Although a good filter never guaranteed an instrument’s success, a poor one would almost certainly consign it to the realm of the mediocre. This being the case, it’s hardly surprising that classic filters have inspired countless plug-in developers.
Manufacturers hype the authenticity of their instruments’ analogue-style filters, and there can be few among us who don’t have half a dozen filter plug-ins in our effects arsenal. But despite all this, Windows users are being encouraged to make room for another: Little Frantic from Basement Arts.
At €50, this is a VST effect based on Basement Arts’ more expensive Frantic plug-in. It features the same audio engine, but has fewer knobs to play with. That isn’t to say there isn’t an ample amount of control on offer - it’s just that there’s much less of everything.
For some, this will come as a welcome relief - less technically-minded musicians don’t like being bamboozled by billions of bits and bobs when they fire up their software. A simpler feature set is often just what the doctor ordered.
And speaking of ordering, existing users of the full Frantic plug-in who are already in love with the filter’s sound but don’t always need its army of knobs and modulation controls can grab Little Frantic for just €9.95.
Little Frantic’s feature set comprises some of the same luscious-sounding, vintage-inspired filters as you’ll find on the standard Frantic, and includes the same kind of ‘filter separation’ (also found on the much-loved OSCar synthesizer). Two filters can be used in serial or parallel modes, and you’ll find an LFO and envelope follower.
The LFO can be routed to four different destinations and sync’d to the host’s tempo. There are five different filter variations and some pretty extensive MIDI control possibilities to explore. And that’s about it.
Like we said: simplified.
Despite its pared-down interface, Little Frantic is a plug-in of no small ability. While it doesn’t sound exactly like any of our vintage synths, it certainly sounds more like the product of transistors and resistors than of zeroes and ones. It has that elusive emphasised low end and can be both smooth and growly.
If one of your virtual analogue synths has a filter that can be used as an effect, Little Frantic might seem surplus to requirements. At this price, though, it’s pretty hard to resist.