Output Movement Review

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Output’s new product called Movement is a multi-FX plugin whose main function is to turn incoming sounds into rhythmic textures.

It is available as a VST/VST3/AU/AAX plugin (32-bit and 64-bit compatible) for both Windows and Mac systems.

I Got Rhythm, I Got Music

Using effects to add some rhythm to otherwise static sounds is nothing new – using a noise gate with a sidechain input is how trance gate effects were traditionally made years ago. More modern trance gates simulate this in a simplified way with a step sequencer controlling the volume. More recently, sidechain compression was a very popular way to turn basses and leads into pumping rhythms. There are also volume shaping effects which emulate sidechain compression with drawable LFO shapes. At its core, Movement combines all three basic strategies – step sequencing, sidechain compression and LFOs – to control not only volume but also any of its built-in effects. Those other effects are typical bread and butter stuff – filter, compression, distortion, delay, reverb, and EQ.

Movement is basically divided into two engines with two rhythm modulation sources (step sequencer, sidechain or LFO), volume and pan controls, and four effects slots each. The modulation sources can modulate not just volume, but any effects parameter, and there’s also an XY pad which can be assigned to manipulate multiple parameters at once. It’s possible to make complex LFO shapes, too. So, whereas the effects themselves may be considered bread and butter, the ability to modulate and control them is what makes things interesting and powerful.

You can also create settings that completely ignore the rhythms and modulators and just use Movement as a simple distortion effect, a delay unit, or a typical low-pass filter with the XY pad modulating cutoff and resonance, of course, but that would be similar to using a cannon to do a peashooter’s job. There have been other multi-effects which included rhythmic step sequencers or volume shaping LFOs, but none that I’m aware of have this amount of modulation power built-in.

So, What Is It Good For?

With so many possibilities on offer, it’s difficult to define what Movement sounds like. But if I had to sum it up in a few words, I’d say it’s the basic concept of a trance gate expanded to take advantage of the power of today’s computers. If you remember CamelSpace and wish it had been developed further and modernized, then Movement is quite possible the kind of plugin that you’re looking for.

Perhaps its most obvious use, then, is turning pads, strings and other sustained sounds into rhythmic textures or faux plucks. White noise, long crash cymbals or impacts are also good source material. Movement is also surprisingly good at turning drums into weird, glitchy textures, and settings using more reverb and delay are a great way to give backing vocals or electric instruments a very cosmic, psychedelic feel. It obviously doesn’t really sound like 1960s psychedelic rock made with tools from that era, but rather like what 1960s psychedelic rock or 1970s Krautrock would sound like if those styles came into being today and evolved using today’s technology.

Output also states that Movement can be used on the master channel, which looks insane on paper, but I’ve figured out at least one sane way to do it. It works quite well if you have it running with 100% dry signal, then gradually kicking in some wet signal during a transition before suddenly going back to all dry – it sounds as if the entire track is getting sucked into some abyss or black hole, only to escape suddenly. A rather powerful technique when used properly.

While there’s no denying that Movement can be used as a “set and forget” effect, I generally like it best with some movement of the X, Y and wet/dry parameters. This way, the effect evolves gradually, so that glitchy drums can, for example, gradually become fuller and less glitchy during a verse, or a bed of sustained strings can become more rhythmic and cut up as tension rises during a film scene. Another general observation is that some of the more complex patches can be overkill when the incoming source sound is also complex (such as a busy piano part with lots of dissonant jazzy chords), but both simple and complex patches are great when applied to simple sounds.

I would not say that Movement is a genre-specific plugin. The more sidechain-oriented patches are often very house-sounding, it’s easy to get glitchy, but the end result can also be surprisingly mainstream – for example turning long piano chords or strings into plucks you might hear in a Dua Lipa track.

Complexity In Use

There is a lot to work with here, so it’s not a surprise that creating a patch which uses all four rhythm sources, all eight effects slots, and has the XY pad modulate multiple things can take some time. Fortunately, simple patches are easy to make and there are over 300 presets to get you started, most of them having complex modulation schemes. I spent half an hour just looping one strum of a guitar chord, going through the various presets, and playing with the XY pad.

Purchase Output Movement via Pluginboutique!

The interface is very modern and clear, and makes all the complexity easy to control even without reading the manual. The big XY pad in the middle, along with the wet/dry control at the top of the interface, is very touch screen friendly. I’ve had a touch screen PC for about two years now, and it’s great to see that plugin manufacturers are finally starting to really take advantage of touch screens – big XY pads in the middle of the interface are becoming especially common, and with good reason.

Being a large and complex plugin, Movement is fairly demanding of resources. An instance typically adds about 10% to the CPU use on my i7-equipped PC. It also takes a few seconds to open. It has been stable, though, and switching presets live is quick and hasn’t caused any glitches for me.

Summary

Output Movement combines the three basic ways to add rhythm to sound – step sequencing, sidechain compression and LFOs – with multiple effects and very powerful modulation capabilities. If you like using side-chains or trance gates to add movement to your tracks, you’ll certainly appreciate what Output’s latest product has to offer. It takes these common modulation concepts and expands them into powerful multi-effect.

More info: Output Movement ($149)

The Giveaway

Output is kindly giving away a free Movement license to one lucky BPB reader. To enter the giveaway, simply submit your name and email address using the form below (you will be subscribed to Output’s mailing list). You can increase your chances of winning by performing the optional actions after signing up. The winner will be picked using a random number draw on July 7th and announced on this page. Good luck everyone and thanks for reading BPB!

And the winner is… our reader F. Genest. Congratulations! :)

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Output Movement Review

90%
90%
Brilliant

Output Movement combines the three basic ways to add rhythm to sound - step sequencing, sidechain compression and LFOs - with multiple effects and very powerful modulation capabilities.

  • Features
    9
  • Workflow
    10
  • Performance
    8
  • Design
    10
  • Sound
    9
  • Pricing
    8
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About The Author

D Smolken is a musician, artist and a sampling expert. He creates freely downloadable SFZ libraries available on his website Karoryfer Samples.

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