StrangeFlow reviews some great distortion VST plugins that you can use, right now, in your new glitch hop / dubstep / hip hop / bass / edm trax and tunes. Enjoy! I know I certainly did. I enjoyed it until my heart was fat with happiness.
Alright, everyone. Time to review some distortion plugins. They can be extremely helpful, and there’s so many out there that, well, unless you try them all, you’re not going to know which are the best ones. OR, conversely, you could read another one of StrangeFlow’s awesome blog posts!
Some plugins are expensive, some are free. All of these are free. I feel like you can probably get pretty much everything you want from a softsynth distortion plugin without paying a damn bit of your hard-earned weed money on any of them. Though, if you want to give donations (which is always a nice thing to do) feel free to give any of the wonderful programmers who put these together a few bucks. I’m sure they’ll appreciate it.
I’ll also point out, there are a lot of sites that these things are offered on, and I want to make it clear that I’m still under the distinct impression that they’re not JUST free, but also LEGALLY free, as well. If anyone has any information to the contrary, please let me know, and I’ll remove these fine plugins, and not say a bad word about any of them! In fact, I’ll admit I was wrong and apologize, and if you like, I’ll keep the plugin on this page and tell the readers where to go to pay for it! :) Alright, well, having said all of that, let’s get started, eh?
Audio Impurities – Vintage Edition: Retro Sampling
This is a very basic static/noise distortion plugin. Has a clean GUI, and it’s a pretty basic plugin. It gets the job done if you’re looking for some basic ‘old’-sounding static in the background of your sounds. Seems like it could prove itself as being quite valuable, even considering how simplistic it is. Not too many controls, though, so there’s really not too much to talk about, so I’ll just leave it up to you to play around with it and see if you like it. Very basic, but potentially helpful.
Grab it here!
Atom – Splitter Audio: Distroyr
You can grab it here!
This one’s sick. Clean little GUI for some very powerful control knobs – including a saturater, a crusher, valve, distort, overdrive, and even low / high knobs on the feedback, should you decide to click on the little feedback button. You can turn the output and the input up or down in volume, too.
It’s a straightforward piece of heavy-machinery. This little VST is really going to give you a lot of power, and a lot of options, when you consider how many variable tunings and knob-twiddling presets you can create. Doesn’t give you any presets with the plugin, which is not ideal, but I won’t hold it against them, because… well, honestly, half the time plugins give you preset options, a lot of them are completely unnecessary. Like, for example, when you get a plugin or a piece of software and there’s 100 different presets? …and you know, after using it for a while, that you’re only going to use, maybe, 5 or 6 of them, altogether? Yea, that’s how it usually is…
So, like I said, I’m not necessarily turned off by the fact that there aren’t any presets on this one. The range of possibilities will keep you going for a while, in my opinion. I feel like if you were making something like breakcore, this is the type of plugin that would be extremely, extremely useful. There are others like it, certainly, but if you’re new to distortion, and you’re looking for a nice little piece of soft gear, this one probably won’t do you wrong. Plus, it’s free, like all the plugins I’m reviewing. So, again, that’s another reason I can’t really be too harsh on any of these. (get it? Harsh? An article about distortion and I fit the word, “harsh,” into a sentence? FUCK that’s hilarious, isn’t it? No, it’s not? Ok.. well, moving on, then…..)
Alright, so, back to another very simple plugin. This time, I’m checking out something called, ‘Soul Force!,’ which is an extremely simple little piece of gear with a shape knob and a feedback knob. That’s it. Oh – and a little button to turn the thing on and off, and also a dial to switch between ENV and WAVE. Looks like a comic-book type of font they were using.
Well, like I said, I’m hesitant to say anything too HARSH about these plugins, because they are free, and there’s nothing wrong with a simple VST. Nothing wrong with that, at all. I’m not sure how much I’m going to be using this one, though. Not too much control. Basic feedback / distortion, without any bells and whistles. Not a ‘bad’ VST, just not extremely useful, compared to some others… That’s my analysis.
Get it here.
