MonsterBag ($45), from Tobybear Productions (www.tobybear.de) is a collection of 14 VST effects plug-ins for Windows. Despite their Japanese-gumball-machine appearance, MonsterBag delivers some serious sound-mangling effects.
The MonsterBag plug-ins consist of three modulated filters, four delays, six special distortion effects, and a gate effect. Many have two independent parameter sets that you can switch between, morph between, or apply to separate sides of a stereo mix. Most also allow some degree of MIDI remote control and have one or more tempo-synchronizable LFOs for modulating their parameters.
AlliGator (shown here) is a gating plug-in with some interesting twists. You can switch between two independent gate circuits or apply them in stereo. Settings for gate level, slope, width, and phase make for very flexible gate sequencing. The gate can control volume, pan, or the cutoff and resonance of an internal filter. Gating can be always active or toggled by incoming MIDI Note messages, with adjustable fade-in and -out.
I think of RedRack as a 16-tap delay line on steroids. It comes in stereo and 8-output versions (for hosts that support multiple outputs). Each tap has settings for delay, feedback, level, and pan position as well as cutoff and resonance for the tap's dedicated multimode filter. Each of RedRack's two LFOs can be routed, per channel, to any parameter. In a nice touch, each channel's input can be taken from the left or right channel, or from their sum, difference, or product as well as from inversions thereof. Hearing is believing (see Web Clip 1).
RoboBear X is MonsterBag's most out-there distortion effect. Dubbed a granular sonic decomposer, it combines control over grain size, pitch, and feedback with multimode filtering and three varieties of ring modulation. RoboBear's parameters are only vaguely described, but its cute little randomize button can help you out.
Each of the plug-ins deserves an audition, and even if you find only one you like, MonsterBag is well worth the price. You can download save-disabled demos from the Tobybear Web site.