If you’ve read my previous review of Cataract and Polygon, you’ll know that I’m a big fan of Glitchmachines VSTs and Quadrant is another brilliant offering. This one is not an instrument as such, rather it is a modular effects VST.
As with other VSTs, the UI for Quadrant is excellently designed with a great work flow. There are a number of excellent presets, some of which generate sound and others which can be applied to a sound source such as a synth or a sample loop. An example preset is shown above. In fact you don’t have to look far for some samples to try it out on – the download comes with a whopping 1.6Gb of samples – that’s more than 1,500 in total.
The real fun starts when you begin to create your own presets. Upon loading, the VST opens with the init patch which looks kind of bare.
What you have is the effect in bypass mode, the input is linked directly to the output. You also have 8 blank effect slots and 26 different modules to choose from: mono delay; stereo delay; filter; pitcher; reducer; clipper; distortion; fold; waveshaper; noise; fm oscillator; mono gainer; stereo gainer; mono mixer; dual mono mixer; stereo mixer; envelope follower; lfo; midi; meta controller; quad scaler; add / sub; mult / div; random in; random out; lag.
Once you’ve loaded your selected modules, you then need to patch them together using virtual cables. What I really like is the colour and size coding that shows inputs as the larger light grey circles and outputs are the smaller dark grey circles making it very easy to identify where your cables need to go and you can have more than one cable on an input or output. I also really like the fact that the possibilities to patch them together are nearly endless – for instance filters and delays can be wired in series or parallel with or without an LFO or envelope; mixers allow you to split and or combine signals and so on.
The effect of patching is demonstrated in the short example below. I’ve taken a vocal sample from the Dirty Tech Vocals 2 sample pack by Sharp Label, played it clean and then played it through 2 filter delays with the same settings but different patchings as shown below. The third effect is a more extreme delay with modulation and pitch shifting.
I’ve also created an example song called ‘Dark Winter’ which is embedded below. I created this using 4 instances of Quadrant and 1 instance of Subvert also by Glitchmachines. The song uses loops from the Winter Tech sample pack from Sharp Label. It starts with a fairly standard beat which has a layered sound effect processed / mangled with Quadrant and Subvert. The component loops are then mangled to varying degrees with a few mangled sound effects thrown in for good measure.
So in summary, if you want an effect that gives you an extensive choice of effects options with up to 8 in use at at any one time, full control over how these are connected together, extensive modulation options, great presets and an extensive 1,500+ sample library to get you started for a very reasonable price then you can’t go far wrong with Quadrant.