Review – Sugar Bytes Wow2
Wow2, by renowned plugin company Sugar Bytes, while capable of doing regular filter tasks, it is also taking the idea of the filter into strange new places. Care to explore them?
by Robert Halvarsson, Sept. 2013
Not Your Average Run-of-the-Mill Filter Effect
There are audio filters which provide the basics that a filter usually is associated with. They reduce the volume of audio above or below a threshold, usually referred to as the cutoff frequency, commonly referred to as high-pass or low-pass filters. They often also let the user create varying degrees of resonance to emphasize the position of the cutoff in the audio material.
Then there are alternative designs. In a sense Wow2, by renowned plugin company Sugar Bytes, is precisely this – while capable of doing regular filter tasks, it is also taking the idea of the filter into strange new places.
The problem of innovation is that sometimes going too far will make things suck. But knowing the pedigree of Sugar Bytes, I was quite confident when first trying it out that this one wouldn’t, and for the most part, using it is interesting and rewarding, to say the least.
Here you will find the assorted league of LFOs to manipulate a staggering range of modulation parameters. You get an internal step sequencer, a distortion/saturation unit, and seemingly endless ways of wreaking havoc on your audio – all in all, it should keep the most blasé of users occupied for quite some time, and then some.
Instead of the two or three standard filter types, you get comb filters, and all kinds of fascinating designs, adding up to 21 (!) filter types in total. It becomes clear when you start mixing it up that this is where Wow2 starts to shine. But it can be challenging; you could very easily turn your precious sound into an overtly aggressive teenager – screaming his lungs out at a bad rock concert.
In other words, it all takes some practice to get the best out of this effect. Also, contrary to what some paradoxically hail in the virtual era as much-sought-after “analog warmth,” this will more likely smash the sound into bits and pieces in a characteristically digital fashion. It’s very easy to dial in something hard and unrelenting; the challenge is rather to get the right amount of mojo going on.
So I stay at moderate levels, where the distortion and filtering can add quite a lot of spice and let things pierce through the mix.
And while the term might get passed around too much, it makes quite a lot of sense to see this as a boutique-effect, capable of achieving very special tasks. While I would want to combine this with a more standard offering, it makes perfect sense to use this as a second, or perhaps even third filter – and for users looking to cook up some more extreme sounds, this will take you there. It could provide the electro or dubstep producer with a tool to take the sound even further.
In addendum, Wow2 can be viewed as a good compliment to a more standard effect type unit, and can be had for 99 Euro at the Sugar Bytes web shop. It will with all likeliness be very different from most of what you have tried, so do yourself a favor and check it out.
The Good Stuff
- Characteristic distortion-ridden filter sweeps.
- Getting that bass to talk to you, i.e. there’s a wovel mode.
- You can modulate pretty much everything in here.
Keep in Mind
- It can get quite complex.
- Presets are tailored towards aggressive production.
- Larger than average resource usage.
All in All
Wow2 is an original filter-effect that is bound to turn some heads around.
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