Cycling 74’s Hipno audio plug-in package is reasonably priced, fun to use and can yield very interesting effects. If you love to experiment and create unique and wacked out effects for your audio projects the hours will fly with Hipno.

The Cycling 74 GUI approach reminds us of an early pioneer in creative GUI design, Kai Krause. We interviewed Kai several years ago about his philosophy for his then ground breaking GUI work in Bryce. He said it was simple. As soon as the application is running the user should be able to click around and make things happen without any kind of menu structure whatsoever. His software essentially took over the desktop with almost not windows conventions in play.  Great stuff.

The Hipno plug-ins are very much like this. The user can associate colors and relative location of controls to change what the effect does. It’s that simple. It does require quite a bit of experimentation to figure out what is happening with each plug-in but soon you’re able to radically change the palette of a particular effect with minimal clicks.

We happen to enjoy simply playing with software synths and effects such as Hipno just to see what happens if we “press this and turn that.” It’s fun. We created some loops from phrases of a mix we were working on and fed it through Hipno. By the time we were done the tonality was completely different and interesting in a way we never would have created out of thin air. Hipno is very helpful in this scenario. When you just need something different and you’re not ever sure what that is. Fire it up, play with it and see what happens.

Our biggest complaint is speed. Hipno takes a while to launch. We tested it in a variety of DAW programs and would like faster load times. Also, better use of the right mouse click with tips and tricks would help the user understand how to experiment in a more efficient manner with this unconventional set of plug-ins.

If you’re used to more traditional effects with traditional names the Hipno approach may be exhausting for you. However, if you like to play and just want a set of tools that may surprise with sonic goodness Hipno is certainly worth considering. A demo is available from the website but is very irritating to use because of the gross violator noise it introduces to all playback. However, you will be able to get the gist of the product.

Visit Cycling 74 for more information about Hipno and other software plug-ins.