BLEASS Phase Mutant: What is it?
French plugin developer BLEASS started the year with the launch of Omega, an easy-to-use four-operator FM synth. Working on Omega gave the company the opportunity to embark on a deep exploration of FM, which led to an interesting idea: using FM as the sound-processing engine in an effects processor. That idea is now realised in the form of Phase Mutant, a new effect plugin for Mac, PC and iOS.
Windows 8 and later, VST3 (64-bit) macOS 10.9 and later (64-bit only) (including macOS 11 Big Sur and M1 processors), VST3 (64-bit), Audio Unit BLEASS Phase Mutant is not a standalone product, it requires a host software Compatible with all VST3 / Audio Unit compatible DAWs. Buy at Plugin Boutique
The notion of using FM techniques in an effect processor isn’t entirely original – see Logic Pro’s Phase Distortion effect and Kilohearts’ Phase Distortion plugin, both of which allow an audio signal to modulate itself. Phase Mutant can do this too, but it also includes an oscillator, and this can be used to modulate the input, or can be modulated by the input.
BLEASS Phase Mutant: Performance and verdict
The oscillator’s frequency is based on the pitch of the input signal, which can be detected from left, right, or both left and right input channels. The pitch-tracking can be smoothed using a legato-style process, and this can even out any small variations in the input pitch. With longer settings, it creates interesting effects as the oscillator’s frequency settles towards – or lags behind – the input pitch.
A ratio control applies a multiplier to the detected frequency, with different ratios creating different colours and distortions in the sound, just as with an FM synth. A fine pitch adjustment control allows a further offset of +/- 50 cents to be applied to the oscillator, which is useful if you’re going for classic metallic or dissonant FM tones, but we feel a larger offset range may have been even more useful.
The oscillator’s waveform can morph smoothly from a sine wave to a square wave, passing through triangle and sawtooth waves along the way. This can have a significant impact on the effect being produced, and is the perfect candidate for a bit of parameter modulation (see below) or automation. The left/right phase of the oscillator can also be offset from each other, which is ideal for creating stereo and widening effects.
The strength and prominence of Phase Mutant’s effect can be controlled by both adjusting the FM intensity (ie how strongly the one source is modulating the frequency of the other), and by adjusting the plugin’s wet/dry balance. The output stage also includes a low-pass filter that can further shape the effect.
The result of all of this is the creation of fascinating, and often very musically sympathetic, distortions, which can be used subtly to add a little bit of edge and character, or instead cranked up further in order to create radical changes in the tone and timbre of the processed sound.
Given FM’s reputation for creating good bass sounds, it’s no surprise that Phase Mutant can add a depth, character and punch to bass parts that would be hard to create using other tools.
The plugin is good at much more too: synth parts, in particular leads and arpeggios, can be given a whole new dimension of timbre and movement; the character and colour of vocals can be changed radically; and drums and loops can be warped and pitched in fabulously weird and wonderful ways.
The uniqueness of Phase Mutant will not disappoint, so be sure to check it out.
MusicRadar verdict: BLEASS Phase Mutant creates a fascinating range of different distortions which can range from the very musically-sympathetic to the very dissonant.
BLEASS Phase Mutant: The web says
"With Phase Mutant, BLEASS has created a rather unique effect that can complement a wide range of different sound sources and is a lot of fun to play around with to boot."
BLEASS Phase Mutant: Hands-on demos
Nu-Trix The Synth Guy
The Sound Test Room
BLEASS Phase Mutant: Specifications
- Windows 8 and later, VST3 (64-bit).
- macOS 10.9 and later (64-bit only) (including macOS 11 Big Sur and M1 processors), VST3 (64-bit), Audio Unit.
- BLEASS Phase Mutant is not a standalone product, it requires a host software.
- Compatible with all VST3 / Audio Unit compatible DAWs.
- CONTACT: BLEASS