Review: Lunacy Audio CUBE

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Review: Lunacy Audio CUBE

lunacy audio cube
Words by Sam McNiece

Lunacy Audio | Enquire for pricing

Every once in a while, a plugin releases that unlocks an extra layer of control you didn’t know you needed until that very moment. Lunacy Audio’s offering CUBE, may well be that plugin for you, as an intuitive sampler which enables you to blend between eight audio samples by creating your own or using pre-made orbits through its virtual cube, with each sample occupying a corner.

The visualisation aspect makes this plugin stand out in a big way, it obscures but also enlightens how you are interacting with your samples. In a nutshell, CUBE allows you to add eight audio samples, give each of them their own ADSR, filter, saturation (colour), volume, stereo width, loop, arpeggiator (!), and tuning settings alongside the ability to reverse and pan them, put these sounds on one of eight corners of a cube and then set orbits to move a virtual orb throughout this cube which determines the volume of each respective corner. What a mouthful. That’s not all, you can add eight serial independent FX units and tweak global modulation settings to fine-tune your sound to perfection.

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This might make you think that the user interface is cluttered and confusing but it’s actually the opposite. The plugin has five tabs which are labelled sounds, orbits, main, mod, and effects, all leading you to a section that is exactly that. Everything is well laid out and simple to navigate. The sounds page for example shows you the eight samples you can add plus settings for the selected one. When clicking on a corner of the cube displayed in this menu, additional functions are revealed which are more specific, whereas the global panel has more generalised settings.

While there are a lot of parameters to tweak, you definitely don’t need to utilise all of them to create something pleasing. I found that just adding samples, adjusting looping settings and the global ADSR and FX more than satisfied my ears as that allowed me to utilise the unique orbit function. There are plenty of pre-made orbits on offer here and each will twist and blend your samples differently, but the most fun I had was creating my own orbits and making the orb ping around my screen faster than my computer could visualise.

The global setting ether is an interesting one in that it activates a secret hidden layer of the preset samples with increased intensity (less dynamics). This slider enables you to go from a more dynamic sound to a compressed one without touching a compressor, it’s cool and fun to play with just by judging the sound output.

Perhaps the best use of this plugin is to create ambient, evolving sounds that will hold interest for a large amount of time. You can set up eight audio samples and create an orbit to fade between them slowly with every combination creating a new texture, especially when you utilise the loop, ADSR, and arpeggiators for each channel.

CUBE comes packed with samples for you to use from the get go which are all quite usable but as someone who likes to make things my own, I added my own samples which really elevated my experience with the plugin. Drone samples, loops, and single shot drums all worked seamlessly and provided different results, especially when using them all at the same time.

If you’d prefer to use their sample library and presets (for which there are plenty) you can choose to purchase one of the many expansion packs to add ready-to-play presets and a range of audio samples as well.

Once I learned how this plugin worked I had the most fun fiddling around with the randomise parameter buttons. Using them to generate new patches was an effortless and instant way to create a new sound palate with varying results. For instance, randomising the orbit of a patch can make something ethereal transform into a bouncy and frenzied sound and vice versa.

The modulation matrix within CUBE is dense and customisable like other modern synths. The modulation targets can be anything from global parameters like filters and FX settings to more precise and specific ones like one particular sample’s start position. There are four customisable LFOs which can be drawn in to create custom shapes or utilise classic sine, triangle, saw, and square waves to modulate parameters alongside the main macro knob accessible from the main page. With 16 modulation slots, you won’t run out of things to tweak anytime soon.

Taking cues from other digital synths and multi samplers, CUBE has eight built-in FX that run in serial from left to right. They can all be switched on and off with ease and allow you to wildly shape your sound. The FX are a filter, EQ, distortion, dynamics (compression), chorus, delay, reverb, and a limiter. These are all fully functioning, featuring a parametric EQ and multiple distortion modes, there is an endless amount of sounds to create with this plugin.

Now that you have a sound you like, a fantastic feature of the plugin is eco mode, which allows the plugin to function minus the cube visualiser to save on precious CPU headroom. 

The creative capabilities are almost endless in this plugin giving you control over almost too many parameters. Something I created which took no time at all sounded like a side chain effect on a drum beat. I set a quarter-bar loop on both a kick drum sample and a separate snare sample, created an orbit that turns on the snare every half bar and then made the orbit oscillate between the drum side of the cube and another side that contained synth samples, it’s a more powerful multisampler than I thought it could be.

All in all, Lunacy Audio’s CUBE plugin can transform simple source audio into dense, varied, and intricate sounds with relative ease. There are a wide array of settings to tweak which allows for specific fine tuning of sounds for the advanced plugin enthusiast which pairs extremely well with the fantastically laid out plugin design and unique orb functionality. The visualiser allows you to plainly and simply see how you’re interacting with the cube and I can’t wait to see what wacky and cool sounds I can conjure from this magical plugin.

Head to Lunacy Audio for more information on CUBE.