Review of Fracture XT patchable granular glitch processor VST by Glitchmachines

Review of Fracture XT patchable granular glitch processor VST by Glitchmachines

Introduction

Regular readers of my blog will know that I’m a big fan of Glitchmachines plugins having previously reviewed Cataract, Polygon, Quadrant, Convex and Cryogen.

Fracture XT has been updated to version 1.1.0 and I’ve updated the review to reflect these changes.

Fracture XT is available for Windows / Mac in VST / AU formats (32/64 bit versions) typically priced at $59

Conclusions

Fracture XT is a superb effect, it’s one of my favourites. It is a very capable glitch effect and can produce some extraordinary and very extreme effects as well as more subtle ones too. It’s easy to use and has a great looking interface, the modular patching system is a very clever addition which makes Fracture XT stand out and gives a unique character. The sound quality is excellent too, the combination of great sound and ease of use makes it easy to adjust settings and get great results. I also like the extensive randomisation options, I use these a lot and they can form excellent starting points for you to refine and tweak. The changes in version 1.1.0 add further refinements to the look and functionality.

‘jumping at shadows’ from ‘a perilous journey’ is a recent track I’ve used Fracture XT on and is embedded at the top of the post. I’ve used 3 instances of Fracture XT on synth riff, synth lead and bass.

Overview

Fracture XT is a modified version of the already extremely popular – and free – Fracture VST building on its strengths with a new granular processor as well as improved buffer, delay and multi-mode filter algorithms. The grains processor makes it possible to create anything from moody drones to pointillist patterns. Fracture XT’s many enhancements and new features bring a broad range of exciting effects to your sonic toolbox.

From mellow dub delays to dense holographic grain clouds, Fracture XT’s diverse processing functions make it simple to inject your projects with endlessly compelling sonic landscapes.

In-Use

The UI has been revamped in line with other Glitchmachines VSTs giving a clean, modern look with the inclusion of a very cool looking patchbay. Fracture XT uses a colour coding system where fuschia is audio processing or modulation source; green is modulation assignments; blue is the audio output; light blue is LFO channel, modulation destination or modulation depth. It also has a scalable interface and a parameter value overlay for those parameters that require precise adjustment.

The interface is split into three sections with the effects located in the upper section;

patchbay in the lower section;

midi, menus and preset options at the bottom;

Effects section

The buffer effect records a small portion of the input signal and loops it a certain number of times.  When it has finished looping it records the input signal and starts looping again. This effect has three settings:

Size – duration of looped audio (1ms – 1s)

Speed – This is the playback speed. 1.0 is original speed, 2 is double and 0.5 is half the original speed.  Negative values work in the same way but play the audio backwards.

Time – the number of times the audio loops before buffering a new input (1 – 64)

Multimode filter – the effect has a dedicated multimode filter (lowpass, highpass, bandpass and notch) with cut-off and resonance settings.

The delay is a standard delay line with feedback and mix controls with the added feature of a source knob to take input from the buffer or grains modules or blend as required.

Time – sets the delay time (1ms – 1s).  Clicking the metronome icon will switch between free and sync to beat divisions of your host tempo.

Feedback – the amount of signal fed from the delay output to the delay input.

Source – determines which module feeds the delay processor. All the way to the left feeds with the output of the buffer module. All the way to the right feeds with the output of the delay module and you can blend between them.

Mix – sets the ratio of regular : delayed signal from 0% (regular signal only) to 100% (delayed signal only).

The grains module buffers its input into a delay line and several playheads loop small random sections of the delay line at the same time.  These grains have an envelope applied to their amplitude which gives a smoother sound than the buffer effect.

Size – adjusts the duration of looped audio (10ms – 500ms).  The slider to the right is jitter and controls the percentage of random deviation from the base parameter value for each grain.

Speed –  This is the playback speed. 1.0 is original speed, 2 is double and 0.5 is half the original speed.  Negative values work in the same way but play the audio backwards.

Jitter – this controls the amount of amplitude randomisation for each grain.

Multimode filter – the effect has a dedicated multimode filter (lowpass, highpass, bandpass and notch) with cut-off and resonance settings.

One other very useful feature for all of these effects is a randomise option (the question mark in a box in the title of the module) that randomises all parameters for that module.

The output section has amp controls and dry/wet which controls the ratio of unprocessed vs processed signal.

Patchbay

This is my favourite part of the effect, not only does it give a very cool modular look but it’s extremely easy to use and is colour coded to help with this too.

The 4 LFOs are at the heart of the patchbay, they are used to automate certain parameters and can modulate several simultaneously giving some highly complex patches.  The colour coding switches between grey (un-sync’d) and fuschia (sync’d).  Each has rate settings (either 0.01 Hz – 40 Hz or 1/128 to 8 bars) and waveforms of sine, square, triangle, saw up, saw down, sample and hold, smooth rnd. To sync to host tempo click on the metronome icon.

Colour coding is also put to good use with un-patched input nodes marked blue with a grey modulation depth knob which both change colour to green when an assignment has been made.

Making an assignment is as simple as a click and drag from one of the four fuschia LFO output nodes to the desired input node of the desired modulation parameter. You can then set the modulation depth using the crescent knob next to the respective node.

The patchbay also has two very handy randomisation options

The first one on the left randomises all 4 LFOs and their parameters; the middle one randomises all patch connections and modulation depth knobs. The third button clears all patch connections and modulation depths.

The Footer section features the Preset browser and its associated parameters, as well as the global menu, global randomizer and midi options.

At this point I think it’s worth highlighting the difference between Fracture XT, Cryogen, Convex and Incipit by Inear Display.

The differences are primarily the type of effects and subsequent modulation possibilities that each effect provides:

Fracture XT – Buffer, granular processor, delay
Convex – Dual multimode filters, dual delay and dual pitch shifters
Cryogen – Dual buffer effects, dual multimode filters and dual bit crusher effects
Incipit – 3 effects chains with pitch shifter, delay and amp.

For me Incipit is more of a creative delay effect with extensive modulation options whereas Fracture XT, Convex and Cryogen are more for glitch effects which each have different sonic characteristics and possibilities.

Demo tracks from original version

I’ve left these in for completeness, they feature the older version of Fracture XT.

Here’s some of the presets applied to a drum loop:

It also works really well on synth sounds:

I also created this demo track created using a chord loop in Nave (Waldorf) processed by Incipit (Inear Display) and a 4:4 kick pattern using Slam (Extent of the Jam). I’ve layered a sample from my Kalipheno sample pack processed with Fracture XT with 2 instances of a bass tail sample from the Escape pack by Mode Audio processed with Fracture XT.

Music Software Bundles from Pluginboutique.com