Regular readers of my blog will know that I’m a big fan of Glitchmachines plugins having previously reviewed Cataract, Polygon, Quadrant, Convex and Cryogen. So it’s always with a sense of anticipation when a new plugin is released.

And Fracture XT doesn’t disappoint, it’s another excellent product from Glitchmachines. It is a very capable glitch effect and can produce some extraordinary and very extreme effects as well as more subtle ones too. It’s easy to use and has a great looking interface, the modular patching system is a very clever addition which makes Fracture XT stand out and gives a unique character. The sound quality is excellent too, the combination of great sound and ease of use makes it easy to adjust settings and get great results. I also like the extensive randomisation options, I use these a lot and they can form excellent starting points for you to refine and tweak. I can see that this will be one of my go to effects for the foreseeable future.

Fracture XT is a modified version of the already extremely popular – and free – Fracture VST which has a buffer effect, multi-mode filter, delay, 3 LFOs and variable effects chain configuration.

Fracture XT builds on this formula with the inclusion of a granular processor; improved buffer, delay and multi-mode filter algorithms; four flexible LFOs which can feed several modulation parameters simultaneously and a very cool patchable modulation matrix.

The UI has the clean, modern look we typically see from Glitchmachines with the inclusion of a very cool looking modulation matrix. It’s split into three sections
with the effects located in the upper section;

effects

patchbay in the lower section;

patchbay

midi, menus and preset options at the bottom;

menu

Effects section

The buffer effect records a small portion of the input signal and loops it a certain number of times.  When it has finished looping it records the input signal and starts looping again. This effect has three settings:

Size – duration of looped audio (1ms – 1s)

Speed – This is the playback speed. 1.0 is original speed, 2 is double and 0.5 is half the original speed.  Negative values work in the same way but play the audio backwards.

Time – the number of times the audio loops before buffering a new input (1 – 64)

Multimode filter – the effect has a dedicated multimode filter (lowpass, highpass, bandpass and notch) with cut-off and resonance settings.

 
The grains effect buffers its input into a delay line and several playback heads loop small random sections of the delay line at the same time.  These grains have an envelope applied to their amplitude which gives a smoother sound than the buffer effect.

Size – adjusts the duration of looped audio (10ms – 500ms).  The slider to the right is jitter and controls the percentage of random deviation from the base parameter value for each grain.

Speed –  This is the playback speed. 1.0 is original speed, 2 is double and 0.5 is half the original speed.  Negative values work in the same way but play the audio backwards.

Amp jitter – this controls the amount of amplitude randomisation for each grain.

Multimode filter – the effect has a dedicated multimode filter (lowpass, highpass, bandpass and notch) with cut-off and resonance settings.

 
The delay is a standard delay line with feedback and mix controls with the added feature of a variable input slider to take input from the buffer or grains modules or blend as required.

In FX – this is the variable slider.  All the way to the left feeds the delay with the output from the buffer module, all the way to the right feeds the input with the output from the grains module.  You can also blend anywhere between the two with the middle position being 50/50.

Time – sets the delay time (1ms – 1s).  Clicking the clock icon will sync to beat divisions of your host tempo.

Feedback – the amount of signal fed from the delay output to the delay input.

Mix – sets the ratio of regular : delayed signal from 0% (regular signal only) to 100% (delayed signal only).

One other very useful feature for all of these effects is a randomise option in the header which will randomise all parameters for that effect.

 
Out

This has amp controls (-70 to +6 dB) and dry/wet which controls the ratio of input : processed signal where 0% only outputs the original signal and 100% only outputs processed signal. The dry/wet control is a very useful parameter for shaping your sound, it makes a big difference especially with extreme effects whether these are subtle and blended with the original signal or alternatively dominate the output.

 
Patchbay

This is my favourite part of the effect, not only does it give a very cool modular look but it’s extremely easy to use and is colour coded to help with this too.

The 4 LFOs are at the heart of the patchbay, they are used to automate certain parameters and can modulate several simultaneously giving some highly complex patches.  The colour coding switches between grey (un-sync’d) and fuschia (sync’d).  Each has rate settings (either 0.01 Hz – 40 Hz or 1/128 to 8 bars) and waveforms of sine, square, triangle, saw up, saw down, sample and hold, smooth rnd. To sync to host tempo click on the clock icon.

Colour coding is also put to good use with un-patched input nodes marked blue with a grey modulation depth knob which both change colour to fuschia when an assignment has been made.

Making an assignment is as simple as a click and drag from one of the LFO output nodes to the desired input node which is located on the left of the desired modulation parameter.

The patchbay also has two very handy randomisation options ?LFOs randomises all 4 LFOs and their parameters; ?mods randomises all patch connections and modulation depth knobs.

The Footer section features the Preset browser and its associated parameters, as well as the global menu, global randomizer and midi options.

Fracture XT comes with 105 presets created by Ivo Ivanov, Alex Retsis and Stephan Bobinger and cover effects such as mellow dub delays to dense holographic grain clouds. There are some excellent presets bundled with Fracture XT and some of these are brutal, decimating any sounds you feed it.

As an example, here’s some of the presets applied to a drum loop:

 
It also works really well on synth sounds:

 
I also created a demo track which is embedded at the top of this post. I created a a chord loop in Nave (Waldorf) processed by Incipit (Inear Display) and used a 4:4 kick pattern using Slam (Extent of the Jam). I’ve layered a sample from my Kalipheno sample pack processed with Fracture XT with 2 instances of a bass tail sample from the Escape pack by Mode Audio processed with Fracture XT.

 
At this point I think it’s worth highlighting the difference between Fracture XT, Cryogen, Convex and Incipit by Inear Display.

The differences are primarily the type of effects and subsequent modulation possibilities that each effect provides:

Fracture XT – Buffer, granular processor, delay
Convex – Dual multimode filters, dual delay and dual pitch shifters
Cryogen – Dual buffer effects, dual multimode filters and dual bit crusher effects
Incipit – 3 effects chains with pitch shifter, delay and amp.

For me Incipit is more of a creative delay effect with extensive modulation options whereas Fracture XT, Convex and Cryogen are more for glitch effects which each have different sonic characteristics and possibilities.

Fracture XT is available from Glitchmachines in VST/AU 32 & 64 bit versions priced $29.

 

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