Defacer is a freeware audio mangling tool released by Audio Assault, available as a 32-bit and 64-bit VST/AU plugin for Windows and Mac OS X plugin hosts.
The way in which Audio Assault’s latest freebie affects the processed audio signal is similar to that of a sample reducer unit (or a bitcrusher), however Defacer does things in a somewhat different way. It randomly rearranges the samples of the incoming audio signal in 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64 or 128 sample blocks, leading to a familiar but slightly different bitcrusher style effect.
When the “Deface” knob is positioned at around eight o’clock, the plugin produces a pleasant subtle type of sample reduction distortion which (if you reduce the “Mix” knob a bit) can work great for achieving that classic E-mu SP-1200 style crunch sound. This works particularly well when applied to drum samples. At higher settings, the plugin turns any incoming audio signal into fully glitched out digital noise, which sounds brilliant when applied to drum loops and other dynamic material (of course, with these kinds of effects your imagination is the only limitation).
However, the coolest feature of Defacer is how surprisingly versatile it is for an audio mangler effect. In addition to the aforementioned “Deface” module, the plugin also features a distortion unit (with a rectifier circuit switch) and a low pass to tame all of of those harmonics which are being generated by different types of distortion. Finally, the plugin actually has two identical signal processing channels which can be mixed together (or morphed between, if you automate things in your host application of choice) using the “A/B” knob.
Defacer works great as a simple bitcrusher effect, as well as a fairly versatile audio mangling toolbox. You can also experiment with using it as an electric guitar effect because, after all, Audio Assault first stepped on the VST plugin scene with their awesome Grind Machine virtual guitar amplifier and they have lots of experience with creating great sounding guitar amp algorithms.
Last year, the awesome guys at Audio Assault have developed a freeware dual tube filter effect called FilterCrusher which is proudly hosted right here on BPB. You should definitely check it out if you’re looking for a nice sounding pair of filters which are combined with a tube saturation module.
Check out the Defacer demo video:
Defacer is available for free download via Audio Assault (1.4 MB download size, EXE installer, 32-bit & 64-bit VST/AU plugin format for Windows & Mac OS X).