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Review: McDSP Futzbox

Toby Pitman on Jun 11, 2012 in Review 1 comments

You can never have too many options for creating distortion effects. Toby Pitman crushes, crumples, squeezes and mangles sounds using McDSP's Futzbox plug-in.

If you're looking for an all in one solution for distorted effects I don’t think you could do much better than McDSP’s mangling machine: Futzbox. 

GUI


Futzbox combines some clever Impulse Response processing in the form of SIMs (Synthetic Impulse Models) with a nice variety of bit crushing, distortions, a noise generator, a gate and filtering. The result is a wide variety of messed up Lo-Fi goodness!


SIM (Synthetic Impulse Models)

The first stage in Futzbox are the SIM effects. Here you get a nice selection of what are essentially speaker simulations (or their EQ characteristics) provided by the Impulse Models. These are so tiny (literally ms) that you can easily scroll through and select the device you want without any loading or calculation time (normally associated with long Impulses). Every crumby device you can think of is provided!

The SIMs

The SIMs


Here’s what happens to a plain drum loop just using a SIM of a Speak and Spell.

The Speak & Spell SIM

The Speak & Spell SIM.



I think you get the picture.


Lo-Fi Goodness!

Next to the SIM module we have a Bit Crusher. If I dial down the Sample Rate and Bit Depth I get the the classic Lo-Fi sound. In conjunction with the SIM this give a suitably crumby sound! Great!

Going Lo-Fi.

Going Lo-Fi.


I can further destruct this by adding some noise with the Noise Generator! 

Adding the Noise Generator to the mix!

Adding the Noise Generator to the mix!



The Noise module has a nice ducking feature or I can clip it using the the Gate module too.

The ducking and gate module.

The gate module.



Distortion Heaven

If you want a more conventional distortion sound the Distortion module should cover all the bases with a wide selection of distortion modes.

There are many distortion modes on offer.

There are many distortion modes on offer.


Here’s an example of Nuke on our drums.


My favorite feature though is the Rectify setting which gives a kind of compressed, clipped distortion. 

The Rectify setting.

The Rectify setting.



When combined with the actual distortion this gives a massive amount of spank to your sound!!

Combined with distortion.

Combined with distortion.




If things get a bit out of control you can always dial down the frequencies using the filters which are pre distortion and the EQ which is post distortion.

Tame that sounds with the filters.

Tame that sounds with the filters.



All Material Welcome!

Futzbox works really well on anything you throw at it. Whether it’s voice, synths, drums or guitars. Here’s an example on a single sawtooth wave in Massive.


I’ll now add Futzbox with a SIM, some distortion (with Rectifying) and some filter and EQ.

Futzbox applied to the original sound.

Futzbox processing the original sound.


The great thing about the SIM is you have a Tune control which allows you to get some nice formant type effects. I’m going to automate this in Logic along with the EQ (set to LP) modules frequency. Here’s what I get:

Adding automation in Logic Pro.

Adding automation in Logic Pro.



Now if I add some Bit Crusher I get some really nice breakup going on. It interacts with the rectifier quite nicely!!

Some bitcrusher added.

Some bitcrusher added.


 

I’ve found Futzbox to be a never ending source of destruction fun. Go check it out!!


For the past 20 years Toby has worked as a professional guitarist, programmer and producer. Clients include Sir Paul McCartney, George Michael, Shirley Bassey, Yusuf Islam, Giles Martin as well as the London 2012 Olympic Ceremonies. He has also worked extensively in TV, Advertising and Film. As well as composing himself he has also ... Read More

Discussion

B.J
I'm going to have to give this beaut a try. I purchased the Emerald Pack from McDsp a while back but have admittedly and now shamefully overlooked this plug-in. Not anymore. Thanks!