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Plugin Boutique Scaler 2 Review at Music Tech

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A solid chord progression can enhance even the simplest of tracks and turn them into something truly magical. This Scaler sequel from Brighton’s Plugin Boutique is here to make your harmonies shine.

MT Verdict

+ Clear and intuitive GUI
+ Packed with features
+ Huge chord preset library
+ Natural-sounding new performance mode

- Audio analysis not very accurate
- Humanise is a binary setting (for now)

This is an exceptional fully-featured composition tool that can help you write smarter music – and become a smarter composer while you’re at it.

The market is awash with composition-aiding tools at the moment. Whether you’re a beginner who wants help creating a whole song or a more experienced composer looking for a flexible writing partner, there are plenty of options available. We were impressed by the original Scaler in 2018. Its layout and large chord-progression library were fantastic but it felt to us like the plug-in had more to give. Though there have been multiple updates that have expanded Scaler’s features since its release, this new sequel takes things further with more sounds, more progressions and some killer new workflow improvements. Has Brighton-based Plugin Boutique finally managed to build the ultimate composition assistant?

Bases covered

Scaler 2 allows you to load preset progressions, detect chords from audio and MIDI, and build and edit your own chord sets. To cover all bases and DAWs, it comes in three plug-in versions. The main one loads as a virtual instrument and can detect from audio and MIDI, and control external instruments. The ScalerControl version can be used as an AU MIDI effects plug-in in programs such as Logic, where external control works differently. Finally, there’s the ScalerAudio version, which can be placed on audio tracks for quickly analysing audio content.

When installing, you have the option to include 492MB of extra sounds, which takes the total install to just under 1GB. There are now 33 internal sounds, which may not sound like a lot but the quality of these remains impressively high. Expect felt pianos, tech synths, house plucks, acoustic guitars and deep pads, as well as a choir and several orchestral ensembles. It’s a shame there’s no editing, as even simple controls for the decay time and reverb amount would add additional and very welcome flexibility.

Still, we’d happily use these sounds in our tracks, and it’s nice to have some varied inspirations when building your progressions. You can also route MIDI-out to control an instrument of your choice, the technique for which will depend on your DAW – thankfully there’s an extensive video manual on YouTube that shows you how to do this and more.

Read the full review at Music Tech Magazine.

Try before you buy

Download Scaler 2 trial version for free!

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