Review: Blue Cat’s Patchwork
I’ve never been much into wrapping VST plug-ins in Logic Pro until I heard about Blue Cat’s Patchwork plug-in last week. Patchwork can host up to 64 VST plug-ins (audio effects and virtual instruments) in a single instance, while giving you the options to use these plug-ins in series and in parallel. The latter option caught my eye. Time for a quick review.
Blue Cat Patchwork Review – Sections
Here’s Patchwork’s user interface, in its default state:
Indicated in red, the Pre and Post sections. Here, VST plug-ins are processed in series, top to bottom, before and after the Parallel Chains section, indicated in green. In the Parallel Chains section, VST plug-ins are processed in parallel, top to bottom, and this is where the fun begins.
Patchwork Example: Custom Mid/Side Processing Tool
Patchwork’s sections can be expanded, simply by adding rows and columns:
Let’s combine some free plug-ins in the Parallel Chains section:
It’s a simple example: here I’ve made a custom Mid/Side Processing tool, by combining multiple instances of 2 free plug-ins.
First I’ve used the 64-bit versions of the bscleansweepV2 plug-in 3 times – in parallel – to split the audio signal into 3 bands by using Low-Pass and High-Pass filters. With 3 instances of the bx_solo plug-in, I get to process the Mid/Side balance of these bands separately. Now I could choose a compressor per band, with each band being processed by a compressor plug-in of my choice. Even then, I would be using just 3 columns and 3 rows, while the Parallel Chains section in Patchwork offers a total of 6 columns and 8 rows!
Blue Cat’s Patchwork – Virtual Instruments Sketchpad
Patchwork hosts VST virtual instruments just as well. Even better, the Patchwork Synth plug-in can host both virtual instruments and audio effects at the same time. I’ve tried this with a rather random pick of VST plug-ins, as you can see here:
Here, I’ve combined Native Instruments Kontakt 5, Massive and Fabfilter One with Sugar Bytes Turnado, Effectrix, and Fabfilter Timeless. A rather odd combination, quickly resulting in unexpected and inspiring sounds in just a few clicks. I’ve never combined virtual instruments and audio effects this fast, not even with Logic Pro X’s Track Stacks feature.
Blue Cat’s Patchwork – Automation
All of Patchwork’s bypass and level parameters can be individually automated. For complete control over all automation parameters of every plug-in that’s contained in a Patchwork patch, you’d have to replicate the patch without using Patchwork.
Verdict: Parallel Processing on steroids. For that alone, I’m in.
Price: EUR 47 EUR or $63.
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