Bit reduction-based distortion has been a staple of music production since the early 80s, providing everything from old-school edge to sci-fi grunge; but taken alone, it's not the most interesting effect.
Enter MMultiBandBitFun, a new VST/AU/AAX plugin that, as the name suggests, throws MeldaProduction's extensive multiband knowhow into the bitcrushing mix.
In essence, MBBF is a distortion tool, and its core function is to reduce the bit depth of each sample in the input signal to between 16 bits and 1 before performing bitwise operations directly on those bits.
Taken on its own, this kind of digital distortion can be quite unwieldy and somewhat one-dimensional, but the plugin has a couple of features that help bring it to life.
First, there are six user-definable frequency bands, so that the distortion can be applied to each individually. Every band can be soloed, bypassed, gain-adjusted and even panned, and has its own set of controls for bit-depth, delay, automatic gain compensation, sidechain input, wet/dry mix, low-pass filter, and the aforementioned bitwise operations.
It all adds up to some of the most extreme bit mangling and manipulation you'll ever hear. It sounds fierce... very fierce.
Things get even more crazy when modulation is thrown into the mix. As with most Melda plugins, there's a huge range of options in this department, with up to four simultaneous modulators selected from a choice of LFO, envelope generator, envelope follower, randomiser or pitch detector/follower.
These can be applied to pretty much anything, including band crossovers and panning. The 134 presets include plenty of great modulation examples, from rhythmic distortion to messed-up riff generators created by modulated tonal changes in the distortion.
The results can be fairly intense, so there's a limiter onboard to tame the signal, and optional automatic gain compensation for maintaining a smooth output level.
You also get extensive metering (input, output, stereo width, mid, side and more), and hidden behind a tab are an array of stereo options, including mid/side modes.
Fun, fun, fun
Melda's smart randomisation feature lets you apply total or 'constrained' randomisation to all parameters, or just those of your choosing. And you might well need it if you're in a hurry to make your own patches, as the manual isn't at all easy to follow.
That's a bit of an issue, given how complex the plugin is, even without considering the additional features we haven't got space to cover in detail here, including up to 16x upsampling, adjustable LFO shapes, Multi parameters (for controlling multiple parameters with one control), MIDI learn and more.
MMultiBandBitFun can – when handled with great care – deliver fairly subtle results, but that's clearly not what it's designed for. It's an extreme effect and not, perhaps, the kind of thing you'll find yourself using on every session – but the modulation tools make it far more than just a regular dirtbox.
If you like smooth sounds and gentle vibes, MMultiBandBitFun isn't for you; for anyone after extreme crushing, though, it's a sonic weapon that must be tried.