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United Plugins Cryostasis
5 5 out of 5, based on 1 Review

Wow! Variable Freezing and More from JMG Sound

6th October 2022

United Plugins Cryostasis by Sound-Guy

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
United Plugins Cryostasis

Cryostasis (by JMG Sound from United Plugins)

United Plugins keep rolling out some excellent and unique processors. This latest from JMG Sound is Cryostasis , described as “a spectral inertia effect that can progressively smear your audio until infinitely frozen in time.” If this sounds like something you don’t already have in your arsenal, read on. Otherwise, read on anyway!

. . . . . . United Plugins Cryostasis-c-1.png
. . . . . . . . The default mode of Cryostasis with no freezing and all other controls at their nominal settings

What is It?
Like it says on the tin, it is a spectral inertial freezing effect,whatever that is! Whatever it is, it’s much fun and provides a lot of unique, very strange results. The big knob is the “freeze” control and when fully ccw there is no effect, no freezing and no other modifier effects (Wash, Pitch, Filter, LOFI or Shift). As the Freeze knob is rotated clockwise, “freezing” of the sound begins and the effects of Size, Wash, Pitch, Filter, LOFI and Shift are introduced, scaled by the Freeze setting (i.e., at a mid setting, the added effects are approximately at 50% of their settings). When fully cw the input sound is frozen in time . . . forever (well, until you turn the Freeze knob back down) and any of the other effects are at 100%, except the sound is frozen, so the effects are also frozen! A little hard to wrap your head around.

. . . . . . United Plugins Cryostasis-c-2.png
. . . . . . . . The Frozen Arcade preset with Freeze at 60% -- note the graphic in the Freeze knob changes gradually to
. . . . . . . . a “frozen” snowflake as it is increased.

What do the other controls do?
The Size control adjusts the length of the spectral window and changes the character of the freeze effect – low values yield nice robotic effects when you want them and higher settings provide smooth and blurry results, nice for atmospheric “space” music and the like. Wash sets a reverb length that interacts with the Freeze knob setting and helps to smooth out the freeze effect. It also spreads mono inputs into a stereo field.

. . . . . . United Plugins Cryostasis-c-3.png
. . . . . . . . A nice Tape Stop effect that is different than other tape stop effects I’ve used since it freezes sound as
. . . . . . . . it “stops” but doesn’t actually slow down the playback!

The four controls along the bottom default to the 12 o’clock position which is neutral – no pitch, no filtering, no lofi distortion or frequency shifting will occur no matter the position of the big knob. Turn them up or down and as described earlier, their effects occur as the big knob is turned up. Pitch is a pitch shift control with a range of +/- 24 semitones that sets the depth of pitch shift scaled by the freeze control. Filter is a dual-mode control – turning it down adjusts a low pass filter down to 200Hz and turning it up adjusts a high pass filter up to 2kHz, again scaled by the freeze control.

LOFI is also a dual-mode control that I found fascinating – turn it down and it creates a sample rate reduction effect – turn it up and it creates a word size (bit) reduction effect. These two modes can sound similar or very different depending on the source material – the sample rate reduction sometimes brings up aliasing-type beeps and ringing that can add some unique ear-candy. And again they are scaled by the freeze control. And there is a Shift control that adjusts how much the frequency will be shifted, scaled by the freeze control, with a range of -1kHz to +1kHz. This shift is added to the Pitch shift and since it is a frequency shift rather than a musical pitch change and can have the opposite shift direction, it can create some unique results. It’s all a bit wild since all these sound modifiers interact with the Freeze level and with each other.

Controlling the Big Knob
The Freeze knob can be manually adjusted and also has a motion control using two “buttons” below the knob – the right one is a control “window” that you drag up or down to set a time in msec (zero to 60,000 – a full minute!) and the left (0-100% switch) is a latching switch – click it once and the knob moves from off (fully ccw) to maximum in the selected time – click again and it returns to the off position at the selected rate. This is very effective for longer times, a second or more, and times of 10 or more seconds provide a very leisurely shift from normal sound to fully frozen.

But there is more! Double-click the time control and it shows a tempo map which can convert your DAW tempo to an equivalent time, covering tempos from 32D to 1/128T, a crazy wide range. Actually the maximum time is still 60 seconds and although you set up this time using the tempo sync mode, it still requires activation via the 1-100% switch, so it’s not an automatic tempo-sync. Still, it’s easy with any DAW to set up an automation lane either to activate the 0-100% switch on the proper beat, or directly control the Freeze knob. This can be very effective applied to a guitar, bass, kick drum or other rhythm tracks. And if you use REAPER, you can easily utilize its Parameter Modulation mode to affect any of Cryostasis’ controls, either using a tempo-synced (or free running) LFO or using an audio side-chain input to control Cryostasis by an audio level. I tried this almost immediately when I first started testing, resulting in great fun.

