New Toys: K-Devices Shaper 2

Shaper 2 is one of the company’s three creative plugins in the Phoenix Series. Other worthwhile plugins in the Phoenix Series are: WOV, an advanced/experimental tremolo and TTAP, a double-tap delay/manipulator.

Shaper 2 combines a wave-shaper and multi-effects processor under control of a futuristic-looking GUI that is 100% graphic-symbolic. Clicking on a button fills in text labels for the controls—great for newbies like me. You can toggle through over 40 ready-to-go but cryptically named presets using the back/forward arrows on either side of the name. You can pick a preset and start fooling around but it’s better to understand what the controls do and the different chain orders are depicted schematically in the center of the GUI.

Shaper 2 completely reassembles audio and I am interested for creating or finding either the ‘beauty or the beast’ to go into the songs I mix. When you re-order the Gate, Transform, Resonator and Shape modules by click/dragging, you’ll see the processors’ position and connections change within the GUI.

Using the Gate on sustaining sounds causes a kind of ‘broken’ sound that I love—it reminded me of an old Lovetone Big Cheese pedal. The Gate with the same settings has a completely different affect depending on where it is placed in the chain.

The Shape module (Waveshaper) has five different functions with two parameter control knobs that change depending on which function is in play. The Transform module has Clip, Wrap, Fold, and sFold with their effect shown on a single cycle of a sine wave on an oscilloscope screen. Resonator is a decay system with the Time control allowing variable times from 1ms up and to 1 second while the Decay control adjusts feedback. Because Resonator can be inserted anywhere in the chain, I got some pretty strange stuff here and I liked automating Resonator for flanging and reshaping entire drum loops. I had a good time running an entire drum kit though Shaper 2 with the sound becoming the basis for a new remix.

Shaper 2 is available as VST, AU, and AAX, for Macs or PCs, and I think it is essential for creating different and unusual sounds in my mixes. All K-Devices plugins are available as downloads either separately or all three in the Phoenix Series bundle at $178. Separately, Shaper 2 sells for $70.