Review: Fabfilter Saturn
Why use compression when you can use distortion?
It’s funny how a non-intuitive interface can make you shun a plugin altogether. For me that was the case with Ohmicide, Ohmforce’s multiband distortion plugin, that’s been around for quite a while now. With the introduction of Fabfilter’s Saturn plugin on March 8th, the concepts of multi band distortion, compression, modulation, and mid/side processing have been put together in a big bad blender with a straightforward interface. How will it all blend? Let’s have a look in this Fabfilter Saturn review.
Fabfilter Saturn Review
Fabfilter Key Features
Saturn’s key features in a coconut shell:
- Sixteen distortion styles, ranging from subtle saturation, to guitar amps and bit crushing.
- Up to 6 band multi-band processing with drive, mix, feedback, compression/expansion, tone and level controls per band.
- Mid/side processing.
- Intuitive interface, with an interactive multi-band display (normal and wide modes).
- Drag-and-drop modulation with 50-slot modulation matrix. Modulate with XLFO’s, XY controllers, envelope generators and followers, or MIDI of any type.
- Interactive help hints.
Watch Fabfilter’s Saturn tutorial to get a grasp on what’s possible and how its interface works:
I’ll let the plugin do the talking, with some audio examples. I used some Apple Loops and some of Fabfilters presets. You’ll hear the unprocessed sound first, then the processed version. This is the first time I’m using HTML5 for audio playback, which should be good for most browsers and mobile devices. I’d like to know how it goes, so drop a comment if you’re having any problems.
Clean Electric Guitar:
Basic Rock Drums:
Hip Hop Beat:
Synth Pad. Notice the sidechaining effect:
Without going absolutely crazy with Saturn’s modulation capabilities, in its most simple form, Saturn could be considered a simple 6 band equalizer. You get to color each band separately with compression and saturation, process that in parallel if you want, and even balance the mid and side levels and drive. Multiband sidechaining? No problemo. Just use LFO’s instead of setting it up the classic way with a sidechain input (although Saturn offers that too).
By having all these colors in one plugin, with an interface that’s actually inviting, your go-to plugin chain may very well become a lot shorter. It’s only healthy to completely rethink how to set up your plugin inserts once every while, and Saturn has made me do just that.
Sofar, the best buy I’ve made this year!
All FabFilter plug-ins are available in 32-bit and 64-bit editions for both Windows and Mac OS X.