Sphene Pro from Product Designer’s perspective
We bring you the story behind our Sphene Pro plug-in, as seen by its creator - our Senior Product Manager, Jarek.
I have been distorting bass instruments in my metal productions since 2010. I love experimenting when mixing, blending tone layers, and seeking out new colors. And as a result, my metal bass mixing chain goes crazier every single year. I was dreaming about a modern hi-gain bass distortion plugin for a couple of years. I wanted to simplify my mixing projects a little bit, and I also wanted to store some of my experiences into a plugin and share it with the world.
And now, finally, I'm proud to announce the first of my bass pedal plugins - Audified Sphene Pro.
I love pedals. And we all do in Audified - do you remember our DSound Stomp´s FX back in 2000? So I have decided to pack my very best high-gain bass tones into the familiar pedal-like interface. Under the hyperrealistic 3D model, there is also a utility panel below. The panel is portrayed in streamlined and effective flat design, so Sphene has the best of both worlds when it comes to graphic design, exactly how I like it. Sphene has no complicated controls, no spectrum analyzers, no Multi-Band processing, so no learning-curve before the tweaking is needed. Just twist the knobs as you usually do with your pedals and discover the whole new tonal universe.
When I was working on Sphene’s sound design, my goal was to make it sound really big, aggressive, raw, and dynamic. I didn’t want to make it sound mix-ready too much, because the more the tones are mix-ready, the more they are sterile and flat, instead of aggressive. There are about 10.000 compressors available on the market and bass compression is such a personal thing anyway. That’s why I have decided not to include any compressor circuit into Sphene. For great bass guitar compression, I recommend our U73b compressor or ToneSpot Bass Pro.
When I was designing Amp and Cabinet models, my goal was to get an incredible palette of 25 unique color combinations ranging from extremely bright to extremely fat and everything in between. Of course, there is way more going on when it comes to the differences between different Sphene’s amp models.
ToneSpot knob is a very special one for me. I wanted to get an extremely wide tonal range that will fit any bass guitar instrument. ToneSpot knob can even transform a vintage sounding instrument into a fire-breathing beast. Alternatively, ToneSpot knob can add a lot of fullness into a thin and weak sounding bass guitar. I am bored with those classic amp tone stack knobs. The effectiveness of those knobs is very poor. Very often I end up reamping the bass recording through my real tube amps with all the same settings and then I shape my tones with my ToneSpot plug-ins in my DAW. That is why there is a ToneSpot knob on Sphene, but no traditional EQ or tone knobs.
Boost function may seem unnecessary since all the Amp models and their Gain ranges are strictly focused on the hi-gain territory. But since the Boost is not a simple level boost, it truly expands Sphene’s tonal flexibility. The Boost switch engages my favorite overdrive pedal circuit which makes the tone even more aggressive because of its actual signal push, and it also makes the tone more mid-range focused and tight at the same time. Even if you are not looking for an extremely high-gain tone, feel free to lower the Gain to a minimum, and activate the Boost. You will find yet another dimension of Sphene’s tonal secrets.