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Sugar Bytes Consequence Review at Layman's Reviews

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Sugar Byte's innovative chord sequencer is anything but inconsequential...

Those of you who visit the site regularly will already be very aware of the high esteem we hold for the Germany-based developer Sugar Bytes. So far we've looked at their WOW resonance filter and Effectrix effects sequencer and been consistently impressed with their commitment towards providing inspirational and unusual plug-ins. Understandably then, we were eager to see how this latest piece of kit would perform.

Consequence is Sugar Bytes' unique entry into the groovebox market. At its simplest, Consequence is an arpeggiator, which creates a sequence of notes based on the chords that you provide. Up to three instruments can be loaded up, and a vast number of sequencing options can be used to control the way that the plugin 'interprets' the chord sequence given to it. It's a simple concept, with tons of scope for creativity.

Avid fans of Sugar Bytes' earlier creations are in for a shock when they first lay eyes upon Consequence though. For those who are used to the colourful and simple layouts of Effectrix and WOW, Consequence's sterner, more utilitarian GUI may seem somewhat intimidating. However, a closer look reveals that the layout is actually much more straightforward than it first appears, and the graphics still look fantastic. The fonts are clear and crisp, though some of the abbreviations necessary to save room on the GUI can be a little bit perplexing ('TRG' and 'SC', anyone?). Nonetheless, this issue didn't trouble us for long.

Along the very top of the window are the preset menus, and just below these are three sound generators, filter effect controls and the global parameters such as compression and master volume. Admittedly, the generators themselves are relatively scant on the sound-shaping options, offering level, ADSR envelope and octave controls, and a few more besides. With such an expansive library of sounds to choose from however, this handful of parameters never really feels like much of a restriction. This top section is also home to the effects, of which there are reverse, phaser, delay, reverb and chorus to choose from. As we've come to expect from Sugar Bytes, these all sound pretty nifty and high-quality, and their scope can range from subtle and nuanced right up to bizarre and twisted. The reverse effect in particular is typical of the developers' atypical approach to software.

Below the sound generators is the main sequencer window, which is where you'll probably spend most of your time while working with Consequence. A total of eight different pattern parameters are controlled from the sequencer, divided into modulation, 'performance', gate, chord and global categories. The modulation section is especially powerful, and offers automation control over one parameter per instrument, as well as being able to control parameters in the filter section and the global track. Below this, the performance section controls the octave, glide, tie, mode and trigger of the notes as they are played. Some of the symbols used in this section can initially prove somewhat confusing and as such it can sometimes be a little bit difficult to understand precisely what each change to the sequencer will actually do. A short bout of trial-and-error usually resolves the issue though, and as with most of what Sugar Bytes do, the process is actually much more intuitive than it first appears.

At the bottom of the sequencer window is the chord control, which allows you to arrange which chords are being used and when. All in all, it's hard to have any complaints about how the sequencer works, nor did we ever find ourselves wanting for any further sequencing options. In fact, it'd probably take a lifetime to exhaust all of the possibilities Consequence offers in this regard.

At the very bottom of the GUI is the chord memory section. Up to 16 different chords can be stored here which, across a 32-step sequencer, should prove sufficient for all but the most convoluted chord movements. This section can either be controlled by using the sequencer to trigger the chords or can be controlled from a midi input. The latter proved to be an especially inspiring option for use in the song writing process. You simply provide the chords and Consequence does the hard work for you! If even that is too much work for you, Consequence also comes pre-loaded with a selection of standard chords, as well as a couple of more exotic suspensions and augmentations.

The sound library itself is pretty extensive. To their credit, Sugar Bytes have clearly made a conscious effort to go beyond the standard minimal electronica and techno sounds which characterise the libraries of many similar products. Besides the obligatory bleeps and beeps (of which there are plenty, fear ye not), there are a plethora of orchestral instruments including pianos, strings and brass. It’s also nice to see that Consequence have not left out the beefier synth sounds, throwing in some nice distorted, bass heavy sounds to keep the house and electro heads happy. Sugar Bytes have also packed out the library with plenty of drum and precussion sounds, ranging from deep, reverb drenched minimal to vibrant, carnival-esque bongos and toms.

It’s fair to say that some of the sounds fare better than others. Some of the orchestral sounds, for example, lack too much of the nuanced character of their real life counterparts to really see much use outside of mere experimentation. However, the majority of the sounds are top notch, and we can easily see them finding their way into a lot of professional productions. Having said that, one notable drawback of the instrument library is the lack of an option to import your own samples into Consequence. True, the library that Sugar Bytes have provided is impressive indeed, but the scope of Consequence could be extended indefinitely if the option was there to load up instruments of your own. Also, Consequence does allow itself to be used as a midi out to control other instruments, which might just be enough to completely allay any anxiety about not importing your own sounds.




So does Consequence live up to the considerable expectation afforded to it by its predecessors? The short answer is simply an emphatic 'yes'. As with the plug-ins that have gone before it, Consequence is consistently stimulating both as a production tool and as a songwriting tool. It's a veritable goldmine of creativity. There’s so much on offer here for a relatively small asking price, and for that reason it deserves a hearty recommendation. However, Consequence is also a much deeper and more challenging experience than Sugar Bytes' previous work, and so those looking for the instant appeal of Effectrix and WOW may have a hard time with this product. On the other hand, those who are prepared to invest the time to really get the most out of the software will find it a compelling and inspirational tool.


Original Source - Laymans Reviews


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