Cableguys have become one of my favorite creative plugin designers, with simple and effective plugins that affect the shape and positioning of sound. I use cable guys stuff in most projects I do in one form or another.
I was very excited to see a massive update arrived in my inbox from Cableguys. in it were a couple of new plugins, as well as some exciting updates to the core plugins that are more express versions of some of their older projects.
Cableguys make plugins that shape sound, and give it movement in simple intuitive ways. With this latest update, alongside improving their stable of plugins, they’ve streamlined them to fit neatly into a MultiFX rack called Shaperbox.
The new ones, starting with Timeshaper
Timeshaper is a plugin that lets you manipulate the playback speed and position of the audio running through it. You can use it to make stutter effects, tape slow and speed, scratching effects, etc Built in the same way as the other plugins, the window shows the wave shape of the audio overlaid with a timeline running from left to right.
You can step the line up or down to shift the audio time position forwards or backwards, and as it syncs to host, it easily splits the timeline into beats, that you can move around to keep rhythmic cohesion. dragging the steps up and down will refer the timeline to other parts of the bar, so you can repeat one 1/8th note, or play the kick on beat two again, etc. As with the other Cableguys plugins, it’s incredibly intuitive.
I couldn’t hear any pops or clicks on the time adjustments, so the algorithm running has got the fades covered well. You can change the bar length of the incoming audio you’re manipulating, and there are several great banks of presets to kickstart your inspiration. As with most of the other Cableguys plugins, one of the best elements of Timeshaper is the ability to multi band the processing three ways. So you can reverse the kick drum, stutter the mids and scratch the highs all at the same time. And the sound quality remains pristine. Here’s a video of me mashing up some drums on timeshaper, using a midi controller to switch presets live.
Another noobie from Cableguys that slots neatly into the shaper box family. Widthshaper affects… the stereo width of the sound! Surprise! you can narrow the sound to mono, or widen it to 200% stereo width. an oscilloscope runs left to right in the timeline, and you can use the draw-able stepped or curved waveform to shape the sound from mono to superstereo. There are several banks of midi controllable presets, and Widthshaper is multibanded with moveable bass, mid and treble bands. You can wet/dry each of the bands separately also.
I used widthshaper, filtershaper core, and timeshaper on the bass in the track here:
Shaperbox is a simple container window with a pictorial menu of the 5 sound-shaping plugins available. They’re all there as demos, and you can buy them separately for peanuts, or buy them as a bundle for not many more peanuts.
The streamlined plugins:
Volumeshaper; (see original review here) tweaks the volume signal. It can imitate the ducking and pumping of compression with ease, but is much more flexible and capable than that. For electronic music, this plugin is one of my top 5 for mix and creativity.
Here’s a pad on top of the track, that I use volume shaper and timeshaper on for movement:
Panshaper (see original review here) Panshaper’s GUI has changed somewhat to fit the shaper box mold, and now scrolls left to right instead of top to bottom. Otherwise it’s the same. You can shape the position of the sound in the stereo image. You can draw the shape of movement, either stepping or curving left to right, and there’s the multi band element to it also.
Filtershaper Core: (See our review of the original Filtershaper here) Filtershaper Core is a more compact, simple version of the original, with just one filter instead of two. However, the same filter shapes are available, and both the Cutoff and Resonance are shape-able with the drawn curves.
All the plugins have been updated to provide better CPU and RAM efficiency, and better interpolation, for smoother sound/less clicks and pops. In another update, they have all midified: now you can quickly set up midi to change presets by controller key. select the preset you want, then save to key. There’s a simple controller setup process to select midi controller and channel.
Shaperbox is an extremely creative multiFX rack that helps shape sound for tracking, mix, and master. The updated algorithms create a lot cleaner sound, with less pops and clicks for all that movement. You can create really subtle evolving effects, to completely bonkers sound that can be totally changed at single press of a key. This is an unbelievable deal for the creative power tools that you’re getting in this bundle. I Highly recommend grabbing this setup – it won’t disappoint. For the money it’s an absolute bargain!
Shaperbox itself is free – you pay for each of the tools. You can buy them separately from between $24 and $44, but I would highly recommend getting the shaper box bundle at $99 – an absolute steal for the massive sonic manipulation potential contained!
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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.