Cableguys have released Shaperbox 2, six of their powerful effects in one plugin. It is available in VST (32 & 64 bit) and AU (64 bit) versions typically priced at 89 Euros / $99 available from Cableguys.
Shaperbox 2 is a hugely powerful and creative plugin that combines six Cableguys effects in one plugin, namely Timeshaper 2, Crushshaper, Volumeshaper 6, Filtershaper Core 2, Panshaper 3 and Widthshaper 2. Each of these is available to purchase as separate effects.
It’s an incredibly versatile tool that can easily handle production techniques such as producing louder, tighter mixes; expanding stereo range; adding subtle motion and creative tasks such as turning single notes into melodies and mangling sounds to your heart’s content.
It really is staggering how awesome this plugin is, it can produce so many effects and has a huge number of uses from inspiring creativity to improving mixes.
There are an absolute tonne of presets in the Cableguys cloud, these are official ones and those shared by users. I’ve just sync’d with the cloud which revealed a total of 2880 presets. That’s certainly more than enough to get you started and keep you going. For a long time.
When you launch Shaperbox 2, you have the option to load an individual shaper, each with 3 quick, common presets if required or you can load all 6 shapers at once.
Each of the shapers has a virtually identical look and feel and are colour-coded for reference. This makes using them very quick and easy to learn.
Each is built on LFOs with the ability to create any wave shape you could possibly imagine with a few clicks and powerful pens that help draw lines, arcs and S-curves. You can lock to tempo or trigger with any rhythms that aren’t 4:4 using midi notes / triggers.
Furthermore, each shaper can be split into 3 bands – low, mid and high for focussed processing.
The init patch loads the basic timeshaper window.
The controls are intuitive and easy to get to grips with. The top of the display has settings to split into low, mid and high bands if required, set the time length, set the step mode as smooth or instant, set the LFO mode and length (beat / beat division; hertz or pitch), turn the midi trigger on and set the mix level.
Underneath this is the main LFO display. There are editing tools at the top of the display and underneath are 9 wave presets in different categories that can be used as a starting point or help you learn wave shapes that create different effects. There’s also the midi switch and the ability to save your designed waves as user presets.
It’s very easy to create anything from simple slopes to complex patterns like the one above. Timeshaper 2 can produce anything from stutter, scratch, tape stops, reverse to half-time effects.
The edit tools are very easy to use, in the order shown below you can move individual points, an area between points, creates lines, arc, S-curves, select multiple points, move the wave left or right, randomise the position of LFO points, double the entire wave, delete, undo, redo and more wave / oscilloscope options.
The very bottom of the display shows what shapers are loaded, gives controls to turn on/off, remove, reorder and there are also preset load options, the preset library and the name of the current loaded preset. The master mix is located in the bottom right corner.
Volumeshaper 6 modulates the volume of the audio signal based on the LFO. This shaper also has a compressor that can be used or the with or separate from the LFO.
The sort of effects it can be used for are sidechaining / pumping effects, achieving louder mixes, multiband compression, enhanced punch and snap, precision control of dynamics.
Filtershaper Core 2 is a powerful three-band multimode filter that enables independent modulation of both cutoff frequency and resonance, with a dedicated LFO and Envelope Follower for each.
Zero-delay feedback DSP is used throughout, ensuring an analogue-like response with even the fastest, wildest modulations. In addition, internal saturation and resonance compensation is used to ensure that you can push these filters to the brink of insanity – and beyond! – while still enjoying a dynamically consistent, musical output that sits well in the mix.
The sort of effects it can produce are rhythmic filtering, isolating or removing kicks, snares and hi-hats from drum loops, elaborate multiband filtering with a different filter type on each band, dynamic filter modulation, complex ‘wah’-style effects with an envelope follower on every band, radical multiband sound design with audio-rate modulation.
Panshaper 3 modulates the stereo position of the audio signal based on the LFO waveform and/or the Envelope Follower, using a blend of regular level-based panning and psychoacoustic Haas placement.
The sort of effects it can produce are detailed and precise rhythmic panning, adding stereo movement to mono drums, dynamic or surgical panning, adding stereo energy to specific frequency ranges, mixing regular and psychoacoustic panning, energising basslines, modulating the panning of one track based on the volume level of another.
Widthshaper 2 modulates the stereo width of the audio signal based on the LFO waveform and/or the action of its Envelope Follower.
The sort of effects it can produce are creating huge, stereo-filling risers, spreading out the high frequencies without affecting the midrange and low end, making the bass mono without affecting midrange and high frequencies, widening or narrowing sounds as they get louder or quieter, modulating the width of one track based on the volume level of another.
Crushshaper is a recent addition to Shaperbox 2, it is a digital distortion effect that enables independent modulation of wave wrapping overdrive, bit depth, sample rate and FX mix (applied in that order), using a dedicated LFO and Envelope Follower for each.
The sort of effects that it can produce are rhythmic distortion, lo-fi melodies, adding sizzle to high frequencies, brightening up elements of drum loops, adding top-end clarity to vocals.
I’ve used Shaperbox 2 extensively on the two songs embedded at the top of the post. I’ve used Volumeshaper as an ‘invisible sidechain’ on the drums and bass. This means they don’t play at the same time and creates more headroom.
I’ve used a number of instances for subtle compression, expansion and bus effects as well as for some less subtle effects such as width flutter, beat repeat and rhythmic stutter.