The Mutronics Mutator was a stereo analog filter and an envelope follower which can be used to create mind boggling filter effects on any sound source. The original hardware was used by acts such as Radiohead, Daft Punk, Nine Inch Nails, Chemical Brothers and Beck, and it had a big part in defining the sound of the 1990s. Because a key component of the hardware Mutator became unavailable the industry thought we had lost the unique sound of the Mutator until now.
Softube Create Mutator - The Plug-in
Mutator has an analog voltage controlled filter (VCF) for each of its two channels, which can create synth-like filter sweeps on any sound source that is fed into the unit. The filter can be controlled from a number of sources, for example the envelope follower, which sweeps the filter in proportion to the amplitude of the sound source. In Gate mode, the filter is either on or off, and the filter can also be controlled by the on-board LFOs. These have four waveforms, which create filter sweeps in our out of time with the music.
Another option is to use the external sidechain input, to have an external sound source control the filter movements. For example, insert the Mutator on a pad track and have the filter move in sync with a drum loop. You can also link or unlink the two channels for trippy stereo effects, use the Width control to extend the stereo field and use the Mix knob to blend in the original sound source with the mutated sound.
James Dunbar & Steve Crow, the creators of the orginal Mutronics said of the Softube Mutator…
We are very pleased with the sound of it. We thing they have done a very good job of getting the sound right which for us is very important. We’ve A/Bed it with a hardware version and then tried to mimic the settings on each and they are very, very close.
Softube Mutator Plug-in Formats & Price
The plug-in is available as an AAX, VST and Audio Unit plug-in, for use in most major DAWs on both Mac and Windows. It retails for USD 199 from authorized Softube dealers, and a generous 20 day demonstration license is available for free but be aware this does require an iLok USB dongle.
Softube Saturation Knob Now Available For All
In other Softube news, they have announced that they have made the free Saturation Knob plug-in that Pro Tools users have enjoyed for a while now available to all DAW users. It is now be used by any VST, Audio Units or AAX host—and also as a Rack Extension in Propellerheads Reason—on both Mac and Windows platforms.