Repeat-X is an effects plugin (VST) for PC that gives you control over a collection of familiar signal processing modules via pattern sequencing and modulation in a multieffects unit aimed at glitching, stuttering and generally discombobulating whatever audio you choose to feed it.
It's presented in a compact, colourful GUI, in which a graphical step sequencer section shares space with a semimodular signal flow editor at the top, and the various effects and their parameters occupy the lower half.
The majority of the effects - filter, ring modulator, bitcrusher, panner and delay - might appear somewhat pedestrian at first glance, and the number of parameters available to each rather limited, but due to their modulation options, sequencing and flexible routing, the processing possibilities they open up are virtually endless.
The overall concept isn't new, of course, but it's no less useful for having been done before. Each effect includes two or three editable parameters (Cutoff and Resonance for the filter, for example, or Mix, Feedback and Speed for the delay) that can each be sequenced by its own dedicated pattern.
Pattern steps can have fade curves applied so that they 'glide' (rather than jump) from one to the next, the value of each step can be set by an incoming MIDI stream, and eight sequence snapshots can be saved for recall.
You can set the number of steps and speed of the sequence, as well as the overall modulation depth; and a gate lane at the bottom of each sequencer lets you jump the dry/wet mix of the effect between fully dry and fully wet, with a Fade parameter controlling the speed of that jump, from instant to fading in/out across the whole adjacent step.
Step values can be randomised, and there's a separate multitrack FX Sequencer (up to 32 steps) for turning each of the five main effects (Filter, Ring, Crush, Pan and Delay) on and off on a host-synced timeline.
A latching mini-keyboard facilitates real-time soloing of the modules and setting of Repeat quantise values (see below), all of which can also be done from an attached MIDI keyboard.
Rinse and repeat
Though we implied the effects held no surprises, there are a couple worth a special mention. The Stop effect simulates a tape transport shuddering to a halt, while Repeat enables you to sequence repeated slices of the input source at various speeds and keyboard-controlled quantise settings, forwards or in reverse.
Repeat-X is very logically laid out and easy to use. The interface invites messing about and tweaking, and the sounds delivered are excellent, if decidedly off-the-wall. This is a plugin for the experimental set - EDM, electronica and particularly dubstep producers are the most obvious demographic, though we can see it finding its way into cutting-edge pop tracks, too.
The included presets are all quite good but easily identifiable - they'd be pretty easy to overuse and could become stale in a hurry; you'll want to roll your own to ensure a unique sound. Although drums are the most obvious target, we actually liked it even more on synth and vocal tracks.
Repeat-X is a terrific plugin, offering a lot of inspiration at a ridiculously low price. It's got just enough flexibility to keep things from getting old without the need for a complex GUI, and it'll add an instant ear-catching quality to anything you throw at it.