FabFilter Twin 2 Review
For sure you’ve been reading the very interesting Interview – FabFilter we had some time ago with Floris Klinkert from FabFilter – and again for sure you are familiar with their products being high-quality filter plugins… but not only that. This time we take a close look on Twin 2, their latest synthesizer plugin, which appears more than tempting to us – so we got our hands on it. Let`s see, what comes out…
What was the reason to name this plugin Twin? Maybe the fact that for most of what it offers normally 2 plugins are needed? Whatever it may be – the “unboxing” of Twin 2 is a cool thing to do: 3 oscillators as a start, 4 of the well-known filters (multimode), loads of LFOs, envelope generators, xy controllers, a simple but versatile delay, a stereo widener – and all of this wrapped in a clear and nice GUI. Typical FabFilter-style. Well, we really needed to sort things after this discovery. Let’s hope it works out…
Basic Sound Generator
Up to 3 oscillators offer standard waveforms and pink/white noise, are capable of various kinds of sync (hard, phase), modulation (ring, pwm), multiple unison and can be freely distributed in the stereo field. The generated sound passes up to 2 filters now which can be operated in various modes (HP, LP, BP…) and assigned either in a parallel or serial manner. Right after that, another up to 2 filters are waiting with same possibilities, but moreover, effects can be used before or after them.
No, you’re not mistaken: up to 4 filters with all the flexibility you know from the filter plugins are built in this synthesizer – and options multiply due to the fact that you can use them in parallel or serial mode. Needless to say they sound just as great as there’s simply no difference to the well-known filter-only plugins. The oscillators are state-of-the-art, no aliasing plus neat sound design possibilities with diverse noise characters and the stereo field distribution option.
We have to state clearly now that the GUI and the concept of use is truely outstanding here. A simple interface reveals upon click all parameters necessary: for example, you can access all options for oscillator or filter once you click it – otherwise just the important parameters indicate what kind of osc or filter you’re using. This really gives a clear overview and makes you feel way less confused when thinking of all the space knobs for 3 oscillators and 4 filters normally consume.
But let’s go back again to the sound. As the basic sound is more or less standard, yet high quality, you might want to have something at your fingertips to spice up your patch, make it groovy or unique anyway. Well, there’s quite a lot you may use! At first, there are some envelope generators not only offering ADSR but also a hold/peak phase, which you might in a way know from the Access Virus TI or Waldorf Blofeld. Pitchbending, a portamento/glide option and manifold x/y assignments allow for a great and versatile live use, for example with a master keyboard that includes a “XY pad” (e. g. Novation). And let’s not forget about the overall 50-slot modulation matrix, sidechain input (!)/envelope followers and many, many LFOs. We guess it’s harder to run out of possibilities than use all of them for a single patch…
Speaking once again of MIDI controlling, the guys of FabFilter included great stuff for all that like to do more with their master keyboard than just play notes: the MIDI-Learn, or mostly the MIDI-Source function allows to assign keyboard knobs a flexible way, even offering linear, exponential, square and some more response curves.
Taking a look and listen to the effects, one could say: it doesn’t offer much, but at great quality. There’s delays available which, due to their parameter flexibility, can work as either a simple delay or as flanger and chorus. Besides that, a stereo widener (0-200%, where 0 is mono and 100 normal stereo) gives rise to cool sounds as well.
Last but not least, the CPU load is quite low for this plugin – yet good sound always asks for some calculation power, no doubt about that.
Time for a listen
After the tech talk, you surely deserve some audio material. Here we go.
Twin 2 is a great synthesizer, be it for newbies or professionals. It’s simple, yet very flexible, with high quality sound – and the typical Fabfilter filters are a huge part of it for sure. More than 1500 presets, and really many of them well designed, offer a good basis for own sound design or even “preset hunters”. All who like extreme modulation, filtering and “liveplay” are well served here – and surely, the clear GUI will be everybody’s candy.
Like mentioned in the discoDSP DiscoveryPro review, we prefer a good-sounding plugin with few effects over a “okay” version which includes all effects you’ll ever need. For sure, a good reverb, a dedicated flanger, phaser, bitcrusher or distortion would have been nice to see – but on the other hand, the concept is just different for Twin 2: it’s about movement by the use of enumerous modulation possibilities, rather than making a patch unique by loads of effects. In short: great sounding, inspiring workflow, massive preset factory & cpu-friendly – What more could we want?
More information: fabfilter.com (129.00 €)
Summary: In short: great sounding, inspiring workflow, massive preset factory & cpu-friendly – What more could we want?