Output, makers of granular processor Portal, are back with Thermal, which they’re billing as an “interactive” distortion plugin.
Thermal, the new plugin from the Los Angeles-based company Output, is a distortion effect that appears to have a number of interesting-looking features. The UI immediately recalls Portal, the company’s granular effects plugin. At the centre is a circular XY control for making broad adjustments. Next to this are two large dials for controlling the amount of distortion and grime, respectively, as well as a wet/dry slider. “A user-friendly experience is key to controlling the deeply powerful, multi-stage engine,” states Output on its website (which includes a virtual tour of the company offices should you be curious how they look).
Thermal has 15 analogue and digital distortion algorithms, which can be applied in stages. You can rearrange the stages to change the way the distortion is applied. Distortions are based around shapes, and include subtle applications like soft clip up to more intense distortions, with names like Sine Shred and Asym Destroy.
There’s an advanced view with access to a waveform display. Here you can perform multiband processing for affecting user-selected frequency bands, as well as frequency targeting for precise distortion applications. Thermal also includes a modulation section, with a selection of clickable envelopes for adding movement. There’s also a humanize function for adding character to the curves.
Distortions can be paired with effects—there are nine, including delay and chorus—plus a master stereo compressor and filter at the output stage. The output stage also includes stereo imaging in the form of mid/side and time-based processing, plus tone for final EQing. There are also macros for grouped control of effects.
Thermal includes more than 250 presets to get you started.
Output promises that Thermal is light on CPU.
Thermal retails for $149 and is available now.