iZotope Trash 2 Multiband Distortion Plug-In
Distortion sounds are a very personal and characteristic element of any professional’s sound, whether it be fullon mayhem or simple harmonic enhancement. Trash 2 promises to push further past the obvious guitar and bass applications into providing a toolbox of distortion for almost anything. Now in 32- and 64- bit versions for all platforms, Trash 2 ($249) is ready to smash any DAW around today.

The improved, more intuitive GUI, offers control and allows users to rearrange the order of the various processing modules in a signal chain. Large in and out stereo faders, signal and a limiter built-in on the output are always displayed.

The core Trash module provides two ‘Stages’ of distortion algorithms, each with a post filter to help control harmonics, and each stage can be run in either single band mode or up to four user-definable frequency bands.

Two identical but independent Filter modules are positioned pre and post the Trash module by default, offering six parametrics and more than 20 different filter types to choose from per band, including vowel shapes. Combine all this control with the builtin modulation and you are able to create a whole new set of effects.

The Convolve module is loaded with impulse responses (IRs) of spaces a user can place a sound inside. New for Trash 2 are IRs ranging from anything from the normal guitar cabinet to many household items. IRs can be added by an expansion pack or by user upload.

The Dynamic module has compression and gating from full bandwidth up to four separate bands. Each band has side-chaining and a detection filter. I really like the graphical display of gain reduction. Likewise, across other modules, there is a very clear realtime frequency spectrum, which is very useful. To complete the plug-in, and for creating even further crazy sounds, there is an excellent ‘Delay’ module.

Sonically, Trash 2 is really exciting and crunchy, and yet still rich and powerful. One of my favorite elements is the limiter on the final output—I found myself driving the input to the limiter without any other module enabled.

The multi-band mode is key to Trash 2 being able to offer such rich sounds. For example, by giving your low end a little bit of subtle grit and your high end getting some excessive saturation while your mid range is smashed into nothing but noise, you can find a distortion that is forward yet doesn’t destroy everything in its path.

I also loved utilizing the stereo enhancement within the trash module, especially on a single band to provide another separation method in the mix.

With so much scope for user editing and the convolution module, Trash 2 pulls away from other more guitar-based distortion effects to offer a whole lot more. It can turn uninspiring audio into something exciting, rich, and energetic. Alternatively, it can lift small details and bring that ‘wow factor’ out of a busy mix.