Review: Aparillo from Sugar Bytes

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We love plugins. You know this. But sometimes a plugin comes along that really turns us on in ways we had not expected. Gotta say… Aparillo, the new synth from Sugar Bytes, is really doing it for us. Let us tell you more… 

Not of this World

Aparillo looks and sounds like some kind of advanced alien technology. The interface is a cross between a synth, a spacecraft control panel and a really confusing puzzle. And it feels like a bit of a puzzle when it comes to working out just how to use it.

So what actually is it?

In the words of the manual:

“Aparillo is based on two interacting FM Synthesizers, capable of forming the most complex timbres. The signal generator has been enriched with fine DSP spices like Jitter, Brightness and Formant/Waveshaping, followed by a free-signalflow Filter/Spacial Comb device, flowing into a polyphonic Auto Pan, the obligatory Delay and our finest Reverb algorithm yet.”

If you know about FM synthesis the you know that this is already pretty complicated… Aparillo adds further layers of complexity which result in incredibly rich, organic, variable and unpredictable sounds across a huge range of styles from basses to brasses, pads to leads, percussion to evolving soundscapes.

Nuke it from Orbit

All of the various parameters of the synthesis and effects can be controlled from the Orbit screen. This is the part that looks like some kind of alien logic puzzle. Every parameter is represented by an animated, coloured symbol that can be placed anywhere in the ‘Cosmos’ and can have it’s values adjusted by right clicking to get a pop-up full of dials. The red ‘Orbiter’ object can be moved around the Cosmos and will interact with parameter objects, controlling their x and y values, when it is within their radius.

If that sounds complex, that’s because it is. But Aparillo’s complexity is what results in some really mind-blowing sounds that can be manipulated in the strangest ways via the orbiter interface. It’s not the kind of synth that you have a plan with… it’s the kind of synth you explore and allow to surprise you.

According to Google Translate, the word Aparillo translated into English is… Aparillo.

And Back Down to Earth

All this wonderful weirdness is all well and good… and fun… so much fun… But there are plenty of more sensible, practical uses for Aparillo. Yes it can make forever-evolving and unpredictable nightmare soundscapes. But it can also make some really awesome sounding playable instruments. There’s a set of over 500 presets covering categories such as bass, bells, brass, keys and leads and they all have that special Aparillo flavour that makes them pretty unique. We’re particularly fond of the Reece basses and will definitely be featuring them in some tracks!

Aparillo is available for Mac and PC as AAX, AU, VST3 and a standalone application. 

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