I do a fair amount of reviews regularly. Out of all of them, I seldom gel with a particular anything like I did with VolumeShaper 4, from CableGuys. In this review, I’d like to go over why I love it, so much! And, also give you a better working knowledge of how it works!
From the name, one might assume that VolumeShaper 4 only deals with the amplitude of the overall volume of any source that you run through it, as a whole. And, I must admit, this was my original thought, as well. However, after jumping into the thick of it, after being a little frustrated with the lack of presets, I found how wrong I was. And I had my frustration obliterated by a very, very handy plug-in.
Up to three, user-definable bands are available within VolumeShaper 4. Once assigned, VolumeShaper 4 will sculpt the amplitude between three different high, mid and low field selections. That being said, this essentially means that VolumeShaper 4 can make some very complicated modulations to anything you run through it. However, the thicker, the better, I found.
One thing I need to point out about VolumeShaper 4 before going any further is the simplicity and polish that is both plainly visible, but also way more than just cosmetic. Every tiny dot on the interface has a purpose, and I really love that. Rather than just giving you a basic, graphic envelope, with the intention of you creating your own patterns, from the start, they give you several different categories of basic patterns that you can drop in ‘on the fly’, which is great for DJs that want to use VolumeShaper 4. Or. great for musician/producers that want to use generic shapes as templates to make their own, or all of the above. And, they also give you shift right, shift left abilities. You can even link the different bands together!
I like using VolumeShaper 4 with many different forms of source audio. But favorite would have to be with low pads. In the example below, I am merely playing single keys. But, with slight patterns created for the high, mid and low channels of VolumeShaper 4, it almost sounds like multiple synthesizers.
If you’re just needing some quick side-chaining, and only need one band, don’t worry, VolumeShaper 4 is still your ace. It even has generic waveforms, like reverse triangles already available for that kind of operation, along with sine waves, triangle waves, squaretooth, sawtooth, and more.
The only bummer is the small amount of presets that are available. Granted, how much can you actually do with a multi-band, amplitude envelope/LFO? Well, in my opinion, quite a bit. I really did feel that there could have been many more examples.
As simple as VolumeShaper 4 sounds, believe me when I say that it’s a plug-in that must be experienced by all forms of music. The way that you can sculpt with it really adds a lot of power to the hands of any producer. It’s also so clean (graphically, and sonically) that you might even start to think it’s a native part of your DAW, especially when you enable the Resize Waveform button, and all you have left are just the graphics, control points, and little else. Thanks Cableguys, this is a great piece of gear!
Pros: A clean, powerful multi-band amplitude sculpting plug-in with three extremely powerful graphic LFOs. Can make anything amazingly rhythmic.
Cons: Few presets.