Recently we did the review for the Kickstart Plugin from Nicky Romero and The CableGuys. A nice little plugin we liked. So we thought to look at some more plugins from the CableGuys. This is a german company well known for their plugins volumeshaper, midishaper, filtershaper and the curve2 synth. Today we test the FilterShaper plugin, which is in its third incarnation now and has got some nice tricks up its sleeve.
First: GUI and Layout
Top row is reserved for Library,new (init) and save buttons, all self explanatory. The library is chock-full of good presets. just click on the library button and you get into a menu with all the presets, filter options for searching through them, a rating system, category, selection and details.
Also there is a sync button that lets you sync with the online library. Beware however that when your computer is online and you save your preset it’s automatically saved in the online library unless you untick an option set to private before you save. I really wish that would be the other way around.
Next up on the gui is the main course the dual filter section. Lots of filter options 6db clean lp/hp, 12db clean lp/hp/bp/peak & notch, 24db clean lp/hp/bp and the more dirty filter options 12db & 24db sallen key lp/hp/bp/notch.
Big Cutoff knobs in the middle and to the right of them the clipping curve with soft & hard selection. Underneath that the resonance distortion knob for finetuning. A drive knob to overdrive the filter some more and a resonance knob. Below the cutoff there is a very small button to select if both filters operate as one or as seperate entities. Both the cutoff and resonance knob have a small button next to them for modulation options. When you click on them you immeditaly see the lfo selected for modulation at the bottom of the gui, but more on that later.
In the middle of the gui is an area for pan, volume and mix and when you select the parallel option for the filters than you get extra options for separate pan and volume settings per filter. All the knobs have the mod button next to them for a wide range of modulation possibilities.
Last but not least the bottom row of the gui is reserved for the lfo sections and env follower. Each lfo has a main grid, intensity knob, sync option for daw, midi triggered and midi one shot possibilities. Modulations are possible in beat measures, hertz and note.
Especially hertz is really cool because of the ultra fast modulation speed you can achieve with it, at the highest speed you can get into almost bitcrushed like territory. Enough measure possibilties for all kinds of weirdness ranging 1/128 till the ultra long 32 bars.
The strenght lies really in the fact that modulations can be modulated themselves. A fact you can clearly hear in the many cool factory provided presets.
Very handy stuff like midi control, copy & paste function, undo & redo, invert y & x function (for turning the waveform shape upside down at the touch of a button), generate random waveform and the possibility to move the waveform in small increments, are making it a breeze to come up with new ideas.
And a superhandy option is the magnifying glass that opens up the waveform menu and makes the waveform bigger for more precise editing, and in that menu there’s another magnifing glass to make it even bigger!
So lots of small things and details to figure out, but the results are very rewarding.
The sound of the filters is very nice and even all the way down the signal is not totally dissapearing like many filters do. Sallen key filter is my personal favourite because I like my filters to have some grit and grime.
With the resonance all the way up in the s-k filter option you move into self-oscillating territory, watch your speakers!
Small tip: always put a limiter on the masterbus in your daw when trying out stuff like this.
A very useful and fun plugin, takes some time to figure out and some small niggles like there’s no manual available, and the preset saving option already set to ‘on online’ plus the gui is a bit dark. However, all those little details aside, you’ll get a plugin that’s fun to work with. Definately recommended!
For more info and demo go to www.cableguys.de.