Aberrant DSP has released ShapeShifter, a unique compressor plug-in designed to add character, body and grit to your tracks. With an intriguing concept and layout, ShapeShifter is no ordinary compressor but a “dynamics remodeler”, as the developer calls it. Does it sound as colourful as it looks?
Aberrant DSP ShapeShifter
Unfortunately, the name is probably the least creative thing about this plug-in. There’s already another compressor plug-in and also a DIY drum machine by that name. Surely, Aberrant DSP could’ve come up with something a bit more unique and captivating.
Anyway, let’s take a closer look. ShapeShifter is inspired by the NR comp algorithm from Aberrant DSP’s wonderful Sketch Cassette 4-track simulation plug-in. Like Sketch Cassette, the plug-in features a hand-drawn GUI, which looks like a collaboration of Joan Miró and MC Escher. It definitely stands out among all those photo-realistic compressor emulations in your plug-in folder, and sets the tone for the audio mangling that happens inside.
ShapeShifter uses simultaneous upward and downward compression controlled by a common ratio knob. There’s a transients section with threshold and another ratio knob, which lets you control the downward compression separately if you’d like. The upward compression features a floor knob for keeping things like room ambience and unwanted noise under control. ShapeShifter also has attack and release envelope controls, as well as a mix control for parallel compression.
According to Aberrant DSP, the tone knob provides “broad shifts in color and character”. And to give you even more creative options, they’ve integrated a drive section with two different modes for gentle or hard overdrive. It also features an asymmetry control, which emphasizes the even-order harmonics for “harsher, grittier drive textures”.
All of this sounds very cool and I really like what I hear in the demo video below. ShapeShifter really is a dynamics “remodeler” that can completely transform your sound, rather than just compressing it.
Price and compatibility
ShapeShifter is now available from the developer’s website for USD 20.
The plug-in runs on Windows 7 or higher and macOS 10.8 or higher in VST3, AU and AAX formats (64 bit only).