I have been using the Cableguys Volumeshaper plugin in many of my recent projects. It’s so useful for emulating side-chain effects, yet having more precise control over waveshape and frequencies. So I was excited when PanShaper fell into my inbox.
PanShaper is the latest plugin from Cableguys – the adventurous plugin creators from Germany. It does what the title suggests – enables you to get creative with stereo modulation without having to resort to automating the panner in your DAW.
It’s the familiar black, grey and orange GUI, which is a little severe, but very clear, and I enjoy it. Essentially you install it on a DAW channel, and can watch the graphic waveform from that channel scroll down the screen from top to bottom. You can add a waveform to that window, thus directing the panning motion of that channel. You can sync the LFO waveforms to host tempo at various multiples of the tempo (once every 2 bars, or 1/16th for example), or run it free. You can also trigger it to loop or one-shot with midi which is excellent. You can either select from a library of preset waveforms, or you can draw in your own waveshapes. The myriad of ways you can draw waves and steps in this plugin is extraordinary, and I’d recommend getting the demo or watching the video below to get an idea of just how in depth the free drawing possibilities are.
One tool that I loved in VolumeShaper is here in PanShaper. Multi band. You can have differing amounts of effects in different frequency ranges, and you can drag the edges of the ranges with a mouse. So the bass of the sound can be panning one way, and the top end can be panning the opposite, and the mid range can be sat still. Crude example, but hopefully it gives you an idea of the possibilities. You can open up the spectrum window that sits at the top right of the plugin, and it gives a larger picture of the frequency spectrum, and more precise control over the frequency ranges you want to work with, and the crossovers of those ranges (6DB or 12DB). You can solo each band, making it easier to draw out certain sounds to pan. To my knowledge there isn’t another multi band panning plugin available at time of print.
PanShaper has the innovative online library that any user can add to. So you can have a myriad of presets. As I’ve mentioned before there are pros and cons to this concept – you get a shed load of presets, but as anyone can upload them, you’re not guaranteed excellence in every one. The star system does a little to remedy this, so you can filter out presets you’re probably not going to want to use.
Listen to these examples that show the capabilities of pan shaper
Conclusion As usual, Cableways have come up trumps with this plugin. You can really add life to all different kinds of music, and sounds. And for a killer price too. It’s got enough interesting elements to set it apart from other plugins, and prove extremely useful if you’re looking for that little bit of inspirational sound tweaking from your toolbox.
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About The Author
Composer/Producer, and keyboard player. He has written and recorded soundtracks for a wide variety of media and co-owns DOsounds.com with Jake Owen, a music production company that gives him an excuse to buy more analog gear.