AudioThing Frostbite Review

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Last updated on May 1st, 2015 at 01:36 am

Dublin based sound design lab and developer AudioThing has released Frostbite, a multi-effect plugin with ring modulation, feedback and freeze modules, offering six different routing configurations for each, alphabetized A through F. It’s surprisingly versatile, affordable, and just the thing for sound designers and experimental musicians looking for new and exciting ways to process audio.

Upon first glance, I was quite pleased with its attractive interface, although skeptical of its overall usefulness. I’m a bit leary of multi-effect plugins. I usually prefer things intended for a specific use. Of course, after a brief test-drive, my skepticism was soon put to rest.

The ring modulation section features a built-in sine wave with a frequency range up to 4 kHz, an “Amount” knob and a low-pass filter that lets you roll off ultra-high frequencies that tend to crop up when the multiplier exceeds anything upwards of 1 kHz. I’ve always enjoyed tinkering with ring modulation, which isn’t a very musical effect, but in pursuit of otherworldly sounds, it never fails to produce unpredictable results, and if used discreetly, you can produce some modest inharmonic overtones.

I was impressed by the “Freeze” module, which can hold the incoming signal for as long as twenty-five seconds, and is surprisingly capable of faux reverb with the “Size” and “Amount” knobs at high settings. A “Fade Out” parameter applies an exponential curve to the frozen signal’s overall decay time as you turn it from left to right, which can feign large acoustic spaces; at lower settings, smaller spaces are achievable. A high-pass filter allows you to reduce the amount of “boominess” in long reverb tails awash with low frequency content, which can become problematic.

I was a little confused by the “Feedback” controls at first, but I eventually realized that they can be used in a similar fashion to a flanging effect, which is more evident with the “Delay” knob at low settings and the Amount knob at high settings. Increase the LFO depth in order to “flange” the delayed feedback, and play with the LFO Rate to create some splashy fluctuations.

I also noticed that delay is measured in samples instead of milliseconds within the feedback loop, which can produce some fairly noticeable “graininess”, but before wrinkling your nose, switch to routing configuration B with the Feedback module feeding the Freeze module and dial in some late reflections. Each grain is “smeared” in a resultant “grain cloud”, which is perfect for ambient textures.

A built-in limiter applies “hard clipping” to any part of the wet signal that exceeds 0 dB, which is hardly noticeable; limiters often produce unpleasant distortion. There are bypass buttons for each individual module, and a global bypass that toggles the entire effect on and off. Also, there’s a “Randomize” button that changes settings arbitrarily, which you can reverse engineer to create your own presets.

I did notice a considerable amount of RAM usage, especially when tinkering with the “Size” knob in the “Freeze” module. It’s not the end of the world. If I’m gentle with the “Freeze” settings, I can usually manage to avoid the dreaded “memory dump”, which (in severe cases) can actually crash your DAW.

Video Demo

Check out the Frostbite demo video:

The Verdict

Frostbite is a great sound design tool optimized for experimental atmospheres and bizarre ambient soundscapes. It can be used in a variety of ways, and if you take the time to really get to know it, you’ll open up a whole new world of possibilities you might not have explored otherwise. It’s full of surprises, incredibly versatile, and very deserving of your undivided attention.

More info: AudioThing Frostbite (€35)

AudioThing Frostbite Review

8.4 Awesome

Frostbite is a great sound design tool optimized for experimental atmospheres and bizarre ambient soundscapes. It can be used in a variety of ways, and if you take the time to really get to know it, you’ll open up a whole new world of possibilities you might not have explored otherwise. It’s full of surprises, incredibly versatile, and very deserving of your undivided attention.

  • Features 8
  • Workflow 10
  • Stability 6
  • Design 8
  • Pricing 10
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About The Author

Bryan Lake is a sound designer and a musician. He publishes sound design tutorials and sound libraries on his website Sound Author.

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