support reviews loopmasters.com

Sugar Bytes WOW2 review at edmprod.com

A product from

Sugar Bytes are renowned for their incredibly complex and powerful plugins. Whether you want to completely mangle your sound with Effectrix, or make some nasty basses with Cyclops – they have it all.

The newest addition to the team is the WOW2 Filterbox. If you’ve heard of the WOW Filter (number one), then you haven’t seen anything yet! The WOW2 is certainly no exception to Sugar Bytes’ professional sound quality, complexity, and design.

Features and Uniqueness

We’ll start with this section because it’s clearly going to be the longest.

The WOW2 is certainly a powerhouse when it comes to filtering work of any kind. Whether it’s making long, dreamy, evolving pads – or squelchy dubstep bass. Modern talking too, yes, that can certainly be achieved!

Let’s have a look through some of the features.

The Filter Section

The WOW2 is primarily a filter, but it’s not just any filter. There’s absolutely no comparison between FL Studio’s Fruity Filter or Ableton’s Auto Filter. This is an entirely different beast.

Most filters contain a few types, you know, the standard Lowpass, Highpass, Bandpass, etc. The WOW2 on the other hand contains 21 different filters.

That wasn’t a typo - twenty one. 

In total, the WOW2 features:

  • 4 Highpass Filters
  • 7 Lowpass Filters
  • 5 Bandpass Filters
  • 6 Special Filters

Some of the filter types are modelled of the Moog, and there are also some Sugar Bytes filters in there (the 030 Lowpass being one of them).

In general, the filters sound really nice. Often you’ll get some tinny, cheap sounding filters. Not with the WOW2.

If you’re looking for a bit of color, then it’s there. Prefer a more transparent filter? That’s there as well.

The WOW2 also contains a saturation model filter in each section (apart from special), this is just another way to handle resonance and provide self-oscillation.

The Best Cutoff Knob on Earth

C’mon, look at this thing!

I’m all for minimalistic design, and I think Sugar Bytes have managed to pull it off pretty well despite the abundance of features that this plugin has.

It’s the biggest knob in the interface, and you can’t really miss it. What I really like about it is the diagram in the middle showing the filter type and how it’s affecting the sound. Though it’s not a solution for making precise filter judgements (in terms of mixing), it makes for a great visual aid while working with your filtering.

Note: The diagram changes depending on what filter you’re using. Resonance, volume, and the distortion parameters do not affect the cutoff diagram. Instead, they have a small diagram of their own.

Life Without Resonance is…

Depressing.

I really like the resonance on the WOW2 as it’s difficult to push it to a stage where it starts becoming uncomfortable. I’ve found that with other plugins, the resonance can be quite harsh. Sugar Bytes do a great job of keeping it tamed, and if you want to go all out then you can do that also.

One of the coolest things about the resonance is the significant effect is has when using the Vowel filter mode (which we’ll get to). It makes a world of difference.

If you’re someone who uses resonance a lot when designing your sounds, then you won’t be disappointed. Like modulating your resonance? Yep, you can do that also.

Volume, Dry/Wet, You Know the Deal

As with any filter you’ve got a dry/wet knob. This works as it should, and is great if you’re after some subtle filter effects, especially in the vowel mode. That or a little distortion.

Not all filters have a volume knob. I personally think it’s a nice addition for when you need that extra bit of oomph, or if it’s getting a little too loud.

The Distortion Section

The one thing that I absolutely, utterly love about this filter is the distortion section. It sounds amazing!

I said earlier in the article that Sugar Bytes are renowned for making plugins complex, and powerful. The distortion section certainly doesn’t have any closed doors here.

One thing I really like is the fact that you can choose to place the distortion before or after the filter. This makes for significantly different sounds depending on what you’re looking for.

WOW2 offers seven different distortion types:

  1. Parabolic: Tube-like overdrive, creates rich harmonic spectrum and is four times oversampled.
  2. Hyperbolic: Similar to above, but double-drive and sounds a lot more ‘in your face’.
  3. Diabolic: It’s literally diabolic. Diode-like distortion.
  4. One Bit: Turns everything into a pulse wave. This one’s fun to modulate.
  5. Sine: Drives a sine function. You’ve gotta hear this one for yourself.
  6. Crush: Bitcrusher? You know what that is!
  7. Digitize: My favourite distortion type. I adore sample rate reducers, though.

The distortion on this is incredibly powerful, and in my opinion is a key feature of the plugin. From an unbiased approach – there’s little out there that rivals this.

The Modulation Section

You know that feeling when you come across a plugin where literally everything can be modulated? I had that feeling when first opening this plugin.

Right clicking on any of the main filter parameters allows you to modulate them with different devices by different amounts (including negative modulation). 

There are four different devices you can use for modulation:

  1. Envelope Follower
  2. LFO
  3. Step Sequencer
  4. Wobbler

Let’s have a look at each of these.

Envelope Follower

The envelope follower basically uses the amplitude of the incoming audio to create a control curve. It can also be focused to certain frequencies.

his one takes a while to get your head around, but can be pretty useful once you know the ins and outs. I’d recommend having a play around with it, as for the new producer it may be a little confusing or daunting.

One thing to note is that you can change the source of the envelope follower. It’s set at input by default, but clicking it will change to the output for creating the envelope.

LFO

Let’s be real here – you’re probably going to use this.

I mean I know there are LFO’s on synths, but this is better.

