YESSSSS! Shaperbox2 is here! The original Shaperbox is on most projects I have worked on for the last couple years. The second version of this plugin is a fantastic evolution of the software, brimming with useful goodies without becoming squashed and bloated with too many options.
￼In this review I’ll just cover the updates and improvements made on the original plugin, so for more info please see the original Shaperbox review. In a nutshell however, Shaperbox2 is a tempo-based multi band multi toolkit that utilises LFOs to shape incoming audio with a filter, width shaping, volume, pan, and time shaping. Each tool is separate, and can be racked in any sequence you want.
So, on the new elements. There are so many additions that seem small, but make a big difference, they’re too many to list here. I’m just going to introduce my faves.
First off, NEW module – CrushShaper
￼ What an awesome addition to the rack. Get your grit on with this rhythmic bit crusher. Exactly the same GUI as the other modules – you can design LFO’s or use a template to modulate the Crunch, Bitrate, samplerate, AND fx mix. All of them multi band. So that’s 12 LFOs you can mash up incoming signal just on that one module. This thing gets complex QUICK. ￼ Re-sizeable interface.
I know I know, yawn. But sometimes it’s the little things, and for me, this really made a difference. Having it bigger makes it easier for me to tweak. Boom.
On the opening screen, there are 3 presets per module that are quick start processes that you might go to fairly often. For example, the volume shaper ones are sidechain, compress and trim hit. They load up standard LFOs that with slight tweaking will get you to your destination quicker. It’s a nice touch.
Envelope follower and Compressor
Yet more mix tools that span the modules. You now get a compressor in the VolumeShaper module, and an envelope follower section on all the others. You can use them to dynamically modulate the signal coming in. They can be used separately or in conjunction with the LFO modulation, and give you a different method to design the sound. On the FilterShaper and WidthShaper you can add or multiply the envelope to the LFO giving you either an offset to the envelope, or a radical intensity and depth to the envelope. Another cool element to the Env and comp is that you can route external audio to trigger them.
￼Improvement on Timeshaper
I don’t know what dark magic has happened in the Cableguys labs, but I now LOVE the TimeShaper module. It always intrigued me, but I kept ditching it because of the clicks and crackles as it hopped around the time domain. Although it’s not totally click-free now (and can’t be, really, considering what it does) it’s now EXTREMELY useable and massively fun to mess with your sound.
Steeper crossover on the multiband
I know I know I live a boring life. But 24DB crossovers yay! Slightly more clinical when you’re trying to find the right place to split bass, mids and trebs. Brilliant.
As I’ve mentioned above I use Shaperbox on most projects. Realistically I use it mostly for the volume shaping. Especially in bigger sounding electronic music, the side chain is so much more precise than a compressor, and therefore in most cases more useful. But the other improvements, especially with the TimeShaper and addition of CrushShaper mean I’ll be probably using Shaperbox2 in a different, more involved way than I have in previous years. Really great improvement on the original iteration. Well done Cableguys!!
There’s a time-limited bundle 55% off deal on at the moment, where you can buy the Shaperbox with all 6 tools for only €89/$99. If that’s something you can’t afford at the moment, then I can recommend you just buy one tool at a time (I would say the VolumeShaper is your best start) and work up from there. For more info, visit the official webpage.
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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.