Review – Glitch 2 by Illformed
Since the inception of Glitch, released in 2005, other developers have released some great plugins that tried to outdo it. Now Illformed has countered with Glitch 2, which we look at here.
by Robert Halvarsson, May 2014
Re: The Mother of Glitch
For budding producers who wanted glitch in their productions and who were on a budget a couple of years ago, there was one offering that was the most often the preferred choice. It was the free plugin Glitch, by enthusiast developer Kieran Foster of Illformed.
The importance of this effect could possibly not be overstated. There were some producers who used it to so often and persistently that it came into ill repute. But while some used its randomized preset, more or less unchanged, and threw it at everything making a sound, there was of course a better use for it. This use makes it one of the most well-known free plugins in the VST-format to this day.
Since the inception of Glitch, which took place back in 2005, other companies and developers have released some great plugins that tried to outdo what the original did, and in some respects did manage to transcend it. Audio Damage, Sugar Bytes and Twisted Tools are three developers that come to mind, they all have a soft spot and their own vision of glitch.
There are of course others, but ever since I heard of Illformed making their own follow up, which was also going to be released for Mac users, I was excited to say the least.
Nine Ways of Doing It
Like before we have a number of effects, namely: a gate, stutter, delay, bit reduction, reverse and more – nine in total. These are neatly placed as separate “instrument”-tracks, next to a number of grids resembling a step sequencer, a BPM-synced sequencer at that.
In this sequencer you may apply one or several effects at any one time, to influence whatever sound you want to alter. The result can range from the subtle to the radical.
Having a number of years to think out improvements, the most obvious one is that you previously pretty much had one channel time line grid-oriented sequencer to look at. There were ways of triggering several effects at once, but it could become quite tedious.
I sometimes resorted to stacking the effect, using two or three glitch FX inserts at once, but due to this choice of workflow – it made project management increasingly hard. Also, CPU usage went up.
In short, it introduced clutter to projects that I would have preferred remain simple and clean.
One Channel Equals One Effect
Now it’s different. Visually it looks not totally unlike Sugar Bytes’ glitch-offering Effectrix. In Glitch 2, you have nine effects at your disposal, which have their own dedicated track that you can control through the built in sequencer. One channel equals one effect. The interface is clean and understandable, considerably improved compared to the previous version – this makes mouse interfacing a piece of cake.
Do you like that sequenced pattern you did there? Copying and pasting settings to a new page is very simple. Add variations, trigger these via MIDI, and you have instant play with different glitch setups. Control these via your DAW-sequencer or keyboard, and it could become a potential ally for live shows.
The effects themselves remain hospitably straightforward, and each comes with its own four-type filter effect. Most of these effects sound better than the original glitch – noticeably so. Of course I expected as much. But I still was quite surprised at what I heard, to the point that I suspected some inherent bias on my part in favor of what’s new. Setting up the old and new effects next to one another does confirm improvements, however.
Perhaps it is a developed skill set from working with other projects, such as the dark-horse music-tracker Renoise, which is showing in the final product? I don’t know, but it would make sense, seeing that this tracker is quite an intelligent and original DAW in its own right.
Glitch 2 might not take the road of strange/crazy, which some glitch plugins available in Reaktor-format tend to do, but this is not really a let-down or a negative thing. You pretty much feel at home, knowing how and why the plugin acts as it does. With or without previous knowledge of the original effect plugin, it is easy to get on with the program, seeing how the learning curve isn’t that steep.
All in all, I can really recommend any curious individual who would like to gently alter, or completely squash whatever audio you will throw at it.
Glitch: The term derives from the German glitschig, meaning ‘slippery’, possibly entering English through the Yiddish term glitsh. – Wikipedia
Glitch 2 can be purchased for €49.95 EUR and a license gives the user unlimited access to all platforms, including any potential future update of the plugin. It can be bought online at: