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Plugin Boutique Scaler 2 review at Producer Sphere

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Plugin Boutique Scaler 2 | An HONEST Review

  • Sound Quality - 5/5
  • Ease of Use - 5/5
  • Features - 4.5/5

Prior to the turn of the century, if you were to become successful as a music producer you’d need intricate knowledge of audio equipment / hardware, as well as a good understanding of music theory. Nowadays, you don’t really need either.

Due to the modern explosion of accessible, highly versatile music production software and “bedroom producer” culture, having an in-depth knowledge of music theory, chords and scales is definitely not a necessity. In fact, I would bet the majority of beginners to music production / beat-making are relatively uneducated on the topic of music theory.

In the current era of music production, there are several VST plugins and DAW features that allow users to bypass this knowledge gap. These programs allow you to create chord progressions, melodies and arpeggiated scales that would impress even the strictest music theory critic.

What is Scaler 2?

Last year, Plugin Boutique released their highly anticipated sequel to Scaler, a composition-aiding, chord progression powerhouse. Scaler 2 is an incredibly impressive plugin that will undoubtedly help beginners in music composition and production, while also providing chord inspiration for more experienced producers.

Scaler 2 allows you to load preset chords and chord progressions, detect scales and chords from audio and MIDI input, and create your own original chord progressions within the plugin. For example, you can select a scale from the countless variations, and build chord progressions and melodies based on the selected scale.

Furthermore, Scaler 2 can be used as a standalone virtual instrument, with 33 sampled sounds to choose from. Granted, this isn’t a huge amount, but the quality of the instruments is pretty exceptional. The range includes pianos, acoustic guitars, string ensembles and several other sampled options to choose from. This additional functionality provides a much more streamlined workflow, as you can create and preview your chord progressions entirely within the plugin interface.

Scaler 2 comes packaged in a sleek, no-nonsense dark GUI with a clear, easy-to-use layout. Along the top of the GUI, you can alternate between a keyboard or guitar fretboard for previewing your selected scales.

Under the scales tab, the plugin presents you with a mind-blogging amount of musical scales, which includes everything from C Major to “C# “Super-Locrian Diminished bb3 scale”. It also displays a brief description of each scale, which is handy if you’re looking to explore some more unusual scales.

You can also browse the chords by selecting from a huge range of genres, including hip-hop, future bass, techno, love ballads and much more. On top of this, Scaler 2 offers an extensive collection of “artist presets”, which includes chord progressions from various musicians and producers.

If I’m being completely honest, my music theory isn’t as good as I’d like it to be. While browsing through these presets, I actually ended up saving a ton of distinct progressions for later use. From the silky, enchanting jazz chords to dark, moody house sequences, it’s impossible to not get inspired while browsing the Scaler 2 presets.

On a different scale

Even these features alone would make Scaler 2 a triumph. However, this music composition tool comes with several additional features up its sleeve. Scaler 2 lets you add different voicing and variations to your progressions, as well as “humanize” options such as timing, quantization and swing variations. These options can take a robotic, sequenced chord progression and add various organic, human imperfections.

The plugin also features a dedicated modulation page. This advanced section lets you select from the circle of fifths, then suggests a modulation pathway that provides a route from your selected scale. There are also secondary scale, progression, modal interchange and mediant options.

Additionally, the Edit mode allows you to select performance options on a chord-by-chord basis. Here you can control the octave, playback timing and performance detail that is applied to each chord. This mode, as well as the modulation and variation features, give the user a staggering level of creative possibilities.

The plugin also features a tool to analyze income MIDI or audio and determine the chords used. As expected, this features works perfectly with MIDI input, but in all honesty the audio analysis was less reliable. Certain audio files were actually analyzed to a high degree of accuracy, yet other, more-complex audio files didn’t always give precise results. I’d say this is a fantastic feature for analyzing simpler sounds, but don’t rely on it for trickier audio files.

Do I actually NEED this?

Since last year's release of Scaler 2, the plugin has received a lot of praise from musicians, producers and composers. In my opinion, the acclaim surrounding Scaler 2 is definitely justified.

If you are a beginner to music production, and have a low – intermediate understanding of music theory / composition, Scaler 2 should definitely be on your radar. Not only is it fantastic for rapid sonic inspiration, it’s also handy for getting to grips with the basics of music theory and chord progressions.

If you’re a more advanced producer, with a moderate – high knowledge of music theory, Scaler 2 can still provide value. Like I said, even while browsing through the chords, I found plenty of chords and scales I will no doubt be using in future projects. I firmly believe no matter how much you know, there’s always more to learn and discover (particularly when it comes to music).

Overall, Scaler 2 is an incredible, intuitive way to discover and experiment with various musical scales and chord progressions. If you’re currently struggling with a lack of inspiration, or you’re just sick of re-using the same chord progressions, Scaler 2 is a no brainer.

Original Source: Producer Sphere

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