FabFilter go back to their roots with a brand‑new version of their Twin soft synth.
FabFilter plug‑ins have become something of an industry standard among mix engineers. It’s a rare Inside Track column in this magazine that doesn’t feature their Pro‑Q equaliser, Pro‑MB multiband dynamics or Pro‑C compressor, and for good reason. These plug‑ins sound great, but what really sets them apart from the herd is their innovative user interfaces. With stylish, minimalist graphic design coupled with intuitive click‑and‑drag operation, they’re the polar opposite of painstaking vintage hardware recreations, and enable users to get results fast.
So ubiquitous are they, it’s easy to forget that FabFilter didn’t start out making mixing plug‑ins. Nor did they hit their stride in user interface design straight away. The very first FabFilter plug‑in was in fact a very plain subtractive synth called FabFilter One. This was later joined by the more ambitious Twin — which, along with the other ‘creative’ plug‑ins in FabFilter’s catalogue, received a comprehensive overhaul back in 2009 (www.soundonsound.com/reviews/fabfilter-twin-2-timeless-2-volcano-2). And now it’s reached version 3.
There are many functional improvements to report, but the most obvious change is a wholesale visual reinvention. This brings Twin 3 much more in line with FabFilter’s mixing plug‑ins from a user interface point of view, which is a good thing. For example, Twin 2 was visually a bit overwhelming because all the oscillators, filters and so on were always visible even if they weren’t being used. Twin 3 presents a more Zen landscape that you populate with oscillators, filters and modulation sources according to your whim.
Filters are now represented graphically using a version of the spectral display from the Pro‑Q equaliser, which makes perfect sense — after all, a filter is an equaliser. Shadow animations are used throughout, not only to visualise the response of the filters but also the wave shapes that are being generated by the oscillators. Modulation is applied using a simple drag‑and‑drop approach, with pop‑up windows used to set the degree of modulation to be applied, and controls being animated when modulated. It’s all extremely classy and makes patching around a pleasure, though...
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