Felt Instruments Smugi plugin is modeled after Stockhausen’s favorite filter bank the Albiswerk Model 502 upgraded with creative FXs.
Early on, musicians experimented with filter banks. In the 50s and ’60s, Karlheinz Stockhausen, for example, experimented in the WDR Studio for Electronic Music with test equipment including filter banks. The beginnings of electronic sounds and synthesizers.
One of the most iconic devices was a filter bank, which was only used by a few experimental musicians at the time. This is now available as a plugin. And no, for a change, the plugin was not developed in collaboration with Hainbach, hehe.
Felt Instruments Smugi
Smugi is a new creative filter bank plugin. The Felt Instruments developer chose a very special hardware device from the 50s/60s, the beginnings of electronic music, for this new release. He modeled the Albiswerk Model 502, an extremely rare germanium filter bank used in the studios of Karlheinz Stockhausen, Pierre Schaeffer, or the Radiophonic Workshop.
However, Smugi is not a simple emulation of this historic device. It’s more a combination of the classic and modern in a new colorful effect plugin. g
Like the original unit, it splits your signal into 12 extremely musical bandpass filters. But what you can do in the next steps goes beyond the possibilities of Albiswerk Model 502. Stockhausen or Schaeffer would have been very happy about these extended functions.
First, each filter band has its own LFO for adding movement. Then, you can apply three experimental effects to each band, including movement, flutter, and feedback. The movement consists of an envelope follower controlling the volume of the band. You can use it to create granular-style effects or vocoder-like sounds says the developer.
The flutter section features a chaotic auto-panner that is based on the volume of a particular filter band. It creates flowing, abstract textures that move across the stereo field. Third and the last effect infuses feedback and resonance into the output of the signal. Additionally, you can use the plugin as a germanium saturation/distortion plugin.
Furthermore, Felt Instruments added a sequencer per filter band with rate/sync, steps, and fill controls per lane. This can be used to generate unique rhythmic filter effects.
Smugi has full MIDI CC support allowing you to control it from MIDI controllers with knobs and faders. Interestingly, there are no presets. The developer wants to reflect the experimental character and the exploratory workflow of the original in the plugin.
At first glance a very exciting plugin with which you can have a lot of fun. I like the very simple plugin interface that keeps you focused on the music.
Feltinstruments Smugi is available now for an introductory price of £59 + VAT instead of £79 + VAT until October 18th, 2022. It runs as a 64-bit VST3, AU, and AAX plugin for macOS (Intel + native Apple Silicon) and Windows. The developer promises lifetime free updates.
More information here: Feltinstruments
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