Of course all controls can be automated in your DAW so you can automate Size, Pitch, Filter, etc. over time if you wish. And another great feature – even when the Freeze control is at a fixed level you can change any of the other controls, Space, Wash, Pitch, Filter, etc. and the sound will be smoothly modified appropriately with no extraneous crackles or pops, only the results of stretching and twisting the sound. This really expands its uses since a moderate amount of “freeze” along with varying pitch, filter, wash and other parameter variations can yield some great sonic effects.

There is no dry/wet control since you’ll want to use Cryostasis as an inline processor because mixing the original sound with the processed sound can create some odd artefacts (though using REAPER’s built-in blend control I found some cases where this was useful). There is a Limiter switch near the top right that provides a safety limiter on the output and a preset window at the top left with a baker’s dozen factory presets – and you can roll your own of course. All very fun stuff!

. . . . . . United Plugins Cryostasis-c-4-presets.png
. . . . . . . . Preset window with factory presets.

I’ve included a few audio examples that are impossible to describe in words. Cryostasis definitely provides out-of-this-world effects one can use in all kinds of music, from edm to pop-rock to “space music”. The first example is a guitar riff played once with no processing and then with Cryostasis Freeze knob automatically driven from off to 100%, ending up with a total freeze that I faded after a few seconds since it could go on forever. The next example is a musical piece featuring a baritone guitar riff that keeps playing as I freeze a few times along the way to illustrate how different tones are frozen. The third example is a tempo-synced guitar effect (using DAW automation) starting with the unprocessed sound and repeating with various Cryostasis settings. Finally, the rather different “Tape Stop” preset – different because even though the tones sound like they are slowing down, the playback speed is not changing at all (you can hear the rhythmic elements keep playing a the same tempo). I included two versions, the first time I used only the preset and when music “stops” you can hear an ongoing “motor-like” sound since it is the frozen state – the second example includes adding in an automation lane to pull the Shift control down at the end making it sound more like a complete stop (although the tempo never changes!). Fun stuff!

Technical Details
In my test system (PC Audio Labs Rok Box PC with Windows 7, 64 Bit, 4-Core Intel i7-4770K, 3.5 GHz, and 16 GB RAM) Cryostasis required from about 0.5% to 0.7% CPU resource depending on parameter settings. Cryostasis also adds 4,096 samples of latency for DAW sample rates of 44.1 k and 48 k – or 8,192 samples at 88.2 k and 96 k. This is about 85 msec and is required for the freezing and other processing effects. But since the effects are so “far out” you can even use it in tracking or live performances if you want – I doubt anyone would notice the delay.

Again, a lot of fun and an extreme range of unique effects from Jason at JMG Sound. If you work in any genre that can use unusual FX, you should give it a try (free as always to try for two week and fairly priced – and even more affordable until the intro sale ends on Nov. 13, 2022).

An extremely wide and wild range of timing/frequency/odd FX.
Unique continuously variable “freezing” effect along with frequency and digital distortion elements.
Excellent sound with 64 bit internal processing.
Continuously variable GUI size with clean layout.
Easy installation and authorization.
15-Days unlimited free trial and reasonably priced for such an amazing processor, especially at the intro price until Nov. 13, 2022.
User manual can be downloaded as an htm file or PDF viewable with any browser.
Great fun!

No real cons, but would be great if it included a built-in tempo-sync mode – however, with the extreme processing going on I understand this might be impossible – and we all have DAWs with automation control that can modulate any of the controls any way we want, which is more flexible than a dedicated sync mode.

Attached Thumbnails
United Plugins Cryostasis-c-1.png   United Plugins Cryostasis-c-2.png   United Plugins Cryostasis-c-3.png   United Plugins Cryostasis-c-4-presets.png  
Attached Files

1-Guitar-Audio Results-slow Freeze.mp3 (658.1 KB, 56 views)

2-Baritone Gtr Multiple Freeze Mix.mp3 (1.24 MB, 51 views)

3-Cryostasis Guitar Tempo Sync Variations.mp3 (1.64 MB, 55 views)

4-Cryostasis Tape Stop.mp3 (1.84 MB, 52 views)

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