Software: it looks bland. It often sounds the same. Then there are the gems, like Ohm Force’s incredibly tasty line of plug-ins. Their delay plug-in Ohmboyz really isn’t over-hyped when they call it “the best delay money can afford,” as it’s almost frighteningly deep, with wild special effects and dirty-sounding vintage-style possibilities.

And those wacky interfaces aren’t incidental, either. Dave Cronin of San Francisco design firm/consultants Cooper just posted a great blog entry on “whimsical interaction design.” He says he’s been pondering whimsy in design, pointing to the playful music app Bloom, but also humor by industrial designers Droog, wacky Google cartoons, and, yes, Ohm:

In many cases, it seems that playfulness in interface design is not just for laughs but also help users tap into a different part of themselves than the strictly rational mind. OhmForce, a bunch of slightly crazed French audio software whizzes provide “funky” skins for their products that feel designed to help users think a bit more like Lee Scratch Perry, and little less like Bill Gates.

OhmBoyz does so much, indeed, that you might need to tap a bit of that irrational part of your mind just to use it successfully. Oliver has a great screencast for wire to the ear.


Ohm Force OhmBoyz from wiretotheear on Vimeo.

And that’s just one of many wonderful Ohm creations. If you want to invest in some new Ohm goodness, ProToolerBlog is doing a group buy. The idea is, the more customers commit to buying, the more the price goes down. The discount is up to 35% off already and should hit as much as 50%. (In fact, sign up now and you automatically get that 50%; see comments.) Details and specifics here. Let us know if you’re feeling the Ohm love, and if there are any others you’d want to see in a screencast. (how about “synth grain” plug Symptohm?)

Strange Ohm group buy interactive widget thing, showing discount

What it is, how it works, which plug-ins you can choose and other details

Ohm Force Site (get ready for lots of wacky Flash; sorry)

  • http://www.protoolerblog.com stiff

    Thanks for posting this :)

    I'd like to add that while it's "only" up to 35% right now, we're running a "Happy first week", meaning that anyone subscribing the first week gains two levels. So people who have already signed up (or sign up during this week) are actually already at the full 50% discount.

  • Downpressor

    Interesting, will check the sounds/demo.

    Minor complaints:

    1) no direct links to the thing itself in this article, took a while of me digging on the Ohm site to find info on this plugin. To save folks time: it comes in all major flavors (VST/AU/RTAS) and the single prices are either 79 or 99 Euros (before discount?)

    2) anyone else be forewarned that the ohm site is a monstrosity which does not seem to offer any way to navigate w/o loading up a small pile of CPU gobbling flash objects. (obviously not a CDM issue)

  • SiUnit

    Everybody loves a cool GUI and it can often be a significant factor in choosing a plug-in. The issue I have is when these 'funky' skins reduce the functionality. With these Ohm Force effects, I ran my setup [Logic 8] with the standard skin and found them perfectly usable, clear and well laid out. Upon reinstalling OSX and Logic a few months ago I thought I would give the funky skins a spin. Now I never use them! The presets don't work in Logic, they did with the boring skins, plus none of the buttons are labeled properly.

    Look at Audio Damage, their plugs have interesting GUI's, granted not as 'extreme' or 'urban' or 'insert other buzzword here' as the Ohm Force guys, but its form is tied to its function. They are part of the same process, the interface reflects the effects parameters in a clear and undeniably cool fashion, giving more precise results quicker.

    The Ohm Force effects went from being used everyday to sitting behind my Audio Damage and D16 in the dark, dusty corner of my plug-in folder.

    End rant.

  • flip

    I've been using plugs by this company for ages on TV, film and personal compositions. Absolutely in my all-time top 10 plugs. I'd say Fromage (currently free) is probably one of the coolest filter/distortion effects I've ever used.

    @Downpressor: Get off my lawn!! Geesh, Mr. Cranky. Their site isn't THAT bad.

    @SiUnit: Never had the problem you mentioned, even though I used Logic 8 too. I dig the Audio Damage plugs as well.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    I'm not suggesting Ohm's plug-in skins are the be-all, end-all of interface design — on the contrary, I expect they'll annoy some people! But I found the story above musing on whimsy in design to be interesting. There are lots of ways to go about that. I love minimal design, too. It just suggests you have some choices, and those choices affect how you feel.

    I'll put it this way: I don't think fake hardware-style knobs are necessarily any *more* serious than those cartoon characters above.

    But that's a huge bummer that the plug-ins then stopped working … no solution occurs immediately. It's really odd that they'd impact any presets; that shouldn't be the case.

  • Downpressor

    @flip: heres a little idea, if you want to sell me something, make it easy for me to figure out what you are selling me and how to buy it. For me the ohm site failed on both counts. YMMV. I do however agree that Fromage is a neat plugin which demonstrates the quality work Ohm is capable of even though I dont use it very much.

    @SiUnit: Audio Damage makes such good stuff at such reasonable prices (with a very easy to use website and friendly sales policies too) that its hard not to compare other vendors to them. This here delay would have to polish my shoes and clean my cat box to justify the extra effort and price required to compare to my AD plugs.

    @PeterKim: My only issue with fancy skins is when it becomes an issue with screen real estate and lately thats become more of an issue. A factor for whether I buy this one would be "can I turn off the fancy skin?".

  • http://axiom-crux.net axiom-crux

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnK3m7CWUoo

    check out that tutorial video, its pretty funny.

  • http://das.blogsport.de Der Weihnachtsohm

    We at digital audio service are running a fun new Ohmforce competition this christmas – you can find it here:

    Ohmforce-Contest

    Its about making your very own X-Mas track using at least one Ohmforce-plugin. The crazier the better!

    The site is in german, so if google translate leaves any questions, just use the comments.

    Yours,

    Der Weihnachtsohm