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United Plugins Transmutator

Blending & Morphing Plug-in By Paul White
Published December 2020

United Plugins Transmutator Blending & Morphing Plug-in

Transmutator comes in all the common Mac OS and Windows plug‑in formats and, essentially, it offers multiple blending modes that allow you to combine or transition between two signals in creative ways. The largest knob transitions between the main track’s audio, designated A, and the side‑chain input, B. There’s also a Dry/Wet slider and an Invert switch that alters the mode behaviour in different ways, depending on the selected mode. Gain In controls are provided for signals A and B, there’s metering and also a Gain Out control, but that’s pretty much it. You just select a mode and then blend using the A/B knob.

To understand why this is so much more than a crossfade tool, you need to understand how the 16 blend modes work. Filter is simply a high‑pass filter applied to A and a low‑pass to B, and the transition moves the filters’ frequency; if Invert is enabled, then A is low‑passed and B high‑passed. Spectrum uses spectral processing to separate the tonal and noise elements, such that the noise from A is crossfaded with the tone from B, or vice versa. Morph again uses a spectral algorithm to blend the two inputs but, as the processing is not symmetrical, Invert will produce a very different result.

Stereo mode splits both inputs into their Mid and Sides signals, and you get to hear the Mid from one source combined with the Sides from the other. Pan splits the inputs into their left and right channels, so that at 50 percent you hear the right from A and the left from B. Transients splits the inputs into their transient and tail components, so again you can combine the attack from one sound with the tail of the other. Dynamics splits the inputs by level, to blend the louder elements of one sound with the quieter elements of another. Follow imposes the amplitude envelope of one signal onto the sound of the other. Liquid is a little more complex, as it splits the inputs into 64 spectral bands and then meshes the even bands from one sound with the odd bands from the other. Multi mode splits the inputs into just six frequency bands and does a similar thing.

It can be used to create a new composite sound from two inputs, create interesting transitions between two different sounds in place of the common crossfade, or function as a DJ tool to transition between songs.

Diffuse uses spectral processing to create random variations in each frequency, while Wash employs reverb to make A seem to get further away as B gets closer, or vice versa. Blur uses spectral freezing and blurring, and if Invert is enabled the spectral window is shorter, creating a more artificial effect. Pitch applies shifting to slide up or down by two octaves in opposite direction for the two sources and Shift does a similar thing using frequency rather than pitch‑shifting creating more of a ring‑modulator kind of sound. Finally, Degrade is based on digital distortion.

While some of this could be done manually, the plug‑in really is very simple and quick to use: you just choose the mode that sounds best for the material you’re working with and play with the blend and invert controls. It can be used to create a new composite sound from two inputs, create interesting transitions between two different sounds in place of the common crossfade, or function as a DJ tool to transition between songs.

The results depend on the input material, of course. So if you’re using Transients, for example, you need to work with percussive sounds, rather than pads. I found the Morphing, Transients and the various spectral processing modes to be the most effective for creating hybrid sounds, but much will depend on your style of music so there’s an application for every mode.

I have to admit that I would have liked to see an LFO or even a sequencer to control the A/B blend as a way to create rhythmic transitions but you can always automate the control to do that if you have the patience. And even without that facility, there’s already a lot to commend this plug‑in for the price. I’m sure people will find many more uses for it than I’ve thought up yet!

$81.

unitedplugins.com

Published December 2020