Eugene Yakshin has released Ribs, a freeware granular effect in VST plugin format for 32-bit and 64-bit digital audio workstations on Windows (UPDATE: also available for macOS since v1.1 and as a standalone app since v1.2).
In simple terms, Ribs is a granular effect which stores the incoming audio in its buffer and splits it into short pieces (grains) which are then processed and played back through the effect’s audio engine. And that’s where the simplicity ends because Ribs is one of the most complicated plugins I’ve tested in quite a while. However, it’s obvious that the plugin packs a lot of potential under the hood and my short 15-minute test run was far from long enough to do it any justice.
The complexity of the processing engine and the sheer number of included features are Ribs’ biggest drawbacks and also its biggest strengths. The plugin has quite a steep learning curve and you’ll definitely need to invest some time in learning how to unleash its full potential. The question mark icon on the right side of the GUI turns on pop-up tips when hovering a control with your mouse, which can somewhat help. However, an in-depth manual and a tutorial video would be a much better option for explaining the plugin’s complicated workflow. The good news is that the developer has announced that a video will be released soon, so keep an eye on that if you’re interested in using Ribs in your projects.
UPDATE: The developer’s official tutorial/demo video for Ribs is now embedded at the top of this page. The tutorial begins at 2:23 minutes in.
The most important thing to understand is that Ribs requires MIDI note input to fill up one of its 32 available buffers. So, in order to get started, you’ll want to load Ribs as an effect, feed an audio source to it, and then send it MIDI notes. Some digital audio workstations make sending MIDI notes more complicated than others so the steps will largely depend on which application you’re using. For example, in Studio One, you’ll need to add a new empty instrument track and choose Ribs as the target from the drop-down menu (it previously needs to be loaded as an effect on a separate audio or instrument track).
Ribs only works on Windows at the moment, but the developer has mentioned the possibility of releasing an AU version for Mac if there is enough feedback from the users. To download the plugin, visit the KVR Audio forum thread linked below and use one of the two available download mirrors. UPDATE: macOS version now also available.
A big shout out to our friend Drew Lake for spotting this freebie and letting us know. Thanks for the support! If you haven’t already, check out Drew’s free kick drum sample pack on 99Sounds.
Ribs is available for free download via KVR Audio (3.75 MB download size, ZIP archive, 32-bit & 64-bit VST plugin for Windows & macOS).