Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Review: KiloHearts Faturator

Product: Fatuator
Developer: KiloHearts
Format: PC (VST) and Mac (VST and AU)
Demo: Audio and downloadable version on product page.
Price: $19

Hot on the heels of their One synth, new developers KiloHearts are back with their first effect plug-in: Faturator.  Let's have a look!

Faturator is a distortion plug-in aimed at providing everything from slight drive and color to bone-crunching distortion.

Installation is performed simply by dragging the plug-in to the relevant plug-in folder.  As it is, this will run in the demo mode.  To authorize, you simply enter the serial number you're e-mailed upon purchasing it.

The interface for Faturator brings to mind the Fairlight CMI or Apple II computer with its tan frame and green "computer" screen.  As you can see, it's quite simple.  You have meters for your input and output levels, sliders for Drive, Fuzz, Color, and Mix levels, and a "Stereo Turbo" dial that provides stereo widening for even bigger sounds.

For a plug-in with relatively few controls, it's surprising how flexible the sound of Faturator is.  By varying the levels of the different parameters, you can be subtle and just warm up your sounds slightly or completely tear them apart.  The sound of Faturator is a bit more 'digital' to my ears than some of the other similar plug-ins on the market, which makes it especially appropriate for newer styles like dirty electro and dubstep.

As for what it'll work on... well, damn near anything with the right settings.  It's great on drums, can add some nice, gritty dirt to synths, and even works great for edgy vocals. One nice feature of Faturator is that it's designed to preserve the dynamics of whatever you feed into instead of just bricking everything.  Not sure how they achieve this, although if I had to guess, it probably uses some form of parallel distortion, much like you would use parallel compression.

Let's face it - there's no shortage of distortion effects out there.  But Faturator separates itself from others in a number of ways.  As mentioned, the sound of Faturator has a bit of a digital sound to it, which gives it an edge for more modern styles of music.  The stereo widener is a nice feature missing from most distortions that opens the door to bigger, more imposing sounds if you want them.  The CPU use is almost negligible, and at $19?  Even if you don't use it on everything, the price is absurdly reasonable.  [8/10]

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