Sonalksis: Creativity Simplified? Creative Filtering!
I have the feeling British plugin factory Sonalksis is a company acting more in the background, developing constantly plugins in Liverpool. They’re based there since 2002, supplying the market with characteristic plugins.
As a part of their catalogue, I came across the Creative Bundle – it consists of three powerful plugins and today I’ll share my experience with the Creative Filter:
All three Plugins from the Creative Bundle are really clean in terms of settings and look. They remind me of the One Knob Series by Waves, but with slightly more options.
The main part of the plugin represents the big Cut Off knob in the middle. You’re able to switch between three different filter types: Low Pass, High Pass and Band Pass. You can sweep between frequencies of 20hz and 20khz, which expresses the audible frequency spectrum by humans. (Sidenote: the filter will still work even if you put the cutoff frequency to max. values. The cutoff frequency represents the certain frequency, which is already lowered about 3db. So be sure to bypass the plugin if you want to leave the signal unprocessed.)
For each filter type you can choose between four resonance values. For pretty rough settings I recommend the ‘Rude’ option, which really makes its name. The ‘Slope’ knob displays three values stated in db/octave.
Beside a level fader, a small button named ‘Step’ seems to be interesting. By pressing this button it turns green and the cutoff frequencies are quantized to notes. So if you work with song keys, you are able to emphasize certain notes by increasing the resonance of the filter.
Creative Filter vs. One Knob Filter
As I already told you, these two plugins seem to be similar to each other. But just on the first look – both have big buttons in the middle. I really like the look of the One Knob Filter ($49), but it seems to react edgy. The rotation of the Creative Filter ($30) knob behaves more fluid which ensures smoother automation. Another point is the variable sound of Creative Filter.
With its extra settings you can adjust the plugin’s sound to your needs, while One Knob is a fix LowPass filter. So if you need a really soft and smooth filter, I would turn down the resonance in combination with a high slope and Creative Filter will cut the frequencies in a super clean way. Although One Knob Filter has also switchable resonances, the sound is filtered in a dusty kind of way and sounds more analogue. Depends on which sound you like – certainly both plugins have the right to exist and their purposes. (sidenote: One Knob Filter does not seem to affect the sound when turned to maximum, so you won’t be able to filter by mistake.)
While comparing the two filter I also noticed that One Knob Filter turns down the audio’s volume. Listen yourself:
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[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/237700596?secret_token=s-P6nrS” params=”color=ff5500&inverse=false&auto_play=false&show_user=true” width=”100%” height=”20″ iframe=”true” /]
[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/237700601?secret_token=s-DKEA4″ params=”color=ff5500&inverse=false&auto_play=false&show_user=true” width=”100%” height=”20″ iframe=”true” /]
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How do I use this filter?
On the one hand I use it as an technical frequency filter e.g. for beatmixes. Without a filter two tracks at the same time would sound muddy and obscured by virtue of the bass. So I put a lowcut on the incoming track around 150Hz which solves this problem.
On the other hand creative usage: single tracks with filter cuts for VO e.g. a kind of a telephone effect. Or automated filter sweeps which work nice on music. For more info check the post about filter usage.
Sonalksis’ Creative Filter is a tip when it comes to sound and feel. The components feel great. From soft to extreme settings – this plugin is able to do both styles and between, while delivering high class sound. It comes with different presets, so launching the most important settings will be done pretty fast. However, a very annoying point is that Creative Filter does not support Pro Tools’ aax format… just AU and VST… Certainly you can use it with Blue Cat Audio’s Patchwork, which loads VSTs in Pro Tools. But this is just a workaround and hopefully Sonalksis will add aax support soon.
Check the Sonalksis website for the demo – try it yourself!