Discord 2 ($49) is the latest piece of audio-demolition software from Audio Damage (www.audiodamage.com), a partnership between plug-in designer Christopher Randall and DSP wizard Adam Schabtach. With this third-generation upgrade, Discord has evolved from an emulation of the classic Eventide Harmonizer H910 to an advanced, MIDI-aware plug-in with a full range of pitch-shifting and delay capabilities. Discord 2 is available in VST and AU formats for the Mac and VST format for the PC. Despite its sophistication, it is easy to program and comes with a substantial library of presets to get you started (see Web Clip 1).
Discord 2's primary functions are pitch-shifting and delay. It has completely independent signal paths for the right and left channels, with individual controls for all parameters. Dual multiwave LFOs can modulate the amount of pitch-shift, the delay time, and the cutoff frequencies of lowpass and highpass filters at the end of the signal paths. The VST versions offer MIDI Learn capabilities for all parameters. The pitch-shift range is up and down one octave, and you can set the pitch-shift amount in semitones with MIDI Note Numbers between 48 and 72.
Audio Damage's product line includes a variety of other reasonably priced hardware emulations. Phase 2 (Mac/Win, $49) models the Mutron Bi-Phase with a pair of 6-stage phasers that can work in parallel or in series. The 914 Fixed Filter Bank (Mac/Win, $39) replicates the Moog Modular's 914 filter module. Ratshack Reverb (Mac/Win, $34.99) needs no introduction. As its developers put it, “Never before has a vintage effect of such low quality been as painstakingly modeled.” Dubstation (Mac/Win, $39), a very basic feedback-delay line, and BigSeq (Mac/Win, $39), a 16-step gating and filtering sequencer, aren't exact emulations, but they follow the same simplicity-first philosophy of most Audio Damage products.
On the other hand, Ronin (Mac/Win, $69), my personal favorite, is anything but simple. It has dual delay lines with a maximum of 12 seconds of delay, dual multimode resonant filters with continuous morphing between modes, and dual saturators. Two multiwave LFOs and an envelope follower provide the modulation. But Ronin's signal-routing matrix is the mind bender. You can route the right and left input channel to any module, and you can route the output of any module to the input of any other. Failing to consider feedback can lead to a world of hurt, but a little attention to detail yields quite unusual results (see Web Clip 2).