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Toolroom Academy Infinite review

We test out the debut effect plugin from the brains behind venerated house label Toolroom

  • £39
Toolroom Academy Infinite
(Image: © Future)

MusicRadar Verdict

It’s not groundbreaking, but Toolroom’s first plugin is a well-pitched and handy source of instant dancefloor-driving transitions.

Pros

  • +

    Well-priced and genuinely useful for dance musicians.

  • +

    Decent crop of well-made presets.

  • +

    Plenty of scope for designing intricate custom transitions.

Cons

  • -

    No global dry/wet.

  • -

    Testing macro routings can be awkward.

  • -

    Arguably, there’s not much here you couldn’t set up for yourself in most DAWs (albeit in a far more time-consuming way).

Toolroom Academy Infinite: What is it?

Infinite is the debut plugin release from Toolroom Academy, the music education offshoot of influential house label Toolroom Records, and is credited as being jointly created by Toolroom founder Mark Knight and producer James F Reynolds. 

It’s another entry into the increasingly crowded multi-effect market. Infinite has its own USP, however, in being specifically targeted at creating club-ready transition effects.

Toolroom Academy Infinite: Performance and verdict

The plugin opens up with a basic UI labelled Simple mode. In this state, Infinite is a classic ‘one knob’ plugin, offering just a preset browser up top with a large macro dial below, flanked by input and output metres. 

Used in this way, Infinite offers an assortment of complex, tension-building effects including risers, downers, filter sweeps and washout effects, all easily controlled and automated from that single macro. There’s also a small selection of ‘sound shaper’ presets, which can add a touch of movement to things like pads or percussion loops.

Toolroom Academy Infinite

(Image credit: Toolroom)

As you’d expect from a Toolroom-branded plugin, the presets lean primarily towards dance music. There’s a decent amount of range on offer within that remit though, from more subtle builds that could work on more loopy, slowly progressing techno tracks to all-out pumping sweeps tailor-made for a festival main stage.

Crucially though, as useful as these ‘one knob’ uses are, Infinite also lets users dig deeper by opening up Complex mode, which offers access to the full effect setup. There are four reorderable effects modules here, plus an additional global section. The four modules offer reverb, delay, distortion and LFO-driven volume automation. 

The controls for each are pretty basic – the reverb has just mix and decay controls, for example, and delay just a time parameter (always synced to the host tempo) and feedback. While these are unlikely to replace your favourite mixing plugins any time soon, they’re sonically well judged and work very well together when used for the task at hand.

The global section down the bottom of the interface adds high- and low-pass filters, width and gain controls, plus a pre-filter white noise generator. To the right of the interface is an expandable panel used for setting and adjusting macro settings. Up to 14 parameters can be routed here, each with its own custom depth curve. This offers detailed control over the rate at which parameters change as you adjust the macro, making it possible to have different aspects of the effect ramp up, fade in and out or even ‘bounce’ up and down as the transition progresses.

The main Macro control itself isn’t accessible from the Complex view, meaning some awkward flipping back and forth in the UI is required to test any adjustments to the routing setup. It’s also a shame there’s no global dry/wet control, although the main Macro is obviously intended to fill this role. 

This aside, Infinite fills its brief exceptionally well, with the potential to become a go-to tool for some. Is there anything here you couldn’t set up yourself using, say, an Ableton Effect Rack? Possibly not, but it’s well priced, user friendly and easy on the CPU – an infinitely convenient source of dancefloor tension!

MusicRadar verdict: It’s not groundbreaking, but Toolroom’s first plugin is a well-pitched and handy source of instant dancefloor-driving transitions.

Toolroom Academy Infinite: The web says

"Its value for money is undeniable when considering its ease of use, effect quality, flexibility and efficacy."
MusicTech (opens in new tab)

Toolroom Academy Infinite: Hands-on demos

Toolroom Records

Plugin Boutique

PULSE Music

SumnSumnSumn HTK

Toolroom Academy Infinite: Specifications

  • KEY FEATURES: Multi-effect plugin designed for dance music FX and transitions. Feature reverb, delay, distortion, LFO and filter modules. Includes 40+ presets.
  • CONTACT: Toolroom (opens in new tab)

I'm Editor-in-Chief of Music Technology, working with Future Music, Computer Music, Electronic Musician and MusicRadar. I've been messing around with music tech in various forms for over two decades. I've also spent the last 10 years forgetting how to play guitar. Find me in the chillout room at raves complaining that it's past my bedtime.