Triad is a hoofing step up on the already fantastic and award-winning Byome plugin by Unfiltered Audio. It brings together three Byome engines, and parks a Multiband splitter on the front end. You can now go modular effect crazy within specific frequency ranges and at the same time manipulate the stereo image, adding a ton of depth to what is already an incredibly useful and creative plugin.
If you haven’t encountered Byome yet, check out my Byome review from a couple of months ago before continuing. It’ll walk you through an overview of the excellent plugin, and will save me from having to re-hash stuff! In a nutshell, Byome is a modular effects plugin. There are 40+ effects that you can add in any order, and then modulate most elements with a bunch of modulators. As you can imagine, you can get crazy creative with how you mash up the incoming audio.
FREQUENCY SPLITTING MAGIC
The Splitter in Triad is the new trunk of the plugin, with 3 Byome engines branching off. The plugin opens with just the Splitter section, and once the Byome engines are activated, it still takes up the top third of the GUI, with the majority of the section given over to a frequency range visualiser showing the response across the spectrum. Splitter gives you the ability to split the incoming audio in several ways, treat each section differently, while also mixing sections to taste. As you split the signal, the colours in the visualiser change so you can quickly see which section you’re working with.
There are 3 different modes the Splitter functions in. First is frequency splitting. You can choose 2 or 3 bands of frequencies to divide into and work on separately, adding a totally new Byome engine to each band.
You can move the frequency crossover for each band. You can also lower or raise the volume of each band. There’s a fantastic button called Unity, that automatically compensates the volume of other bands as you change levels, ensuring that the overall volume of the outgoing signal is relatively unchanged: and it works very well.
There’s a great range of filter slopes between the bands, from a fairly mild 12dB to a cliff-edge 72dB. If you want the plugin to decide the ranges for you, hitting the ‘instant’ button splits the bands up into roughly the same amount of dynamic energy per frequency band. Going even further than that, there is also a cool dynamic response button, which automatically adjusts the frequency bands to keep the energy levels similar as the sound changes.
Parallel processing (2 or 3 band). This doubles or triples the signal, you can apply whatever effects you want to the full frequency range on each channel, then the signal is summed back to the output.
With both Parallel processing and frequency split, if you choose 2 bands, you have an extra Byome engine that you can use in serial pre or post the other two bands. This gives you a little more flexibility in the way you’re creating sounds. As if you needed it!
Finally, there’s a stereo processor – where you can split the signal into mid-side, or left/right configurations, and work on each channel separately. One thing I love about the stereo processing option is the addition of a width processor across both channels. In Mid/Side processing, the width control determines how much information goes to the mid-channel and how much to the sides. The width goes to 200%, enabling some lovely artificial widening. Once you get to 200% it felt a little uncomfortable on my ears, but to taste, the widening effect is excellent. If you’re in Left/Right processing, it is a simple widener post effects.
THE MODULAR FX ENGINE
A click of the Byome button brings up three rows of effect processing potential, with the audio signal from the selected band running from left to right along the effects that you choose and load up. I won’t go into great detail here, as I spent quite a bit of time explaining it all in the previous Byome review, but Byome is essentially a build-your-own modular effect chain, with 40+ effect modules of all different types that you can choose from and add to the row, from delays, stutters, glitches, granularisation, eq, reverb; you name it, it’s probably there.
One cool thing I discovered in TRIAD, is the ability to switch the effect chain on a particular row, to another one with a simple click on an arrow at the beginning of the row. Brilliant. Also, If you have your own presets from your Byome plugin, you can import these to the rows separately.
The whole plugin is then subject to modulation from the row at the bottom of the plugin. This is a row that provides a selection of tons of different modulation sources from LFO’s, sequencers, random sources, all clockable internally, or sync to host. A quick click and drag cables up the output of these sources to any input on any row. It’s limited only by your imagination and the CPU amount, which is surprisingly low, considering the power you wield in this plugin.
As if all that wasn’t enough to satisfy your modulation needs, you can modulate parameters of the frequency splitter functionality too: the levels and frequency of each band, the pre and post placing of the 3rd Byome engine in the 2-band functionality, and the width of the stereo channel processing.
The element that got me most excited about Triad is that it feels like it’s added some serious mix chops to the massively creative mangling potential of the Byome engine. So compared to how I used Byome in a track, I found myself adding TRIAD to the overall mix or a buss mix.
The sound quality of the frequency band splitting was phenomenal to me – I couldn’t hear any weird digital artifacts or FFT stuff like you sometimes do with this kind of effect. I absolutely loved the UNITY and WIDTH controls mix-wise.
You can totally change the character of a track by moving one fader, without losing a balanced sound, and the width control on the mid/side processing added loads of… er, width? to my tracks without it sounding phasey or weird. Of course, if I wanted to, it was easy to descend into modular mayhem and create some lovely weirdness from the music I’d already created.
The plethora of presets from talented sound designers and musicians takes it over the top. It really is a multifaceted plugin, and the Splitter just adds a powerful new layer, making it an even more useful tool to have at your disposal. Highly recommend!
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.