The LFO modulator offers three different sync modes (audio trig, free, and song position), and a number of LFO waveforms: Sine, Saw, Square, Triangle, and random.

Couple this with distortion and resonance? Get ready for sound design perfection.

Step Sequencer

I have to admit that I didn’t use this as much as I would have liked to, but it’s incredibly useful.

Ever been automating a cutoff and finding the process boring, lifeless and time-consuming? The step sequencer might be your solution for when you need those relatively complex modulations.

Obviously it’s no replacement for micro-detail automation (BT for example may find it too broad), but you can get some great sounds from it. I enjoy using this on pads, making evolving atmospheres.

The step sequencer contains 16 steps, generating a control curve that’s always in sync with your song. You can change the direction of the reading-direction (make it go backwards instead of forwards, etc. Or even random).

This is a great tool when you’re looking for some quick inspiration, simply click the random button, sit back, and listen.

Wob-Wob-Wobbler

Finally, we’ve got the Wobbler.

The Wobbler is similar to the LFO section except far more, well… crazy?

You’ve got a somewhat interesting thing in the middle which lets you chose from 12 LFO speeds and 16 different waveforms. Not only that, but you can adjust the phase next to it with ease.

There are also fixed values available which allows you to use the Wobbler like a step sequencer (why not use both? It’s definitely possible!)

Along with that you’ve got a random function and an interpolate button.

Modulation Assignment

I don’t want this to sound like a tutorial, so all I can say is that assigning modulation is incredibly simple.

You can either right click on the parameter you want to modulate, or instead do it in the bottom section of each different modulator. I suppose in general, WOW2 will help you with quick filter jobs as well as more complex ones.

The Vowel Mode

This is what you all came here for, right?

The main feature of the WOW2 Filter, and one that was included in the first version – is its Vowel mode.

And it’s as simple as that, the transition between two vowel sounds. This is beyond Massive’s Modern Talking, far more versatile and a lot better sounding.

The Vowel mode typically works best with bandpass or comb filters, but certainly adds a nice touch with whatever filter you’re using. When using it in unison with distortion (especially digitize), you’ll be blown away.

Did I mention you can also modulate the Vowel mode? Yep. You can modulate the vowels to change as you please. Awesome huh?

So we’ve looked at the technical part of the WOW2 filter, the ins and outs. On this page we’ll go more into the design aspect, who it’s best for, and some other stuff.

WOW2's Design

I know some people couldn’t care less about the design of a plugin, but there are others who do. So I’ll give my thoughts on it.

The WOW2 is well laid-out and easy to understand. The symbols make sense, and nothing is overly confusing. There will be things that don’t make sense at first sight, and you’ll have to read the manual to really understand them. This really isn’t a huge issue though.

It’s pleasant to work with visually. One thing I really like is the little diagrams that provide a visual representation of whatever you’re doing, whether it’s increasing the wet/dry or adding some more distortion. I personally find it’s quicker to glance at these diagrams rather than check to see whereabouts the knob is.

For some, the preset browser may be a little hard to read; but overall it’s easy to navigate.

I’d open this plugin in my DAW just to show it off.

Ease of Use

I got a hold on this plugin fairly quickly. Like any filter, there are things that will always be there (cutoff, resonance, etc). I worked out how to affect my sound, played around with the distortion, and did a little modulation.

I felt as if I was only just tapping into the full potential, and sure enough I was. After reading the manual cover to cover, and spending a few more hours with it – I found that there was indeed a lot of features in the WOW2.

I would say that although it’s very intuitive and easy to understand at first, it’s worth reading the manual just to consolidate what you already know, or maybe learn a bit more.

Sound Quality

I’ve used a few filters in my time, and the WOW2 filter is right up there with them. I love the sound of the default filter (030) and also the sat filters.

Even the distortion sounds great! It’s got a certain warmth that I can’t quite put my finger on.

Of course, it could all be in my head - but I have to commend Sugar Bytes here as they’ve done a great job in terms of sound quality. I would even consider using this for simple filter work such as low-passing a drum loop.

Who’s It For?

I have to say, if you’re brand new to producing then you might find this thing a little confusing. Especially if you’re not sure what a filter does. On the other hand, it’ll come in handy later!

I would say that intermediate and experienced producers will both benefit greatly from this plugin. It’s an insane tool and will really give you an edge when it comes to sound design.

All in all, if you know what filters are, you’ll find this useful in one way or another.

In terms of genres I do believe that some producers will get more out of it, especially in bass music genres – but there are certainly features that can be applicable to any genre. I liked using it on mellow pads and also delays and reverbs, funnily enough.

Conclusion

I think the plugin speaks for itself, and fortunately there is a demo version available on the Sugar Bytes website.

If you’re looking to take your sound design to the next level, or need an extra plugin for your prized FX chain - then this is the thing for you. The design, sound quality, and unique features make this plugin stand out for me.

One thing I haven’t mentioned is that you get a tonne of presets, which are not only great for education, but also inspiration when you’re feeling a little lazy.

Original Source: edmprod.com

Try before you buy

Download WOW 2 trial version for free!

Other Sugar Bytes products

  • hot!
  • top rated
osxpc
Aparillo synth plugin boutique
5(274)
your price$99.00
  • award
  • top rated
osxpc
Sugarbytesfactory
5(189)
your price$139.00
  • award
  • top rated
osxpc
1
4(206)
your price$99.00