The last year or so has been a great time for the ardent follower of FXpansion’s DCAM products as the UK based software developer continues to deliver high-end quality plugins which combine the sonic power of their splendid DCAM circuit modelled technology with their highly engaging Transmod modulation system. More recently in early 2012, FXpansion introduced Etch an analogue modelled filtering device featuring dual filters with additional distortion and compression alongisde a huge range of modulation possibilities.
Filters: The versatility of Etch’s dual filters let you switch between 4 modeled circuits which collectively provide: 2/4 Pole Low Pass, Band Pass, High Pass with Peak and Notch filtering modelled upon the classic OTA Array(Japan), State Variable Filter(SVF), Sallen-Key(Fatty) circuits for all manner of fat and warm subtractive tone-shaping, with a Comb Filter bringing a variety of phaser, flanger and chorus psychedelia into the mix.
The dual filters can be switched to process in Series; where filter 1 is placed before filter 2, or in Parallel; with the 2 filters processing the same input in parallel. There is the added option to link the filter cut-off of both filters which allows adjustments to be made while preserving the off-set between Filter 1 and Filter 2 if need be. Also of note, are the FM rotaries on both filters which adust the amount of Frequency Modulation generated when receiving input from either of the plugin’s 2 LFOs, the Secondary Sidechain signal or directly from the input source.
Distortion & Compressor: The additional distortion and compressor stages in Etch are provided for beefing up signals and to that end Etch is fantastic. The distortion module can be switched to process a sound source Pre or Post filter mode and offers wide range of distortion types to run through Etch’s impressive Drive stage, which include: Diode, OTA, Op-Amp, Half Rectifier, Shredder, Clipper and Tanning algorithms.
The compressor in Etch, positioned just before the plugins output stage, is a super sounding one knob DCAM compressor with Soft or Hard Knee options. The output stage features a VU unit reflecting Etch’s current output level, a master Level knob to set the final output leaving Etch with a Mix knob below it for blending and balancing the dry input signal with Etch’s processed signal.
Transmod: As previously mentioned, FXpansion’s TransMod modulation system is a highly engaging way to animate Etch’s circuits over time. Using the Transmod in Etch you can easily assign LFOs, Envelopes, Pitch, S&H(Sample & Hold) to drive the filter cutoffs, distortion level, compression amount or any other parameters. Etch does amazing things to all kinds of audio material and is great for subtle warming, deep tone sculpting, wild sweeps, special effects and experimental sonics.
The 2 LFOs in Etch can produce a wide variety of waveforms to be used as modulation sources by modulating each of the Shape, Morph and Phase parameters using Transmod. The rate of both LFOs operate at audio rate reaching up to 1024Hz and supply the dedicated FM features on each of Etch’s dual filters with further modulation possibility.
MIDI Control: In our virtual studio world of over populated filter plugin types, Etch is very different and stands out among the crowd. Not only does it offer a Secondary Side-Chain to further enhance its shaping capability with the option to apply a fixed High Pass Filter set at 120Hz, but Etch also features multi-levelled MIDI control of its parameters.
Etch’s circuit parameters can be governed and tweaked by an external controller using FXpansion’s dedicated MIDI Learn/MIDI Assign connections which is always great for hands-on performance tweaks. However, Etch also responds to MIDI Note Input using hard wired MIDI Channels 1 – 4 to freely trigger the Transmod Envelope, control the rate of the 2 LFOs and process Etch’s circuit parameters via Pitch. Also, the Filter Cut-Off for both the dual filters can be controlled with MIDI information received directly from MIDI Channels 3 & 4.
Outro: There is no mistaking the sonic quality of Etch as it transforms and transports a sound source into another sound dimension. It confidently delivers all the amounts of punch and drive associated with analogue modelling you could wish for. Taking the time to explore this plugin and set it up for full MIDI control is highly recommended because; with all the filtering and modulation capability that Etch can provide plus the detailed level of MIDI control, you have one of the most, if not the most, musical of filter plugins around.
• DCAM-modelled filtering, distortion and compression
• OTA-array, SVF, Sallen-Key and comb filter types
• Wide variety of multi-mode filter responses
• 4 distortion types and a simple, effective 1-knob compressor
• 2 LFOs, envelope follower, sample-and-hold and triggered envelope
• TransMod system for deep modulation possibilities
• Secondary side-chain input and full MIDI control in compatible hosts
• 32-bit and 64-bit support
• VST, AU and RTAS plugin formats on Windows 7 and Mac OSX 10.6.2 or later
Brought to you courtesy of Soundwrx Digital