Yes, another Soundtoys review, this time we’re looking at MicroShift. If you’re not familiar with Soundtoys, the founders actually worked on the original harmonizer, H3000 by Eventide. Even though it was designed to be used as a harmonizer, the H3000 was often used to just thicken up or widen a track. It did this by pitching each panned side up or down by a few cents, and adding some delay. Soundtoys MicroShift focuses on that aspect.
The interface is pretty simple. There are 3 styles to choose from in the MicroShift. Style 1 is modeled off the original H3000 (preset number 231) giving an authentic delay and pitch variation with some analog saturation. Style 2 is also from the H3000 (preset 519) with a slightly different variation on the delay as well as the frequency response. Style 3 is modeled from the AMS (Neve) DMS 15-80, which offers a wider delay and different saturation.
The Mix knob allows you to blend in the effect with the original source. This is useful to emulate parallel processing of the signal on the same track as an insert. If you want to put it on another track as a send, then you’d probably want to have the mix set at 100%.
The Focus knob is used to control the crossover point at which the effect is applied. It will only be applied to the high end (above the crossover point.) The range is from 20Hz to 10kHz. Since it’s very likely that the material will get muddy, and bass is usually put in mono (or down the center) you’ll most certainly want this turned higher than 20Hz. A good starting point would be 250Hz, or 11 o’clock, which should cut out most of the low end.
Hint: You can right click on the knob to see the actual frequency readout.
The Detune knob is adjusts the micro-pitch shifting, but not directly in cents, as each style is different. The range is 50% all the way to the left, and 200% all the way to the right, which would double the detuning.
The delay knob increases or decreases the delay, and since each style is different, this is also represented in percent, with a range of 50% to 200%.
Wall of Guitar
One of the better uses of MicroShift is for thickening up guitars. Check out the difference it makes.
This is a distorted guitar and then with Style 1 applied with the Mix at 12 o’clock and the Detune at 3.
Here’s another distorted guitar, this time the mix is all the way up and Style. 2 and 3 are applied.
While the MicroShift has a simple interface and only gives you three styles, it’s not mean to really do any more than thicken up your tracks, and it does that well. If you are finding elements of your mix sound thin, and not quite so professional, there’s a good chance thickening is an issue for you. While you can record multiple tracks of everything, sometimes that’s just not practical or possible. MicroShift lets you quickly thicken up a track (and you don’t even have to create a second track to do so) which can really make the difference when your lead instrument needs to stand out front and center, or in this case to the sides 😉
Bottom line: A must have for recording guitar or lead vocals!
Purchase Soundtoys MicroShift from this link, and Logic Fiends will get a few bucks to keep the site running.
Make sure you check out our other Soundtoys Reviews.