You've gotta love Sugar Bytes, as it seems hell-bent on offering something challenging and inspiring with each new plug-in it releases.
The company's recent Effectrix set our heads spinning with its combination of a multi-effects section and a sequencer for automation, and it's turned once again to sequencing for Consequence.
However, this time Sugar Bytes has combined a chord sequencer with a three-part multitimbral ROMpler.
While the implementation is quite deep and complex, the basic idea behind Consequence is simple.
Three sample-based instruments are loaded up, along with some effects, and then subjected to sequenced, arpeggiated playback based on whatever chords you enter into the thing. It can even make the chords up for you, if you can't be bothered.
Available in VST and AU formats, Consequence packs a lot into little more than a single page. We say 'little more' because the top third of the interface toggles between synth and effects editors, with the Master section being the only common element between them.
The Synth section comprises three playback instruments, each offering Octave, Pan, Level and Crush controls. An instrument can play all incoming triggers, or just arpeggios or chords.
There aren't many sound-shaping options available, though each instrument has independent ADSR envelopes. In addition, there's also a multimode filter section that's controlled by the sequencer, as well as a handful of effects that cover the usual territory: reverb, delay, chorus, phaser, etc.
There's even an out-of-the-ordinary 'reverse' processor, too.
Consequence's sequencer is where all of the action takes place. Occupying a full two thirds of the GUI, it includes no less than eight different pattern parameters, including controls for modulation, performance, gate, chord and more.
The Modulation section is especially deep, offering separate patterns for each of the synth parts, the filter and the effects.
Sugar Bytes provides a multitude of playback options in the Performance Sequencer. There's Glide, Arp Mode, Tie, octave selection, Restart and Shift, which determines the starting voice for the arpeggiator.
16 chords can be stored in the Memory and arranged in the Sequencer. Alternatively, you can choose to play your own patterns via MIDI and let the sequencer shape everything. Consequence can also control external MIDI devices and plug-ins, too, except for the AU version (a limitation of AU, not Consequence).
The included library features some 200 sounds. The instruments range from punchy synthetic basses (sampled from classic analogue and FM models) to shimmering pads. There are guitars, organs, pianos and even a banjo.
Percussion is our favourite category, given Consequence's adeptness at providing inspiring rhythms, though we wish the list of drums was more extensive. Still, with many multisampled kits, there's a lot here to keep your beats pumping.
Sugar Bytes has wisely resisted going down the pure electronica route, as exemplified by the hefty number of strings, brass and other orchestral sounds. They're not on a par with dedicated symphonic collections, of course, but they can certainly add a touch of class to your cuts.
This plug-in is a lot of fun, though there's room for improvement. For example, we'd love to be able to import our own samples, and the GUI is a little hard to follow in places.
Still, these are minor complaints. If you love chugging, pumping, rhythmic music, Consequence could be the ideal sketch pad, providing inspiration aplenty, particularly for VST users.