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Sugar Bytes Egoist review at EDMPROD

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A while back I had the opportunity to review the second edition of Sugar Byte’s renowned WOW Filter (named WOW2 Filterbox). I was highly impressed by the attention to detail given in to all aspects of the plugin, from its design to user experience, and functionality.
 
The Berlin based audio software company have just released their latest plugin Egoist, an all-in-one creative powerhouse and groove instrument. In this review I’m going to take you through its features, what I think of it, and who I recommend it for.
 
 

What is it?

 

 
Egoist is a groove instrument and sampler akin to a DAW in terms of functionality and features. You can sample audio clips, edit them, arrange patterns, add drums and basslines, use effects, and much more.
 
It’s also designed for highly creative purposes. With randomisation features on every tab, Egoist is a great plugin for finding inspiration and getting ideas down quick. Listening to an old record and hear a vocal section that you absolutely love? Drag it into Egoist, chop it up, mangle it with effects, or make a simple groove from it.
 
Still confused? Let’s go deeper.
 

 

Features

What makes this plugin different to others? What does it actually do?
 
As you can see from the image above, Egoist has a tonne of features. So bear with me.
 
 

Slicer

The default tab in Egoist is the Slicer. This is where you can chop up audio, change its characteristics, and arrange its slices. The Slicer tab features two main sections that you need to be aware of:
 
 
 
The Slicer (Waveform) Section
 
 
 
 
Egoist isn’t built to be your typical sampler. If you’re dragging a single kick sample in just to change its ADSR then you’ll probably find it a bit overkill (though you could get interesting results). If you’ve ever used SliceX in FL Studio or a similar plugin, then this will look familiar.
 
The plugin allows up to 16 individual slices, with the amount and length determined by the sensitivity setting on the far left. Pitch, length, envelope, and max out apply globally to all slices.
 
 
 
The Pattern Section
 
 
 
 
After slicing up your audio, you’ll want to create something from it, right? This is where the pattern section comes in.
 
Thankfully, in Egoist, you can create a unique groove or idea in literally seconds.
 
The first thing you’ll notice are the blue faders, which allow you to pick which slice you want to play at that moment in time. The pattern section is a bar long, so a new slice can be triggered every quarter note. You can also have slices overlapping; in other words, a slice doesn’t end if a new one is triggered.
 
 
Egoist’s pattern section also contains a few other nifty settings:
 
  • Direction: choose the direction in which you want the slice to be played.
  • Pitch: adjust pitch in semitones or octaves (up to 12 semitones either way)
  • Attack & Decay: have a slice come in more softly, or end more abruptly.
  • Level: adjust the volume of slices to have a more coherent or varying sound.
 
 
An Egoist pattern is 16 quarter notes by default, but this can be easily changed by sliding the length selector at the top.
 
 

 

Bass & Beat

Sugar Bytes could have just left it at the Slicer. I mean, it’s great being able to quick chop up audio and make a unique idea from it.
 
But that’s not like Sugar Bytes.
 
In addition to the Slicer, there’s also another section – Bass & Beat. Give your slice pattern a bit of company in the form of drums and bass.
 
 
 
The Bass Module
 
 
 
 
This isn’t Zebra 2; it’s a simple, easy to program bass synth with no extra useless features.
 
As you can see, the synth offers two waveforms, a saw and square, and includes basic decay and filter modulation settings (including an LFO).
 
If you aren’t one for sound design, or just want to get something down quick, then you’ll be happy to know there are 16 different bass presets waiting to be used.
 
 
 
The Drum Machine
 
 
 
 
You can’t have bass without drums, right?
 
Egoist features a minimalist drum module with 14 different kits and the ability to create your own. There aren’t a huge amount of parameters you can edit, but there doesn’t need to be either. This drum module is straight and to the point, just like its neighbour.
 
One thing that does stand out is the amount of samples available for use. There are 14 different kits each containing 32 different kicks, snares, and hats. 96 samples per drum kit leaves you with endless combinations.
 
 
 
Bass & Beat Arrangement
 
 
 
 
Just like Slicer, the Bass & Beat tab features a programming section.
 
The bass section allows you to pick between a standard note or slide note, and gives the option of 4 different lengths for each. The same transposition settings from the Slicer tab can be seen here which allow for melodic basslines.
 
Programming the drums is very straight forward. It’s just like any other drum machine where you click to place a sound. You also get two different volume settings for the kick, snare, and hat; indicated by icon size. Hats can be changed from open to closed and vice versa if you’re after more detailed patterns.
 

 

Effects

 

 
The icing on the cake for Egoist is the effects section. If you’ve ever used Sugar Bytes’ Effectrix plugin, then you’ll find this familiar.
 
This is what makes the plugin stand out for me. Many similar plugins include an effects section as an add-on, just another selling point; but on Egoist, the effects section is integral to the nature of the plugin.
 
There are 7 different effects in total: filter, delay, reverb, lo-fi (bit reduction), chorus, tape stop, and looper. Effects are applied via the arrangement section located below the effect settings.
 
 
 
 
This style of linear effect processing makes for creative and complex sounding loops and phrases.
 

 

 

Randomisation, Transportation, and Direction

 

 
Another module  included in all tabs is the randomization, transportation and direction module. The settings here allow you to randomize the pattern, delete it, undo mistakes, change the direction of play, and copy & paste to new patterns.
 
Having used this plugin for many hours, I have to say that the randomisation feature is a huge plus. It saves a lot of time when you’re after something chaotic and complex, as all it involves is one click.
 
The copy and paste function is also great if you’re looking to make a slight variation on your original loop. Again, another time saver.
 
 
 

Play and Arrangement Modes

 

 
The final feature I want to cover in this review is Egoist’s Play mode.
 
While most will use this plugin for quick loops and ideas, Egoist does offer the ability to arrange a full song in it (hence me saying it was akin to a DAW in terms of functionality). The pattern play mode allows for up to 16 patterns, which can then be arranged into 6 different parts. Parts are up to 8 bars long and can be arranged in the song section, which has 16 locations.
 
You can produce a complete 128-bar song in Egoist without touching anything else in your DAW.
 
 
 

Presets

As usual with reviews on EDMProd, I like to quickly give my opinion on the included presets.
 
Egoist includes 10 folders of presets, some by style and others from the developers of the plugin. The presets in Egoist not only sound great, but are very useful for learning the ins and outs of the plugin.
 
In terms of sound, most of them are suited to IDM, or more complex genres, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be adapted and used elsewhere.
 
 
 

My Recommendation

Egoist is hands down a fantastic plugin. A plugin I’m proud to have in my collection, and one that I’ll be using frequently.
 
While it may be confusing to the new producer, it has a very short learning curve and an intuitively designed interface to maximize workflow.
 
If you’re someone who likes sampling and working with audio, or you’re after a new tool to boost your creativity, then Egoist is perfect for you. Additionally, if you’re looking to add another layer of sonic complexity to your music, then it’s the perfect choice.
 
 
Original source: EDMPROD

Try before you buy

Download Egoist trial version for free!

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