Cycling ’74 has released a new collection of plug-ins I’ve been eagerly anticipating, developed by a team from Electrotap. These aren’t your run-of-the-mill audio effects and virtual instrument: think spectral and granular sound, wild filter/delay stuff, morphing color-palette interfaces, and input from gamepads and webcams:

Cycling ’74 Hipno “Subversive” Plug-in Collection


US$199 for a whole mess of plug-ins; works with everything. (Mac RTAS/VST/AU, Windows RTAS/VST.) More after the jump.




The challenge of developing Hipno was, with so many far-out sonic possibilities, how could you navigate different sounds to find the one you want? The main answer is the Hipnoscope, a color-palette circular orb through which you can explore different sounds and even morph through presets. (Yep, it’s MIDI-assignable.) It’s very Kai Krause-esque interface design. (Anyone here remember Kai’s Power Tools, the Photoshop plug-ins?)


Of course, here at CDM we’re always into alternative interfaces, and it’s great to see them making their way into a commercial product. Several of the plug-ins can be modulated or controlled with a webcam input, using motion tracking or motion detection. There’s even a modulator that uses a USB game pad.


The best feature by far, though, isn’t avant-garde at all. Hipno has XML import/export of presets, so you can switch hosts without losing your presets, and you can share your brilliant sound design work. The demo I saw at AES had Hipno loaded in Ableton Live 5′s new preset browser, and everything appeared perfectly sorted.


I can’t wait to get my hands on it, if nothing else because I think it’ll inspire some custom effects and instruments of my own. Speaking of which, if you’d like to try creating some of your own subversive instruments/effects, the whole set was developed in Cycling ’74 Max/MSP with the aid of Electrotap’s Tap.Tools. I usually avoid the use of a lot of externals in my Max work, but this set is great fun, and includes some terrific stuff for working with motion and webcams, along with more utilitarian objects. See also the GTK granular library.


  • Guest

    Whoa, sweet… I was just looking at the Cycling '74 site the other day, wondering when this would finally be released. $199 is a bit more than I was hoping, although it's still a pretty awesome deal — just not quite as awesome as Pluggo :grin

  • Guest

    I'm a long time Pluggo user but I'm done with them for future buys almost entirely because of the authorization scheme they've moved to. I feel for them in their battle against pirates, but that PACE/Interlok stuff is so invasive I ain't touching anything that uses it. Cycling 74, please go back to your old authorization scheme, and you'll get more of my money!

  • Guest

    Wow, too bad about Pace. For a lot (maybe the majority) of users, Pace is the unmentioned elephant in the middle of the room in computer music reviews. Not to single out CDM, but I really wish that reporters and reviewers would let us know that a product is Pace before we read about it – it's a factor in purchasing decisions on par with OS-compatability for many of us!

  • admin

    Well, probably we don't mention copy protection because a) rarely documented by the manufacturer which they're using and b) we just plain can't keep track.

    But I haven't had major issues with Pace. Cycling's tech support is great (even if I don't say I'm with the press) and can be really helpful resolving issues. Anything but a dongle, that's what I say.

    Anyway, the only copy protection scheme I actually like is serial # . . . and you can bet I'll point that out if that's the only scheme. (Cakewalk, for instance, serial only . . . Ableton has authorizations, but it's still fairly easy to handle and works well.)

  • Guest

    i have to say that i can't see exactly what's invasive about pace. i know alot of people hate it for a messy version way back in the day, and that OS 9 users in particular disliked it because it stuck crap all over their carefully-organized filesystems, but now that we're all using os x (right?), the latter shouldn't be an issue, and the former hasn't been an issue for years.