Taiga DSP releases Gravel, a freeware bitcrusher/distortion effect with a built-in envelope follower, available as a 32-bit and 64-bit VST plugin for Windows based machines.
It seems like September is the month of lo-fi distortion plugins, at least judging by some recent releases such as Otto and MBitFun. I don’t mind it at all, though, as these little glitch machines have always been among my favorite types of plugins. Nothing can turn a boring old sound into a smoking hot sample better than a decent bit of distortion. Just ask The Prodigy.
Anyways, the latest addition to the world of freeware distortion effects is Gravel by Taiga DSP, a fairly versatile audio processing tool packed in a somewhat rudimentary but quite user friendly interface. The plugin offers three different types of distortion (drive, bitcrushing and sample rate reduction), paired up with an envelope follower module. The combination of a distortion effect and an envelope follower can result in a wide variety of effects, ranging from simple bitcrushing and analog style distortion to subtle transient treatment, compression and all sorts of heavy audio mangling.
Gravel does many things right, although what I liked about it the most is how it can color and boost the sustain of percussive sounds without messing up the transients. You can even go a bit overboard with the drive distortion unit and then dial in some attack, reduce the mix level to pass through more of the unprocessed signal and end up with lovely beefed up drums. Watch our demo video above to get the basic idea about the plugin’s sound. Gravel is definitely one of the coolest distortion effects on the freeware plugin market.
The effect is currently available only as a 32-bit and 64-bit VST plugin for Windows based digital audio workstations, however an AU version might be released in the future (this is briefly mentioned in the FAQ section on the Taiga DSP website). For now, users can grab the VST version of Gravel as a free download without registering on the developer’s website. The plugin doesn’t require an activation process, either. You can support the developer by sending a donation of any amount you choose. More info available on the product page linked below.
Gravel is available for free download via Taiga DSP (1.9 MB download size, ZIP archive, 32-bit & 64-bit VST plugin format for Windows).