WOW2

Review: WOW2 from Sugar Bytes

WOW2Sugar Bytes are renowned for their incredibly complex and powerful plugins. Whether you want to completely mangle your sound with Effectrix, or make some nasty basses with Cyclops – they have it all.

The newest addition to the team is the WOW2 Filterbox. If you’ve heard of the WOW Filter (number one), then you haven’t seen anything yet! The WOW2 is certainly no exception to Sugar Bytes’ professional sound quality, complexity, and design.

This is a multi-page review. Make sure you read the other pages!

Features and Uniqueness

We’ll start with this section because it’s clearly going to be the longest.

The WOW2 is certainly a powerhouse when it comes to filtering work of any kind. Whether it’s making long, dreamy, evolving pads – or squelchy dubstep bass. Modern talking too, yes, that can certainly be achieved!

Let’s have a look through some of the features.

The Filter Section

The WOW2 is primarily a filter, but it’s not just any filter. There’s absolutely no comparison between FL Studio’s Fruity Filter or Ableton’s Auto Filter. This is an entirely different beast.

Most filters contain a few types, you know, the standard Lowpass, Highpass, Bandpass, etc. The WOW2 on the other hand contains 21 different filters.

That wasn’t a typo – twenty one. 

In total, the WOW2 features:

  • 4 Highpass filtersFilters
  • 7 Lowpass filters
  • 5 Bandpass filters
  • 6 Special filters

Some of the filter types are modelled of the Moog, and there are also some Sugar Bytes filters in there (the 030 Lowpass being one of them).

In general, the filters sound really nice. Often you’ll get some tinny, cheap sounding filters. Not with the WOW2.

If you’re looking for a bit of color, then it’s there. Prefer a more transparent filter? That’s there as well.

The WOW2 also contains a saturation model filter in each section (apart from special), this is just another way to handle resonance and provide self-oscillation.

The Best Cutoff Knob on Earth

CutoffC’mon, look at this thing!

I’m all for minimalistic design, and I think Sugar Bytes have managed to pull it off pretty well despite the abundance of features that this plugin has.

It’s the biggest knob in the interface, and you can’t really miss it. What I really like about it is the diagram in the middle showing the filter type and how it’s affecting the sound. Though it’s not a solution for making precise filter judgements (in terms of mixing), it makes for a great visual aid while working with your filtering.

Note: The diagram changes depending on what filter you’re using. Resonance, volume, and the distortion parameters do not affect the cutoff diagram. Instead, they have a small diagram of their own.

Life Without Resonance is…

Depressing.

I really like the resonance on the WOW2 as it’s difficult to push it to a stage where it starts becoming uncomfortable. I’ve found that with other plugins, the resonance can be quite harsh. Sugar Bytes do a great job of keeping it tamed, and if you want to go all out then you can do that also.

One of the coolest things about the resonance is the significant effect is has when using the Vowel filter mode (which we’ll get to). It makes a world of difference.

If you’re someone who uses resonance a lot when designing your sounds, then you won’t be disappointed. Like modulating your resonance? Yep, you can do that also.

Volume, Dry/Wet, You Know the Deal

As with any filter you’ve got a dry/wet knob. This works as it should, and is great if you’re after some subtle filter effects, especially in the vowel mode. That or a little distortion.

Not all filters have a volume knob. I personally think it’s a nice addition for when you need that extra bit of oomph, or if it’s getting a little too loud.

The Distortion Section

Distortion
The one thing that I absolutely, utterly love about this filter is the distortion section. It sounds amazing!

I said earlier in the article that Sugar Bytes are renowned for making plugins complex, and powerful. The distortion section certainly doesn’t have any closed doors here.

One thing I really like is the fact that you can choose to place the distortion before or after the filter. This makes for significantly different sounds depending on what you’re looking for.

As you can see from the image to the right, the WOW2 offers seven different distortion types:

  • Parabolic: Tube-like overdrive, creates rich harmonic spectrum and is four times oversampled
  • Hyperbolic: Similar to above, but double-drive and sounds a lot more ‘in your face’
  • Diabolic: It’s literally diabolic. Diode-like distortion
  • One Bit: Turns everything into a pulse wave. This one’s fun to modulate
  • Sine: Drives a sine function. You’ve gotta hear this one for yourself
  • Crush: Bitcrusher? You know what that is!
  • Digitize: My favourite distortion type. I adore sample rate reducers, though

The distortion on this is incredibly powerful, and in my opinion is a key feature of the plugin. From an unbiased approach – there’s little out there that rivals this.

Flick over to the next page where we have a look at the modulation section!