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Exclusive Review: BOOM Library Enrage Modular Multi-effects Plug-in



Kays Alatrakchi unearths the proverbial desert island plug-in

The biggest challenge when trying to review BOOM Library’s plugin Enrage is just how exactly to describe it. The documentation calls it as a “modular multi-effect plug-in” but there is so much more to Enrage that this definition barely scratches the surface.

I’ll give it my best shot. Enrage is a massive, multi-processing parallel matrix array environment of audio processors, generators, and modulation sources that can create anything from subtle reverbs, choruses to more pronounced effects like beat stutters and distortion, all the way to mangling the incoming signal into unrecognizable sonic mayhem.

In short, if you ever wanted an audio processor that evolves and responds to the incoming signal in intelligent and fully customizable ways, Enrage might just be what you’ve been looking for.

Enrage works as an AU/VST/AAX audio plugin compatible with most MacOS or Windows DAW applications (note that an iLok account is required). It can be configured both as an in-line audio insert, or used as a MIDI-controlled effect in conjunction with side-chained audio or its own signal generators.

Launching Enrage for the first time can seem a bit intimidating, but upon familiarizing oneself with the basic layout, the interface quickly becomes intuitive and logical.

The main window is comprised of four color-coded sections. At the top left the blue “Control” section deals primarily with the incoming signals and how they are used to trigger the various effects (both Audio or MIDI inputs can be used). To the right we find the green “Mod Sources” section, which offers a variety of modulation sources such as LFO, ADSR, Envelope Followers, Pitch Trackers, etc. with which to modulate the various audio processors or “devices” as they are referred to in Enrage.

At the bottom is the yellow “Devices” section, in turn split into three sub-sections – a list of available devices on the left, a six-by-eight matrix in the middle referred to as the “Rack” where the devices can be dragged and positioned into either a serial or parallel signal path, and a parameters section on the right where you access and fine tune the various controls for each device.

Finally, on the right side of the user interface, the “Macros” section in pink lets you configure up to six knobs that can drive any number of parameters in Enrage and that can be accessed by the host DAW automation.

The various “devices” available in Enrage spans a wide gamut of effects from standard to the exotic. A selection of over 40 effects covers everything from delays, distortion, compressors, choruses, flangers, pitch shifters, reverbs, and even a comprehensive audio analyzer.

Devices can be dragged and dropped from the right side to the central Matrix Rack and inserted into the audio chain, which flows from the top to the bottom. Up to eight Devices can be stacked vertically in a rack, and up to six racks can be set up for parallel processing, MS splits, and side-chains.

Aside from the sheer breadth of effects, what really sets Enrage apart is the ability to use any number of modulation sources to add dynamic and rhythmic motion to the effects.

The various Envelope Followers, LFOs, ADSRs, Custom Curves, and even Mathematical Formulas can be dragged and dropped to modulate just about any parameter of Enrage’s devices. The modulators can even be used to modulate each other to further create sonic complexity and depth that is unmatched by any other product in this category.

For instance, while testing Enrage on an acoustic drum groove, I started by inserting a Basic Reverb into the rack. The idea was to control the Dry/Wet mix through the track’s envelope so that the louder transients would activate the reverb, so I instanced an Env Follow in the Mod Sources section and dragged the control icon (the four green colored dots) into the modulation input of the Dry/Wet knob.

Next, I adjusted the Gain of the Env Follow so that it generated a larger amount of values, and finally I tweaked the Release to create a subtle dynamically gated reverb type of result. After that, I added a Phaser in a parallel slot and drove the Cutoff with an LFO, setting the Rate Min to around .1 Hz and the Rate Max to about 5 Hz.

Lastly I used the Env Follow to drive the Rate Mod between the two values, adding more complexity to the depth of the Phaser. A Tape Delay controls the Dry/Wet value with another LFO, and then I tightened the output signal with a finishing Compressor.

This example barely scratches the surface of what is possible to achieve with Enrage, as the possibilities truly are endless. Enrage’s workflow encourages experimentation and exploration, as hours can be spent just trying out various modulators sources on different parameters.

I found that the best way to tackle the enormous complexity of Enrage was to open up one of the more than 200 presets that Boom Library provides, using them as a starting point for further customization and as a way to ‘reverse-engineer’ some of the more novel uses of Enrage that the developers have devised.

This brings me to the only downside: the fairly basic documentation and lack of in-depth tutorials. The short tutorials are useful as a starting point, but a product as complex as Enrage deserves lengthier narrated walkthroughs that I hope Boom Library will consider creating in the future.

How to control Enrage with MIDI – Video

Enrage is definitely a top contender for a ‘stranded-on-a-desert-island-with-only-one-plugin’ scenario.

Its versatility and variety of effects should address the wildest sonic ambitions of musicians and engineers. Most importantly, Enrage sounded great on everything I tried it on – drums, vocals, guitars, synths, etc. I haven’t even touched on the usefulness of Enrage for sound design and sound effects, but this plug-in will find plenty of uses in audio post production.

After spending almost a month with this plug-in, I am still discovering new things about it every time I use it, as the amount of possibilities seems truly endless.

Enrage provides a unique and novel approach to processing audio that is truly game-changing.  I would encourage anyone interested to take advantage of the 7-day free trial that Boom Library provides and see for themselves what the excitement is all about. 

Windows 8 (64-bit), 8 GB Ram, Intel® CoreTM i5 macOS 10.11, 8 GB Ram, Intel® CoreTM i5Works with the most common audio host software apps that support VST 2.4 and VST 3, AU or AAX plug ins.iLok account required – Machine License activation and USB Dongle.$349.00

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