Unfiltered Audio SpecOps Review – Your New Sonic Spy

Unfiltered SpecOps - Featured Image

When other plug-ins play it safe, SpecOps revels in the danger, taking your sounds to strange new places. Andy Jones goes off into the deep end…

Unfiltered SpecOps - Main GUI

Price $129
Contact Unfiltered Audio | Plugin Alliance

Unfiltered Audio SpecOps key features:

  • Spectral multi-effects plug-in
  • AU/VST/AAX
  • Choose three simultaneous spectral effects from 36
  • Seven modulators including a 16-step sequencer
  • 24 filter types
  • Additional processors: two pitch shifters, frequency shifter and Freeze effect
  • Unique Visualizer

We’ve been talking a lot about sound design this issue, uncovering a lot of effects we’d previously not encountered. SpecOps from Unfiltered Audio is the latest one to grab our attention, not least with a stunning GUI that features a ’Visualizer’ of your audio that throbs in real time and in all manner of ways along with whatever audio you put through it.

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On a basic level – and even then, not that basic – SpecOps has three engines, each with a chosen spectral process from a pool of 36. Taking things up a few levels, the software splits your audio into thousands of parts called ’bins’, using a Fast Fourier Transform algorithm.

You can specify the number of bins it works with using an FFT Size dial to the left which affects overall smoothness, and then adjust how the GUI reacts.

To the right of this you select the spectral effect used within each engine and each one’s mix. These cover filters, pitch, compression, freeze points, reverses, plenty of glitch-types and a lot more. That list will give you a clue as to the sonic direction of SpecOps but probably not much of an idea of just how far it takes things… which is far out of this world.

We started by throwing a simple cymbal pattern at some of the presets only to have it ripped from normality onto a dozen wild and wacky paths.

A simple bass turned into a massive dubstep bass just on the Default setting! Dialling in the Glitchy Octave Up preset turned said bass into a computer game glitch, complete with a GUI that reminded us of a ZX Spectrum game loading.

With pad sounds the results were less in your face but no less interesting, adding a welcome roughness or some kind of trench depth underwater atmosphere (with the Subterranean Octaves preset), while other presets add a kind of random filtered wonder that is very welcome when you loop as much as us.

We do feel that we’re going to have to revisit our physics master’s papers to do SpecOps justice, but even on a basic level, this is instant sound design like you’ll have never heard. You might not know what you’re doing – and you might not want to know – but ignorance can be bliss, which SpecOps certainly is.

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