Ok, so, maybe it’s because I don’t speak Japanese, but – in fact, no, that’s really all of it – this one confuses the hell out of me. It’s in Japanese, and I can’t figure out what the hell is happening. I mean that’s not entirely true. You can get used to it, if you fuck around with it. It has distortion, certainly – and the black knob in the upper right corner controls some kind of fun echo. It’s fun, and I’ve used in the past, but I don’t feel like I have as much control over it because I don’t know what the words or phrases under the knobs mean.
But, that’s my bias, and I’m sure someone who speaks Japanese could understand it, so I can’t say too much about this one, I suppose. I thought I would mention it, though, because it is fun to play around with. If you’re doing a live mix, you better have a little bit of experience with it. If you’re just in your studio and trying things out, then, by all means, fuck around with it to your heart’s content! …Is that the phrase? “To your heart’s content,” or, is it “until” your heart is content? I mean, “to your heart’s content” doesn’t make much sense. Must be old English. I don’t know. I guess I didn’t need to bring it up all of a sudden, but I don’t understand some of these clichés we’re always supposed to use, especially when they just sound wrong. Some people give rap music so much shit because there’s phrases that sound “wrong,” grammatically or whatever (to some folks) but then those same folks who were complaining will go and use phrases like “to your heart’s content” which doesn’t make a damn bit of sense at all, does it?
So, use this plugin until you’re hearts fat with joy. There. Yea, fat with fucking joy. Not until your heart’s content. You’re not going to fall in love with a goddamn plugin. This is reality. You’re making music, right? You’re not going to get a date if you a good distortion plug in. Oh, we all wish you could, we all do. Especially those of us who remember ‘Jungle Night,’ at the Temple Club in Lansing, Michigan in 2002, when you’d see 20 people at the club, half of them about to go on and play some breakcore; all of them male, except for two girls, and it seems like they’re both there because they’re dating guys who are about to go up on stage and play a show and entertain everyone with their incredible distortion filters. Umm… anyway, you can get this one here.
Oh, damn. Thrummaschine is a fucking beast. Go get it after you read this. Well, go get it, after you read a few more of my articles, and buy a couple of sample packs (:
Delamancha is responsible for this one, and also for the Sumo one. It’s a pretty awesome company, and they have lots of great things on their site. I really recommend checking it out. If you like what they offer for free (which is A LOT) you might consider paying a bit for some of their other programs, if you like.
Alright, now, about the Thrummaschine… This one’s got so much going on, it really takes a while to process all of it. (ha, get it? “takes a while to PROCESS it?? We’re talking about… distortion, and… nevermind. I’m done with those jokes) You can use this to oscillate your sounds, add overdrive, distortion, bit-crushing action like all the top dubstep and glitch hop producers and DJs (well, mostly producers, not so much DJs) and it gives you a range of possibilities for everything, too.
It’s organized into frequencies – on the left is bass, then mid, then high. There’s a kHz dial that you can manually tune, giving you as much control as they were possibly able to give you! They have LFO, as stated earlier, and so, not only can you oscillate the shit out of everything, but you can oscillate in sine, saw, triangle, ramp, or square – in each of the three frequency ranges, too! You have to get this and see what I mean, it’s really a beast. I could go on and on about this one, and how they actually have some decent presets, from ‘bassmachine,’ to ‘extrememachine,’ and everything in between. You know what I’m talking about ;)
Anyway, yes, this one wins, as far as being a bulky distortion VST with a lot of bells and whistles. A lot of them are really cool whistles, though, so I don’t want that last sentence to sound sarcastic or condescending. It really is quite decent. I recommend this one. Use it until your heart gets fat and you’re so fucking happy with bloated joy and joyful with fat happiness that you fucking freak out because your heart is so content. It’s a good plugin. I like it. Go to their page to get this nice plugin.
Well, hope this was helpful. Though there are obviously a great many plugins out there, I felt like these were worthy of review. These are some of the most popular and most used, so I thought I’d dissect them a bit and tell you what I thought, and, again, I hope you get some use of them. Let me know, leave a comment or send an email and say hello! :)
Peace everyone! May your hearts be fat!