The original Trash was one of iZotope’s earliest plug-in effects, featuring filters, an impulse response module and a toolbox of distortions capable of some complex and truly nasty sounds. Although we take things like multiband saturation and distortion for granted now, back in 2003 when it was released, Trash was a unique and powerful plug-in. Fast-forward nearly ten years and iZotope has finally seen fit to overhaul the software, giving it an entirely new sonic architecture, improved sound quality, new features and optimised performance.
A Band Apart
With the exception of a new delay section, the fundamental modules are the same but with a number of tweaks to improve both flexibility and workflow. First up are the two filter modules, which give you six bands and a choice of over 20 different filters from clean and warm to saturated, screaming and vowel types. Although the filters are placed before and after the distortion by default, you can freely change the order of all the modules, even choosing to run the filters in parallel if you so desire. On top of this you now have the ability to modulate the position of each node, either via a sidechain input, envelope modulation or syncable LFO, opening up the possibility for incredibly complex, multi-layered EQ sweeps to add detail to your sound. In typical iZotope fashion, the polished GUI is a god-send here, giving you a second node to select the frequency, gain and Q, with a small dot that shows your current position. That said, with all six bands going things can look a little hectic.
Next comes the multiband Trash module, where you can select up to four bands, each with two distortions in series and the option of an additional HP/LP filter after each stage to help tame wild harmonics. You can choose from over 60 different waveshapes, then edit the distortions with the incredibly flexible, graphic-based waveshaper. Or you can choose to make your own waveshapes with a number of different drawing options, although these can’t be saved individually and have to be saved with the preset.
Act On Impulse
Once you’ve crafted your distortion sound you can feed the signal through the amp and speaker convolution module, which features over 100 new impulse responses from traditional cabinets to more off-the-wall creations and spaces. However, what really opens up the sound-design potential is the ability to load your own WAV and AIFF files, meaning you could easily add reverb or any number of effects into the chain. Next we have an analogue modelled compressor and noise gate with up to four bands, which have essentially been lifted from Alloy 2 and feature the same excellent visual feedback and flexible sidechain options. Finally, the new delay module has six types of delay, ranging from clean and digital to crunchy, bit-crushed and warm tape/tube settings. We were surprised by the quality and versatility of the effect, and additional sliders for width and colouration can add extra life and 3D space to your sound. Thankfully, iZotope has included a limiter at the final stage to help protect both your ears and speakers, as even the smallest of tweaks to the Trash module can turn a subtle crunch into a shredding wall of sound.
Other features include stereo width and imaging controls in the Convolve module, wet/dry sliders for all the modules (except the filters), and a post filter with resonance for the delay. There are also 300 presets, plus the option of more from the Edge Expansion pack, but we found many of these to be a little on the aggressive side.
Like all iZotope plug-ins, the slick GUI is easy to read and quick to use, making complex sound design seem easy. The only real improvement we can think of would be the inclusion of more modulation options, allowing you to control the distortion crossover bands or the delay time. Trash 2 is designed to make things sound nasty, and as such is a great tool for anyone looking for unique and dirty synth, guitar or drum sounds. You will, however, need a much more delicate touch and some patience if you want to create subtle warming and saturation effects. If this is your goal, you may wish to look elsewhere, but as a sound-design tool, this is a highly flexible and creative beast.
+ Versatile, flexible and easy to use
+ Great-sounding analogue filters with fun modulation options
+ Ability to load IRs massively opens up potential
+ Can sound really aggressive
– Can sound really aggressive
– Could do with modulation in the Trash and Delay modules
– Not the best bet for warm analogue saturation
A highly flexible sound-design tool that’s capable of rich, aggressive sounds, has great-sounding filters and a surprisingly decent delay effect, plus an easy-to-use GUI.