Qontrolr is a freeware lo-fi distortion effect developed by SBAudio, available as a 32-bit and 64-bit VST/VST3 plugin for Windows based host applications.
The plugin features four different distortion types, emulating different methods of audio signal degradation: clipping, sample rate reduction, fuzz distortion and static distortion. Also included is a dry/wet mix knob, which is always a handy addition for quick and easy parallel processing. The user interface looks nice and super clean, although the users who have access to larger computer screens would probably prefer to see a bigger (or even a resizable) GUI.
As a simple device for adding character and grit to the audio signal on the input, Qontrolr works really well. The CPU hit is extraordinarily low, never exceeding 1% of usage even with all four distortion types fully maxed out. The four included distortion models are well calibrated for applying precise amounts of signal degradation, providing a good amount of breathing space between the minimum and maximum distortion setting.
Our two favorite distortion models are the clipping circuit which works best when added sporadically across the mix and the sample rate reduction effect which does a great job on sampled drum hits and bass sounds. The sample rate reduction model is perfect for achieving the traditional lo-fi sampler effect that works great on drum machine samples.
The “Static” distortion is pretty interesting as well, sounding pretty close to the type of signal degradation that you’d get from a bad cable connection. Not something that you’d ever want to use in the context of a traditional audio mix, of course, but definitely useful for sound design, or as a special effect. The fuzz distortion model is our least favorite of the four, but that is really just a matter of taste. There are certainly plenty of producers out there who will put it to good use.
The plugin is offered as a direct free download on the developer’s website. No registration or subscription required. The downloaded ZIP archive contains the DLL files which are ready to import into your VST plugins folder.
Qontrolr is available for free download via SBAudio (1.49 MB download size, ZIP archive, 32-bit & 64-bit VST/VST3 plugin format for Windows).