Review: Pulsar Modular shows with its Lunar Lander a 3-in-1 pedal-like multi-FX that can give every sound a nice vintage warm, colorful touch
Lunar Lander landed on my computer a while ago. Wait, not the Lunar Lander from Lego, my brick friends, this is a 3-in-1 effect plugin for macOS & Windows.
In this review, I will give you a deep insight into the Lunar Lander plugin by Pulsar Modular and try to uncover its strengths and weaknesses. Two videos specially made for this review give you a wide range of sounds.
Pulsar Modular Lunar Lander
Lunar Lander is a special kind of multi-effect processor. It only has 3 effects, not 100, and they are all inspired by the past. It includes a BBD-style delay, three-position plate reverb, and tube-style saturation all set in a guitar pedal-like interface.
The interface is super simple, not cluttered with unnecessary lettering and features, has no deep submenus, and is easy to use. Actually what you would expect from an analog processor, here only in digital as a plugin. And yes, it can also be scaled and is therefore customizable to various monitors. I’m particularly looking forward to the upcoming iOS version (June) because the interface fits perfectly on an iPad. Nice big knobs that invite you to tweaks the sounds right away.
Lunar Lander offers three effects. It starts with an analog-modeling BBD delay (Pulsar 931) with DAW/BPM sync, adjustable clock rate with triplet & feedback (regen), both with additional modulation option. The BBD knob controls the amount of distortion & noise of the emulation. The clearer sound to the left, the more you turn to the right, the sound gets dirtier and crunchy. Same with the feedback. In lower settings, it generates gentle timbres, above 8 it starts to self-oscillate and enters in runaway mode. Nice, this sounds very musical to me and doesn’t create unwanted noise. Plus you can adjust the noise portion of the feedback, which is a nice addon.
Since version 2.1 LL has a 6dB lowpass filter in the delay circuit which makes it even more versatile. Unwanted frequencies can be filtered out nicely, for example, and thus you can create duller or brighter delays here. The delay module can create short and long repeats without any problems. With very short settings it can also act as a chorus effect. This in combination with the built-in saturation makes every sound beefier and juicer. A one-knob ducking function is also onboard. The delay sounds great, it can be clocked/synced properly if necessary and has a lot of character.
Then, it hosts a 3-switch 80s-inspired plate reverb with three different types. From small to huge, it covers all of your plate reverb needs. Decay sets the amount of how long the reverb should fade away. This is your instant satisfaction knob for short and very long reverbs. If that’s not enough, click the Hard Over button to dive deeper into the Plate reverb algorithm.
Welcome to the plate reverb algorithm, here you can influence the character of the reverb with five additional slider-parameter including a lowpass filter, pre-delay, damping, and two decay diffusers. The latter expands nicely the sonic spectrum of the plate reverb. Great for design washed-out or whirling reverbs. Further, you have a bandpass filter (bandwidth) that cuts both low and frequencies content from the wet signal. Handy for making the reverb more dominant, present, or by filtering more subtle. And with the dry/wet mix, you can blend the processed with the dry signal.
Before we look at the saturation unit, there is one more function that should not be forgotten. Pulsar Modular has also incorporated an option to modify the routing of the delay and reverb. More precisely, you can send either the delayed signal to the reverb or the reverb signal to the delay. This enables exciting results like resonating reverbs. The algorithm sounds very high quality. Very lush, spacey, smooth, and realistic to me, not artificial at all.
In the end, the plugin has an analog-style summing amplifier with a built-in saturation unit. There are two types: Class A offers low signal distortion and highlights the transients. Class A / B, on the other hand, works like a saturation unit and adds character and color to the final signal. Personally, I like more the A / B because it glues the sounds together nicely. It makes every sound warmer, a bit grainier, more tangible, and full of character. Exactly what we love about vintage effects.
Pulsar Modular Lunar Lander Review
Lunar Lander is a great-sounding multi-effects plugin. Unlike other multi-fx plugins, it focuses a lot on vintage, characterful sounds. It doesn’t want to compete with monster effect processors like Unfiltered Audio Byome or Kilohearts Multipass. It is at home in a niche where it is one of the best.
Classy, crunchy, warm effects, it masters these sounds perfectly. In terms of price vs. features, it looks rather bad. For the asking price, you can get significantly more versatile and deeper effects plugins on the market. Lunar Lander is about quality, not quantity, you can tell that quickly. For many it may be too little, for others, it may be just right. I hope that some more features will be added in the future that maybe improves the price/features factor. A spring reverb algorithm would be a nice add-on.
At $149 the plugin is not cheap, but it offers well-programmed algorithms that sound excellent. Whether as a classic effects unit or as a master bus effect, Lunar Lander gets a high score in both areas. It’s not the broadest plugin out there but more a tool that can infuse a touch of vintage, juicy goodness in any sound. A very personal impression can be made with the 20-day trial version where you dive deep into the LL features.
- sound quality
- very simple, hands-on pedal-style user interface
- versatile sound design tool: delays, reverbs, saturation, vintage-chorus…
- low on CPU
- high price
- price vs. features
Pulsar Modular Lunar Lander is available now for 122€/149€ and runs as a VST3, AU, and AAX plugin on macOS and Windows. Grab 15 free presets here for free. Donations are welcomed.
More information here: Pulsar Modular
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