Plugin Review: iZotope Trash 2

Today’s audio processors tend to fall into two broad categories: Those that try to recreate the past, and those that tire of it. iZotope’s new Trash 2 plugin falls squarely in that second camp.

iZotope released the original Trash plugin in back in 2003, and it was marketed as a multi-band distortion unit.

The new version, nearly 10 years in the making, is less an update, and more a complete overhaul based on that same general theme of complete audio annihilation.

What It Does

Trash 2 is a multi-purpose sonic mangler, comprised of more than a half-dozen individual audio processors.

Rather than mimic a single piece of equipment, this plugin is an entire toolbox that would require at least a 3-foot-high rack of outboard gear if you wanted to even begin to replicate it in the physical world.

It can easily overdrive, pulverize, or otherwise radically re-morph your sounds. But used judiciously, and with help from a master wet/dry control, Trash 2 can also act as a subtle enhancer.

How it Does It

Although it’s marketed as sound distortion software, it’s hard to say which effect truly lies at the heart of this plugin, since each processing stage is so flexible and fully-realized.

Trash 2 consists of six discrete modules: Distortion (named “Trash”), Impulse Response Filters (called “Convolve”), Delay, Dynamics, and two separate Filters.

They can be placed in any order you desire, and then individually solo’d, muted, or combined.

The “Trash” Module

Trash 2 features more than 60 custom distortion algorithms that mimic everything from tape, tubes and fuzzboxes to AM breakup and the satisfying bit-smashing of a Nintendo Gameboy.

The “Trash” Module

As with each processor that makes up Trash 2, the distortion module is almost endlessly customizable.

It offers the option to click and drag in order to create your own personal non-linearities, or to even assign different types of overdrive to each frequency band.

If you were so inclined, you might give your low end a little bit of subtle tube grit, while your high-end gets some tape-like saturation and your midrange is pulverized into smithereens of granular white noise.

Alternately, you could choose to saturate only a single band, for instance the high-end, effectively turning the Trash section into an aural exciter.

The “Convolve” module

The other uncommon component in Trash 2 is the “Convolve” section. It is a convolution or “impulse response” filter – the very same type of processing employed by many of today’s best software reverbs.

In order to lighten the CPU load (and to focus on what Trash does best) this plugin is loaded up with very short impulse responses that radically reshape tone rather than add long reverb tails.

The library comes packed with more than 100 IRs, dominated by things like guitar speakers, snare drums, wooden cabinets, and everyday household objects. There’s even a whole section of impulse responses culled from human vowel sounds and animal noises.

Ever wonder what that bass guitar would sound like re-interpreted through the snorts of a pig? Neither have I, but now we can find out.

It’s also worth noting that you can load your own samples, or even increase the maximum sample time of this section (provided you’re not too worried about CPU load) turning Trash into a convolution reverb unit on steroids.

The “Filter” Modules

Trash has two separate filter modules.

They are identical, and by default they appear both directly before and after the distortion module. Of course, you can move them anywhere in the chain that you like, or even arrange them in parallel rather than in series, if you prefer.

For me, this was among the most powerful and the most fun parts of Trash 2. I’d even say that you could just as easily call this “a filter plugin”.

Trash 2 Filter Module

Each of Trash’s filters offer six bands. Each of the bands can be assigned a filter curve from a list of more than 20 varieties.

You could, for instance, combine the low-pass filter of a vintage synthesizer with the low-shelf curve of a Pultec, and then add a midrange boost with one of the cleanest-sounding peaking filters you’re likely to hear.

The filter types are organized under names like “vintage”, “screaming” “clean”, and “saturated”, not one of which is misleading. There are even a couple of “vocal” filters than can give vowel-like tone and texture to your sounds

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  • mixingforindies

    Tanks Justin for letting us know about that what seems a really cool plug!
    I have to check this.