AudioThing x Hainbach Lines first look, new multi-FX plugin turns feedback in singing birds

SYNTH ANATOMY uses affiliation & partner programs (big red buttons) to finance a part of the activity. If you use these, you support the website. Thanks! 

AudioThing x Hainbach Lines first look: new plugin mimics the obscure 70s Axel Line Simulator and takes it into experimental synth and multi-fx fields. 

Effects, a world that is just as colorful and diverse as synthesizers. Musicians often use it to fine-tune or finalize sounds. Often overlooked, effects can also play a key role in sound design. Sure, this is more difficult with bread-and-butter delay and reverbs. But there is inspiring hardware and software (plugins/iOS) that is perfect for deeper sound collages.

In software, it’s hard to miss the creations of AudioThing and the experimental musician Hainbach. So far, they have crafted five eye- and ear-opening effects plugins/iOS apps together. Number 6 is now here and is no less wild and fascinating. 

AudioThing Hainbach Lines

Axel Line Simulator

Do you know that yellow thing from the 1970s, the Axel Line Simulator by Axel Electronics? No? Don’t worry, me either. It’s another obscure non-music-related unit from Hainbach’s growing sonic kitchen full of test equipment. This antique telephone line simulator was mainly used to mimic the “worst case” for message transmission, using a range of unique analog effects. 

At the beginning of 2023, Hainbach revealed the hidden musical soul of the weird Axel Line Simulator in a detailed, lovely video. With Carlo from AudioThing, he has now digitized this piece and made it accessible to the public in a new experimental plugin called Lines. Thanks to AT and Hainbach for the testing license. 

AudioThing x Hainbach Lines

Lines is both an experimental feedback Synthesizer and a multi-effects processor. AudioThing has simulated the circuit down to the component level to archive an authentic emulation of the Axel Electronics Axel Line Simulator. With the original features set, but expanded in the musical context. 

The core consists of a series of modeled analog signal processors upgraded with a modulation engine “Trip. Like in the vintage unit, it starts with an 8-step pulse sequencer with length, volume, and rate controls. It can run freely or in sync to your DAW’s clock. From these pulses you can generate rusty rhythms, so a sound generator, or run side by side with effects in a processed signal.

Nice would be to have more advanced features for it, allowing you to create more complex rhythms. Next to this, is a noise generator paired with switchable envelope follower. So, a full noise drone or in the groove/mood of your sound is possible.

AudioThing Hainbach Lines

In combination with the Trip engine, you can animate the noise knob, which then accompanies the pulse generator for a little drum machine groove. Or add movement to the effect. Yes, dynamic noise is always better than static noise. 

Sound Processing

Lines also hosts a phase jitter for degrading your audio signals. It works in the time domain and adds instability via fluctuations in the signal waveform. Signals can be beautifully downgraded in quality and thus add a unique character to them. Add modulation to it, and you awaken talking ghosts in the noisescapes.

From here, it goes into a frequency shifter with positive and negative polarity. A frequency shifter is tricky to use for novices, but with the right settings, you get some lovely dissonant, metallic, or “FM-like” timbres. A little highlight is leakage that puts the original signal back in the circuit and creates a unique sonic vibe in the stereo field.

The frequency shift can also be modulated positively or negatively. I particularly like slow modulation, which allows you to achieve filter/phasy-like effects. Great for a variety of chaotic, bizarre sounds.

AudioThing Hainbach Lines first look

Another core element of this obscure device is a double distortion stage based on a modeled non-linear distortion circuit. It split in a 2nd harmonic distortion and a 3rd harmonic distortion. The latter has an option to set the phase to inverted or non-inverted.

From light, subtle musical saturation to heavy distortions are possible here. Both stages allow you to add distinct saturation colors to your signals. With modulation, you can dynamically infuse this goodness to your tracks.

Before the main output, the signal travels through a true highpass filter party. The Line selector section consists of four filter configurations that imitate the sound of telephone and data transmission. They are shapable with three parameters: width and both the Q of the highpass and lowpass filter. Next to this, you have three momentary buttons for instant mangling fun.

The Hidden Synthesizer

Yes, Lines is also a raw experimental Synthesizer. AudioThing x Hainbach have recreated the ALS feedback circuit. You can route the output back into the effect, control and tweak it with a lowpass filter, and process it again with the effects.

This turns Lines into an unpredictable, growling Synthesizer plugin. Be careful with the levels and use the limiter in this case.

The built-in randomization engine is worth mentioning, which gives you constant new results. The results range from heavy noise stuff up to super unique, beautiful, and bizarre FXs. Plus point for the locking functionality that excludes parameters from the random process. Tip: lock the output and noise level to avoid noise explosions.

Sound Demo + Free Patches

I’ve been working more intensively with the Lines plugin over the last few hours. A few patches were created that ended up in a sound demo. The patches are available as a free download in my sound shop.


First Look/Review

AudioThing x Berlin-based musician/sound explorer Hainbach have developed another extraordinary plugin with Lines. It does exactly what you expect from an “experimental” release. It fascinates and awakens the inner exploration drag for unknown sonic territories. 

The sounds that Lines create are not categorizable. Lines is not a phenomenal phaser, a pristine frequency shifter, or a legendary distortion software replica. It’s something new and fresh. I really mean that here. I love how the unique interplay between synth and multi-FX is implemented here. You can take Lines from a wild, moving multi-FX to an unpredictable, roaring feedback synth in seconds without interrupting your workflow. As smooth as the butter on your classic effects. 

Lines is a sonic experience. You load the plugin (mac/win/linux/iOS) in your DAW and explore its various facets by tweaking the parameters. I archived many unusual timbres in my tests, including psychedelic-style modulations, frequency-shifting results with a lo-fi touch, and raw distortions from hell. Add noise and degrade the signal, and you are ready for a private, industrial party.

And yes, Lines is also an experimental synth at its best. You shouldn’t be afraid of feedback and possible over control. Your monitor speakers will roar if you are not careful with the levels. For the more comfortable and calm riders, AudioThing x Hainbach’s new plugin can also sing you a birdy song or create a rhythm pattern.

Lines is as flexible as how open you are. The plugin is made for tweaking and experimenting. It’s not a one- or two click sound finalizer. Take the time and explore it. The GUI is made for it. It’s immediate like the original unit, fully resizable, and made for hours of live explorations.


AudioThing x Hainbach Lines is available now for an introductory sale for 39€ instead of 69€. It runs as a VST, VST3, AU, AAX, and CLAP plugin on macOS (Intel + native Apple Silicon), Linux, and Windows.

Lines is also available for iOS with AUv3 support for the intro price of $12,99 instead of $19,99. This deal is valid until October 26th, 2023. 

More information here: AudioThing 

Plugin News

Plugin Reviews

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.