Sugar Bytes continue to set themselves apart from other instrument and effect plug-in developers by incorporating unique visual design and functionality with innovative sound sculpting controls. With the release of Egoist, Sugar Bytes challenges us to do more with less. Its standalone nature is right on time with iOS Apps like Korg's iGadget and also comparable to a classic EDM step sequencer like ReBirth. All-in-one applications like Egoist are experimenting with the way we sequence music. Egoist was made to encourage song production within the instrument itself, much like putting a sonic puzzle together. The Egoist design could crossover quite well in the world of iOS if Sugar Bytes decides to develop it for iPad in the future.
With that said, there are many ways to use Egoist as an instrument inside your DAW of choice too. You can spice up your tracks with interesting, polyrhythmic sliced percussion loops or select parts from your tracks to run through the custom effects section to create abstract spaced out effects in transitions, builds and more.
Let's look at the four main sections in greater detail.
The Slicer Section in Egoist.
The creative centerpiece of Egoist is the Slicer Section. Drawing on inspiration from Propellerheads REX File, Sugar Bytes developers take the loop-slicing concept to the next level. The amount of control over the 16 possible slices is second to none in Egoist.
You can easily select which slice plays along the 16 steps, select which slices are played to create rhythms, change the direction of the slices at will, adjust the pitch, attack and delay times and finally the level of each slice all in the clearly organized main window. Right under the waveform there are global controls for sensitivity, pitch, sample length, decay and velocity settings.
Another global section appears on the right of the Slicer section and offers a myriad of ways to shift, randomize and reset the entire loop. You can change the direction of the loop, shift the slices left, right, up or down, import saved settings from other loops and more. These controls are also available for the pitch and envelope sections so you can randomize the loop to your hearts content. The Bass, Beat and Effects Sections also have these global loop controls.
You can lose yourself in creating and mangling different slicer patterns. It's really fun! Before moving forward too quickly, I would suggest creating and saving the various patterns you create in the Pattern/Part/Song section strip on the bottom of the screen for song arranging later in the process.
Beat and Bass Section:
The Beat and Bass Section in Egoist.
The Beat making and Bass programming section are combined in one window in Egoist. The Beat section has Kick, Snare and Hi-Hat with a variety of kits built in. The Kick and Snare allow for two velocity settings and the Hi-Hat can be open or closed. The Beat and the Bass are programmed along 16 steps like the Slices.
There are 15 bass presets included with the ability to sculpt the sound from the Default setting. The biggest challenge I found with the bass section is coming up with a sound that I liked that would also cut through the mix with a busy loop going. Play around with bass pitch and the various attacks included in order to make the sound cut through the mix.
The Effects Section in Egoist.
The super fun effects section is modeled after Sugar Byte's popular Effectrix effect plug-in. You can graphically program 7 different effects across the 16 steps including lowpass filter, delay, reverb, lo-fi, chorus, tape stop and looper. It's very easy to adjust each effect above the step programmer as well. Adjust the amount the effect going to the Slicer, Bass and Beat with the sliders at the top of the interface.
Egoist Master Settings and Song Arrangement:
Master Settings and Song Arrangement in Egoist.
The Egoist Settings section offers a variety of global controls for fine-tuning each section (and a really cool looking robot). There's a built-in limiter and clock source button in case you are loading Egoist into a track in your DAW instead of using it as a stand-alone program. Once you have all your patterns together, you can create parts (A'"F) and then arrange those parts into a song arrangement. This is something you can work on all the way through the production process as the arrangement bar appears in every window.
Using Egoist in Pro Tools.
I had no problem loading Egoist into an instrument track in Pro Tools (10.3.7). To sync the playback clock, I made sure '˜external' clock source was selected in the Egoist Song Programming and Master section.
I anticipate using the Slicer tool quite a bit in upcoming productions since I can quickly manipulate a loop from my session or my sound library into so many permutations with ease. The polyrhythmic possibilities from multiple instances of the Slicer are endless too. Combine this with custom effects and you'll soon discover new dimensions in your sound sculpting and production.
Egoist is tailor made for EDM producers who want to experiment with sound mangling and design in a new way. So, happy slicing! Be sure to check out Sugar Bytes extensive range of effects and instruments on their website too if you want even more sonic inspiration.
Pros: Innovative Loop Slicing Tool. Great Programming Controls.
Cons: Bass sound programming is more challenging without EQ capabilities.