Mac VST/PC VST and DirectX
Reviewed: PC VST version
Quadrafuzz has a most unusual history. It was originally designed by SOS contributor Craig Anderton as a DIY hardware circuit, and Spectral Design have now turned this into a software plug‑in. Unlike most other distortion effects, it splits the signal into four frequency bands and distorts each one individually, which not only provides far more creative possibilities, but also gives more expressive control over the dynamics of the sound.
The software version also expands on the original idea by letting you choose the frequency range of each of the four bands. There is an input Gain control (with an associated Over LED), from which the signal passes into the filter bank. A second window to set this up is launched by clicking on the Edit button (you can see this window to the right in the screenshot above). The neat graphic design lets you change input levels by dragging the top of each band up or down, and alter the width (frequency range) of each band by dragging the base points sideways. Usefully, a small readout of current frequency and gain appears as you move the mouse.
...you don't need to limit yourself to guitar and drums — you could warm up digital keyboard sounds, or use the filters to tune in on particular sounds in a complete mix.
You can also Solo each band to hear it in isolation, and select one of five transfer curves (ranging from polite tubes to rude transistors by the sound of them). A bank of 16 Presets is provided, and you can Create or Delete your own up to a maximum of 32. Each bank can then be saved using the facilities of the host application. The main window has four rotary controls that alter the output level from each filter, and a final overall Output level control is also provided.
The presets give you an idea of how versatile QuadraFuzz is, with sounds ranging from PowerChord and AcoustiFuzz for guitars, and DrumsOfDoom and Tightener for more percussive sounds. However, you don't need to limit yourself to guitar and drums — you could warm up digital keyboard sounds, or use the filters to tune in on particular sounds in a complete mix. The CD‑ROM contains an excellent demo showing how you could selectively distort just the bass and snare drum in a groove. Quadrafuzz is a must‑have for distortion fans, and in keeping with Arbiter's new price policy it has been launched at £49 — an absolute bargain!