Bring me a dream
What do you get when you pair a modern jack of all trades delay with the modular fx sections found in something like a Moog Voyager? In my estimation you’d have something close to the concept behind
Unfiltered Audio’s Sandman Pro. Don’t be fooled by the simple layout of the plugins GUI. Under this plugins low key exterior; reminiscent of one found in Ableton Live’s Suite, lies a bevy of options.
“Don’t be fooled by the simple layout of the plugins GUI…”
When opening Sandman Pro in your DAW it may appear relatively straightforward at first glance. It provides the normal accoutrements you would expect such as independent I/O sections, Delay Time with tempo sync and linked or unlinked capabilities. There are also standard Delay Modes i.e. Tape, Modern, Multi-Tap, however beyond what’s expected is where things get weird. The other Modes such as Pitch Shifter and Glitch Shifter can instantly take you into harmonized or dissonant shimmer delays, all the way to explosive echo clusters and a swirling cacophony of sound.
“The other Modes can instantly take you all the way to explosive echo clusters and a swirling cacophony of sound.”
The middle section of the plug-in aptly named Sleep Buffer, controls the attributes of the delays name sake “Sandman”. When Sleep is engaged the waveform screen will reflect the section of audio that has been frozen in a buffer. This frozen section is no longer manipulated by the delay controls, but is changed by the options within the buffer section. After Sleep has been engaged, the options are Kill (empties buffer), Reverse (reverses buffer), Start/End (loop points), Lock Length (buffer = delay time), Smooth (cross-fades loop points) and Filter (engages hi-pass/low-pass filters). The Sleep factor in the plug-in admittedly stands alone when compared to others out there with a simple freeze function due in part to these factors.
“The Sleep factor in the plug-in admittedly stands alone when compared to others.”
One of the other notable aspects of the GUI include the “No Echo” Mode. This mode as you’d guess is not a delay but rather feeds the input directly to the Sleep Buffer allowing for interesting Stutter effects.
The S.Rate knob (Sample Rate), allows you degrade the fidelity of the Sample and works as a bitcrusher. This can yield some unique artifacts depending on the use. Lock Time, allows you to lower the sample rate without changing the delay time along with it. In the Output section you can engage the Soft Clip knob in order to saturate or “soften” the clipping for a more pleasant distortion. While this may not be groundbreaking, it is a wonderful feature to have
when the wheels start coming off sonically. The M/S and Width features are also very useful in widening and separating the initial sound from the delayed source. I found it most useful in helping with the placement of the delay in context of a full mix.
“The M/S and Width features are also very useful in widening and separating the initial sound from the delayed source.”
Under the Hood
Everything I’ve mentioned so far is only what the Sandman Pro offers at face value. There is yet another suite of goodies under the hood that take this delay to an 11 on a tweakers delight scale. Opening the modulation section displays a panel in which six modules can be loaded. The signal generators for each module are Sine, Saw/Triangle and Square LFOs. This section also includes an envelope follower, Sample + Hold Noise, and a Macro knob control.
Make the Connection
Within every module section you’ll notice a small input jack, which is found on almost every button, slider and knob. These jacks allow you create patches in which to alter the way the plugin reacts. To route a connection you simply need to drag a virtual cable from the modulators output section to the variable input section you wish to control.
While this processor certainly can perform any run of the mill task you’d require from a delay unit, it seems to shine best in the world of dubbing effects and sound design. In fact using it for mundane tasks, though plausible would seem to be somehow missing the point. This delay is for the producer or engineer who has all the basics covered and is looking for something… well, different. This is a processor that acts in many ways like an instrument. The Sandman Pro is something I’d gravitate towards when looking for another creative avenue, or as Brian Eno would say “It’s not the destination that matters. It’s the change of scene.” The Sandman Pro is just that.
“The Sandman Pro is something I’d gravitate towards when looking for another creative avenue.”
Price and Availability
The Sandman Pro is currently available for $99 USD with the friendly folks at Plugin Alliance here
It’s worth noting there is also available the two parts that comprise “most” of the Sandman Pro. Sandman and Instant Delay are available for $49 USD, incase you were interested in only some of the features the Pro offers. Click here for Instant Delay and here for Sandman
Compatible on Mac:
For use with VST, Audio Units and AAX Native 32 and 64-bit
Compatible on Windows:
Windows 7 or newer
For use with VST and AAX Native 32 and 64-bit
“Sandman Pro is a powerhouse of dubbing, glitching and sound design.”
- Intuitive Graphic User Interface
- A Powerful Dubbing and Sound Design Tool
- A Mad Scientist’s List of Sonic Possibilities
- Can’t feed Sleep Buffer Loops into Scenes for Layering
- Complex patching in the mod section hogs CPU
- Graphics are pixely and hard to read