AudioThing have released The Orb formant filter plug-in. It’s designed to add vowel filter shapes to your sounds. It has a nice round space in the middle of the GUI for controlling and modulating. Hence The Orb, we assume.
The idea is that it simulates the characteristics of the human voice – a bit like running a sound through your mouth. Peter Frampton used to do it a lot with his guitar sound but this is without all that gooey dribble of sticking a tube in your mouth. As a plug-in you can use it on any sort of sound you like. You can simulate synthetic voices on lead or bass sounds or use it more subtly on pads and strings to create movement and modulation.
There are three formant band pass filters and three LFO’s with which to modulate the sound. The LFO’s are mapped to vowel, emphasis and drift. The latter controls how far the vowel sound moves in pitch. You can change the number of vowels and also the vowel gender and age. There is an option for specifying your own frequency ranges to create your own vowel-type sounds if you wish.
The big orb thing in the middle displays what’s going on. The pizza slices show the number of vowels and the dot displays the current sound being generated and movement shows the modulation. You can use your mouse to audition various sounds by moving the dot around the orb.
It’s not a particularly complex or deep plug-in but I’m enjoying the clear layout and ease with which it works. To generate a bit more interest there’s a randomise feature that will create a whole new sound for you. And you can lock down various parameters so that it doesn’t randomise everything, a neat feature.
The Orb is available from the AudioThing website for a special price of $39 and is for Windows and MacOS in VST and AU format.