. You can set different values for each step by 'painting' with the mouse.

The grid can be scaled up and down relative to the tempo of the song, so you can use Effectrix to generate anything from slow filter sweeps to furious, broken‑up, glitchy rhythm patterns. What's more, you can create up to 12 different grid and step sequencer setups and assign these to the notes on a MIDI keyboard, allowing you to switch instantly between different patterns, and there are handy copy, paste and randomise functions to make the process as painless as possible.

The range of effects will keep most users busy for a good long time, and covers most of the obvious bases, with a few novelties thrown into the mix, though I can imagine that some people will miss a 'kill EQ'. The quality of the effects themselves is a little variable. I liked the vinyl effects, the filter and the phaser, while the 'tonal delay' mainly produces a metallic ringing sound, which is a bit of an acquired taste. I'm not quite sure how bit‑crushers manage to sound so different, but they do, and I didn't like this one at all — it sounds fizzy and thin, rather than crunchy or brutal.

Original Source: Sound on

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