What do modulator plugins do?
Modulation usually refers to change. This could of course be changes in terms of the key of a song but mostly, when it comes to music production, it refers to changes in the sound such as volume, frequency or tone, panning and resonance.
Modulator plugins allow you to morph and evolve a sound over time, This can create interest and movement in your tracks which keeps the listener involved.
One could of course include tremolo and vibrato under modulator plugins. Technically flangers, chorus and phaser plugins modulate your audio too. The reasons these are listed separately in this list of types of audio plugins is because they're classic modulators in their own right with more specific functions.
Newer modulator plugins can in many cases re-create the classic tremolo or other modulators mentioned above. They can however do so much more.
From simple trance gates to dubstep style growls and wobbles to formant shifting and structural morphing, modulator plugins are a definite source of fun any producer should explore.
When and where can modulator plugins be used?
Modulator plugins tend to work best on individual instruments and maybe even group tracks. It's unlikely that you'd use these types of audio plugins on your entire mix.
Any instrument can be modulated to produce new never-before-used-or-heard sounds to delight and enthrall your listeners with. This is one type of audio plugin where experimentation is a must.
Examples of popular modulator plugins:
- MWobbler by MeldaProduction
- MORPH 2 by Zynaptiq
- MMorph by MeldaProduction
- LFO Tool by Xfer Records