AIR Music’s Sprite is a multi‑effects plug‑in with a few extra tricks up its sleeves, such as the ability to control certain effect parameters using an envelope follower. The plug‑in includes the expected large range of ready‑to‑use presets, thoughtfully organised into categories, which ably demonstrate its potential. Mac and Windows machines are supported, along with AAX Native, AU, VST2, and VST3 plug‑in formats.
Open the plug‑in and you see something resembling a dessert trolley! But click on Edit and a far more familiar‑looking set of user controls is revealed. The graphics represent the five main processing stages, with curved sliders each side of the graphical icons controlling the main two functions of the currently selected effects (for example, rate and depth). The delay and reverb share a box and although they have separate volume and time controls, they share common EQ, compression, depth and mix controls, located on the far right of the GUI. At the top of the screen are meters for the input and output as well as slider controls for EQ, stereo width and gain.
So, what of the effects themselves? We have a choice of nine different types of distortion, complete with high‑ and low‑pass filtering, a wet/dry mix control plus two modulation slots that can each be populated by one of four modulation types. There’s flutter, wow, tremolo and auto‑pan for one slot, with chorus, multi‑chorus, phaser and flanger for the other.
An envelope follower... can be set to modulate the delay feedback and delay/reverb mix.
In the delay section there’s a tempo‑sync option, with a choice of single, dual, and cross modes, with the option to dial in different left and right delay times. To make things more interesting, there are 24 feedback options that make use of different types of filtering plus an envelope follower that can be set to modulate the delay feedback and delay/reverb mix. The reverb offers eight types with simple controls, but then we find a separate compressor with the usual attack, release and depth controls, and a choice of where it can be placed in the signal path (Mix, Delay/Rev or Side‑chain).
An output EQ offers 31 character presets, such as transistor radios or megaphones, but it can also be adjusted manually, in which case there are three bands with variable cut/boost and frequency. A pitch‑shifter can be routed to the reverb or reverb/delay, with a choice of octaves and intervals — useful for creating shimmer reverbs and the like. Different modes optimise its performance to the sound source type. I thought it odd that there was no master wet/dry mix control — this means that if you want to do the EDM or chillout thing of having effects drift in and out rather than switch abruptly, then (unless your DAW happens to offer a wet/dry control for each insert slot) you’ll need to automate multiple depth and mix parameters rather than a single control.
The effect types might seem very familiar, but the combination of options here can produce some very complex and appealing results that sound more sophisticated than you might expect — very much a case of the end result sounding greater than the sum of the parts. Other than the lack of a master mix control, Sprite gets a definite thumbs‑up both for sound and ease of use.