There are companies that often fly under the radar in the music software business, but when they get one’s attention, one wonders how this could happen with such great intuitive products. When I first heard about Swedish developer kiloHearts and their products, I was amazed by the concepts they presented and wondered how this company has not gotten the attention it deserves. That is reason enough to have a closer look at kiloHearts and their products, so in this review we will start with their latest strike: Multipass.
What is Multipass?
Multipass is a multiband plugin that splits the incoming audio signal into up to 5 frequency bands, which then can be individually processed by so-called snapins – modular plugins that can be used within Multipass.
Snapins come in lots of different flavors and classic effects, such as distortion, chorus, delay, compressor, or limiter. But there are also unusual snapins like formant filtering and frequency shifting. A great benefit is that snapins can also be loaded as separate plugins in your DAW, without the use of Multipass. A few different snapins come bundled with Multipass, and more can be bought from the kiloHearts website.
- Modular multiband effect plugin that splits the incoming audio signal into 5 frequency bands, each of which can hold an unlimited amount of effects (snapins).
- Total amount of 17 snapins available: Chorus, Delay, Gain, Limiter, Stereo, Compressor, Distortion, Filter, Haas, Phaser, Bitcrush, Comb Filter, Formant Filter, Frequency Shifter, Pitch Shifter, Resonator, Trance Gate.
- All snapins can be loaded as regular plugins within any DAW that supports either the VST or the Audio Unit plugin architecture.
- Available for Windows (7 or newer) or Mac OS X (10.7 or newer) for VST/AU as digital download.
- Price Tags:
Installation is nearly painless. After having purchased Multipass, a Bundle, or a snapin, you receive an e-mail where you can download the installer for Windows or Mac OS X and your serial numbers. Run the installer and it’s done. Super simple.
The User Interface
The user interface of Multipass can be separated in 6 main parts. On a first view it might look a bit overwhelming, but a closer look will reveal a clear structure, the best part of which is that it all works by drag and drop.
- Shows the name of the current patch. By clicking the patch nam,e you will get to the preset browser from where you can save and load presets.
- Under the patch name are the macro knobs. These knobs can be routed to any parameter in Multipass in order for quick and easy-to-reach editing. A single macro knob can even be routed to several parameters.
- To the right of the macro knobs is the modulation area. From here you can modulate parameters of your patch using LFOs, Envelopes, or MIDI input.
- In the middle of the plugin you will find the band splitter. It splits the audio signal into up to five different frequency bands, which can be processed independently by an unlimited amount of snapins.
- Below the band splitter are the snapin lanes. Each lane can hold several snapins. Adding new snapins is as easy as clicking the empty space at the bottom of a lane.
- Under each lane, at the very bottom of the window, are the lane mixing controls. Here you can adjust the gain and pan of each lane independently but also influence other parameters.
To open up the full potential of Multipass, it is also essential to understand the signal path and flow inside of the plugin.
- Pre FX Lane
Before getting into the band splitter, the audio signal will pass through the pre FX lane where snapins can be added the first time, which will affect the audio signal before hitting the band splitter.
- Band Splitter
The band splitter splits the audio signal into up to five bands and sends each band into its own lane.
- Band Lanes
Each lane is processed separately by the snapins in its band lane.
- Band Mixer
After the audio bands have been processed by the snapins in the band lanes, they are mixed back together. The band mixed also allows blending between the dry unprocessed signal coming out of the band splitter, and the wet signal that has been processed by the snapins in the band lane.
- Post FX Lane
Before the audio signal leaves Multipass, the post FX lane provides one last chance to process the audio signal as a whole, after the bands have been mixed down.
With Multipass, it is super quick and easy make a boring sound interesting and change it completely. Being able to drag and drop the snapins in and out quickly makes it very intuitive and most of all: fun! Finding new sounds by coincidence or experimenting with different settings – everything is possible. Multipass invites you to play around with the band lanes and snapins. If you map the most important parameters of a finished patch to the macro knobs, your are also able to tweak those with a midi controller without any problem – so in combination with a laptop, it can even be used in a live setup.
kiloHearts have given us a mighty tool with Multipass, one that is truly limited only by your creativity. The concept is awesome, and the snapins sound very good, not to mention the added possibility of having the snapins act as separate plugins in your DAW.
Multipass may slightly overwhelm the user who is only looking for an immediate cool sound. The delivered presets are good, but are mostly intended to show the possiblities of Multipass. Sound designers, however, will have a great playground (if a bit expensive) for sonic shaping and sound creation. I would be excited if kiloHearts released further snapins in future, as I think there is still room for even more creative FX. Time will tell, and until then, I think I personally will have lots of fun with Multipass.