QuatroMod review – Audio Damage add modulation effects to their iOS AU collection

Download from iTunes App StoreAs I’ve posted over the last few weeks, Audio Damage are a developer on an iOS mission, with several new releases, many of which are based upon ports of their highly-regarded desktop plugins. As well as the recent Phosphor 2 synth release, we have also seen Rough Rider 2, Grind Distortion, Eos 2, Dubstation 2, FuzzPlus 3 and Replicant 2, all within the last few weeks.

And there is no sign of any let up as today sees the release of a further new iOS app; QuatroMod. As the title suggests, this is an app that offers modulation type effects. It is a 15MB download, universal in nature, requires iOS9.3 or later and runs as either a standalone app or via AU. The launch price is just UK£4.99/US$4.99.

QuatroMod – four different styles of modulation effects in a single app.

Fire up the Quatro

QuatroMod is also available as a desktop plugin (US$49) and both the desktop and iOS versions (which are identical in algorithms and features/controls) actually pull elements from some of Audio Damage’s other effects offerings. In fact, QuatroMod offers four ‘modes’ of modulation processing; Flanger, Chorus, Diffusor and Freqshift. The user can toggle between these modes via the text buttons located on the left of the UI. The bulk of the UI remains the same for each mode but a few minor adjustments are made as required by the different processing options.

The UI is slick but, in the main, pretty straightforward and, as Audio Damage have provided an excellent suite of presets for each of the four modes (and the preset system itself is very slick), it doesn’t take too much work to find your way around. The chorus and flanger style effects will be familiar to most music makers as they are ‘standard’ effect types.

The app worked very smoothly as an AU plugin within Cubasis.

Both the Diffusor and Freqshift modes, however, offer something a little less conventional. Freqshift is not unlike a sort of (very versatile) autowah type effect where a filter can be swept in various ways across the audio signal. I’m less sure I really know what the Diffusor is doing but if you can imagine a sort of ambience effect combined with modulation/pitch-shifting you will at least get someway there. This is based upon elements of Audio Damage’s Vapor plugin. Anyway, whatever is actually being done, it could sound very cool or totally weird depending upon just how hard you push the controls.

And talking of controls, the Depth and LFO Rate knobs (to the left) provide the starting point whichever mode you are working in. The Mix knob provides a wet/dry control and this does, thankfully, mean that you can get as subtle as you like even when using the plugin as an insert effect.

QuatroMod’s four modes each offer a different type of modulation-based effect.

In those modes that show it, I assume the Time knob adjusts the degree of time delay between the various detuned delay lines in the effect (there is no manual available at present but it is on it’s way apparently) and the effect certainly gets more noticeable as you increase this control.

The control set gets some minor adjustments to suit each of the four modes.

In Flanger, Chorus and Freqshift, the right-most knob is a Feedback control and, as on many other modulation effects, these simply feeds the processed signal back into the effects chain…. wind it up and you get more extreme changes to your audio. In Diffusion mode this control is actually labelled Diffusion and seems to control the ‘reverb’ element of that effect, moving between a less dense sound (almost just a single, very short, delay) through to multiple (dense set of) repeats (like a reverb). The other obvious control change is that the Time  knob becomes a Shift (pitch-shift) control in Freqshift mode.

Finally, the small toggle button located to the right of the main knobs also changes based upon the selected mode but, in each case, offers some further variation to the effects on offer.

The preset system is very well implemented…..

Chorus of approval?

Having already looked at one very good chorus effect this week (FAC Chorus), it’s kind of a bonus to be offered a second one to look at. Modulation effects are something I tend to use on a ‘light touch’ basis so the fact that both FAC Chorus and QuatroMod can be used in that way – as a subtle flavour – is, to my ears at least, a very good thing. However, both can also be pushed into creative ear-candy territory if you wish.

Multiple instances of QuatroMod worked a treat…..

In that regard, QuatroMod is a little more versatile. That’s perhaps no great surprise given the four different modes on offer but if your needs lie in the more experimental areas of effects processing, it perhaps makes this a more obvious choice. It is, of course, also a little more expensive….  but as we are talking chump change in both cases, then I’m not sure owning both is going to be too much of a stretch.

Feeling freaky? Freqshift mode edges into more ‘obvious’ effects territory.

I had no technical issues using the app and, while it worked fine standalone, most iOS music makers are going to slot in the AU plugin into their favourite AU host. I tried the app with Cubasis and AUM without any problems…  and I would assume it would work just as well with other popular AU hosts. As noted above, the preset system is excellent and the included presets provide a good demonstration of both the subtle and the more adventurous options that the app provides.

Audio Damage’s list of AUY effects is getting to be as extensive as is it impressive…..

And, sonically, it really does sound good….  whatever algorithms are sitting under the hood here, like FAC Chorus, they are very well designed. Whether you want to gently thicken a vocal, give a static bass sound a bit more movement, widen a synth pad or send a drum loop into a modulated tailspin, QuatroMod is more than up to the task and will do it with some considerable control and style.

In summary

I’m not sure there is a great deal more to say. Well, other than the usual comment that being able to buy such a high quality creative audio effect plugin for such a ridiculously low price is something I’m never going to understand. As a user, the App Store’s pocket money pricing never ceases to make me smile. Quite what it means for the longevity of developers is another matter…..

I’ll add a video demo for QuatroMod below as soon as one becomes available but, until then, just hit the App Store download button to find out more. And, while you are picking up a freebie, do check out Audio Damage’s other apps (including the recent Phosphor 2 synth); this is a developer on a seriously good iOS roll….

QuatroMod

Download from iTunes App Store
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