BigSeq2 is the newest VST plugin from the company AudioDamage, who perhaps have been uniquely able to strike a three way balance between originality, ease of use, and depth when it comes to plugin design. And they are extremely picky about audio quality. BigSeq2 is a combination effect, which includes
- VCA (i.e. gating)
- Filter (multimode resonant filter)
- Bits (bit width and sample rate reduction)
- Frequency Shifting
Each of these sections comes complete with a modulation sequencer that can modify the effects, and a gate sequencer, that turns them on and off. The sequencers sync to the host clock, and the step size can be anywhere between 1/64th note to 1/4 triplet. The sequencers can both be randomized, and set to re-randomize every 1,2,3, or 4 measures. The order of the effects signal chain can be changed by dragging effect blocks forward and backwards.
That description is pretty dense, but it’s easy enough to figure out. I had to consult the manual on two points: There’s a thin line under each knob in the interface, and dragging it right or left sets the modulation amount for that parameter with respect to the sequencer. And the gate sequencer has a small box under each step, which, if clicked, locks that step so that randomizing the sequencer doesn’t change its value.
This is a versatile plugin — any of its sub-effects could be used individually, or in combination. You don’t have to use the sequencers at all — you could set the effects on full time, and automate the knobs yourself. You can use them with fixed modulation parameters, or you can set them to randomize continuously. Since the step size and sequence length can be different for each effect stage, even if the sequences are static, the total effect can take hundreds of beats to repeat.
A measure of the craziness possible is evident in the short demo MP3 below. For the first three variations, the input is a continuous square wave. For the last 3 variations, the input is the same drum loop, from the “One Big World” set from Sony’s Discrete Drums Volume 2.
<strong>BigSeq2</strong> is one of those VST plugins that really does what the whole virtual studio thing is supposed to do — give you creative tools that do things in ways that didn’t exist before. Each of the individual components are nothing radically new, but they’re combined in a way that invites experimentation, and yet allows you to manipulate the results in a predictable way.