Mechanics Sound Blender. Click image for larger view.
Wave Mechanics UltraTools
Suite for Pro Tools
UltraTools is a suite
of plug-ins by Wave Mechanics that works with Digidesigns Pro Tools
TDM system, as well as third-party programs that utilize the Pro Tools|24
MIX hardware. The suite consists of four different plug-ins: PitchBlender,
TimeBlender, Pure Pitch and Pitch Doctor (each plug-in may also be purchased
individually). I tested the UltraTools suite with Emagics Logic
Audio (using Digidesigns Pro Tools|24 MIX hardware and DAE) and
Wave Mechanics groups two separate plug-ins called PitchBlender and TimeBlender
into a single module dubbed SoundBlender. PitchBlender and TimeBlender
are based on the same architecture and feature similar user interfaces.
A lot of DSP power is required to run these plug-ins, and the hit on your
TDM farm cards will be substantialeach instance of either PitchBlender
or TimeBlender takes up one entire chip on a farm card. However, when
I began to tap into the number of tweak options available, I understood
why these plug-ins are so DSP-hungry.
The DSP engine of the SoundBlender module shared by both plug-ins
is a 2-channel effects processor that combines delay, filtering, panning
and modulation. Many of the parameters within these features are identical
within each of the plug-ins. The main variable component is that pitch-shifting
is utilized in the PitchBlender plug-in, and reverse pitch-shifting is
used in TimeBlender.
The Main parameter page contains the most frequently used parameters for
quickly tweaking the sound of a particular preset. Most of the functions
on this page act as master controls, and their functions are related to
parameter settings found on other pages. The functions are Mix, Feedback,
Master Pitch, Master Delay, Mod Rate and Mod Depth. A BPM and Trigger
control function with a variable threshold are identical in both plug-ins,
and trigger sources include sidechain, input, output 1, output 2, mod
1 output, mod 2 output or mod 3 output. You can also trigger a modulation
manually with the mouse, and mods can be recorded as automation events.
An expert section contains parameters for reconfiguring the
signal flow and optimizing the audio processing.
Both plug-ins have a nearly identical modulation engine, with the only
difference being the pitch range (±2400 cents in PitchBlender vs.
±3600 cents in TimeBlender). The modulation control panel is very
complex and feature-filled, and Im sure that an entire article could
be written about this feature of SoundBlender alone. The basic structure
is based on three modulation sources that can be mixed and routed to dozens
of effects parameters. Mod rates can be adjusted as units of frequency
or bpm, and a wide range of modulation waveform and trigger options are
The filter section is a good way to really mangle an input source by altering
the frequency of the audio, much like the filter of an analog synthesizer.
The filters can be programmed to reduce high or low frequencies, eliminate
or enhance a band of frequencies, or create highly resonant effects. Modulating
the filter frequencies can create many synthlike effects. The parameter
controls are quite extensive, and tweakheads will have a ball morphing
the most basic sound into complex timbral masterpieces with a click of
The delay section of SoundBlender contains two digital delay lines; typical
delay effects include echo, slap delays and rhythmic effects. Delay values
can be modulated to create chorus, flange, vibrato and other extreme modulation
effects. Delay time parameters can be adjusted in milliseconds or bpm;
the maximum delay time in PitchBlender is 700 milliseconds and 1,000 milliseconds
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