Computers offer virtually unlimited possibilities for sound mangling – if it can be done in DSP and fairly complex math, it’s fair game! The tech wizards at sonicLab wanted to capitalize on this by building a new update to its Cosmosf engine, FX5. It’s a live audio stochastic processor that seems pretty nuts. The interface looks like the kind of software that runs on spaceship terminals in sci-fi movies, and the controls are utterly cryptic! Not much change there since FX4, then, which we described last summer as “dense, boggling and beautiful”.
First, a few words about the overall concept: Behind the peculiar UI lies a convolution engine that lets you import any impulse response file and have the meso events send signals at stochastically modulated levels. It’s hard to decipher some of the technobabble going on here, but the resulting sound is certainly impressive. Modulation is at the heart of Cosmosf FX5, with a custom bezier curve envelope shape available for modulating various destinations, including the convolution response envelope.
Polyphonic modulation is also a possibility with the newly added LFO terrains mode. To audio professionals, Cosmosf FX5 offers surround sound output and 3D spatialization handled by 1st and 3rd order ambisonic encoder with ACN ordering and SN3D format support. Meso events are spatialized on curve paths or stochastically distributed in the surround space.
The 3D paths and stochastic mappings for individual meso events can be fully automated in your DAW, allowing for complex modulation. Additionally, the ambisonic-encoded output can be applied to head tracking in VR and 360 motion pictures.
In short, Cosmosf FX5 is an audio mangler unlike anything else out there and certainly isn’t for the faint of heart with its complex parameters and powerful, esoteric functionality. Spending time with it, though, will certainly be rewarding if you enjoy glitched-out, experimental sounds.
Price and availability
Cosmosƒ FX5 is sold for 89 EUR and the upgrade is free for all Cosmosƒ FX4 users. The plug in is available for Windows and Mac systems in VST, AU, and standalone formats.