When it comes to distortion plug-ins, you could say that the market is saturated. (Sorry, bad pun.) A product needs excellent sound and some unique features to stand out from the crowd. The Eventide CrushStation plug-in, part of the company’s H9 Series and adapted from the hardware pedal of the same name, offers both.
From a distortion standpoint, it provides a range of effects, from light saturation to bit-crushed demolition. Unlike some distortion processors that only have a couple of controls, CrushStation offers a variety of adjustable parameters, giving you significant control over what it does to your sound.
The Drive knob governs the amount of distortion. The Sustain knob lets you add compression and sustain. The Sag control aims to replicate the sound of badly designed or dying tube gear.
You also get a knob to add in octaves above or below the source, or both. You can create cool octave-divided effects, especially if you keep the distortion on the low side. The Grit knob, when turned up, adds low end to the distortion, giving you a fuller, more fuzz-like tone.
For further tone tweaking, the plug-in offers an EQ section comprising Bass and Treble knobs that cut and boost at set frequencies, plus an adjustable Midrange band. The midrange is crucial for shaping the character of distortion, so the sweepable frequency knob is handy.
Near the bottom of the GUI is a simulated ribbon controller, which you can assign to govern one or more of the parameters. You set a low value at one end of the “Ribbon” and a high value at the other. Then you can slide around with your cursor to adjust them and even automate your movements. The way it’s set up, you could program macros in which one or more knobs go down while others go up when you move across the Ribbon.
Another handy feature is the Hotswitch, which allows you to switch instantly between two custom settings for the plug-in. You can even use MIDI Continuous Control messages to toggle it.
Any effects processor that adds gain, compression and saturation can create noise or amplify any that was in the signal coming in. To minimize that, CrushStation includes a built-in noise gate. You can adjust a Threshold knob and choose either Fast or Slow Attack to control it.
I auditioned CrushStation and got excellent results on every source I tried it on, whether going for subtle or heavy-handed distortion. CrushStation is more than your average distortion plug-in. It sounds terrific, features innovative controls and is fun to use.
According to the company’s website, CrushStation’s regular price will be $99, but the company is offering it for a limited time (not specified) at a $39 introductory price.