The Blue Cat Audio Destructor is a uniquely designed multi-amp suite. I will admit, it was not an easy product to review. It was an incredibly fun plugin to test but explaining the plugin in a simple way that does it justice is another story. I spent a ton of time with Destructor and Axiom because both plugins involve a bit of a learning curve.
Blue Cat Audio’s plugins are generally aimed at the people that want a little more control of their sounds. The editing and customizing options inside Destructor are on another level. I want to say that Destructor is more of a plugin you need to use to understand but I will try my best to lay it out. I went into this plugin blind and it took some time to get to know the plugin but the extra time spent was worth it.
I have seen a lot of reviews for this product and most of them get really technical and in depth so those reviews are out there if you’d like to seek them out. We always try to maintain relative simplicity in our reviews so that’s what I will try to do.
The graphics are well done. The layout and general workflow is pretty solid once you know your arm from your left foot with the plugin. Blue Cat always do everything they can to promote ease of use, even within innovative plugins like Destructor. They are more than aware that their plugins are a little different and their terrific customer service are great at answering questions.
Basically, it was designed to give the user the ability to create quite literally any distorted tone imaginable. It does this by providing what seems like an infinite amount of possible gear combinations. It’s basically all done with three components. I will break them down.
The first slot going top to bottom is like your preamp. It’s here where you choose the signal you want to distort. The selection you have to work with is pretty vast and you can kind of tell what amps they are meant to represent by the looks. Each preamp has a different set of signature tone inflections that are seemingly meant to be inspired by a specific family of amps rather than one amp specifically.
The middle slot is where the user distorts. Destructor provides a line up of ways to distort the signal you created in slot one. You will obviously end up going back to your preamp tone while dialing in the distortion section but that’s one of the great things about the plugin if you are a gearhead. The constant turning of knobs. Am I right?
The post filter is like your impulse loader. You can pick from a huge selection of options here but for those that really like to get in depth, this feature has all sorts of filters and tone shaping options that offer a really unique experience. In a nutshell, this is where you filter the signal you created in the first two sections. If you’d like to use your own impulses, it’s easy to bypass and lock out the post filter section. The lock ensures that the component stays bypassed when switching presets. It would be cool if Blue Cat added an option to use the third component to load your own impulses.
The impulses and post filter options included are very solid, take your time and really go through all the options available. When you want to try your own impulses, you can either use the post filter section to load them or bypass the post filter in favor of your own loader. I tried both methods with a lot of success. Use your judgement for what cabs generally suit what uses and it won’t be hard to find a lot of great matches for any genre or use.
Destructor is extremely handy for literally any tone you could ever want. The name might suggest it’s just going to be hi-gain but that couldn’t be further from the truth. From crystal cleans to the most punishing yet articulate hi-gain you could ask for. I didn’t strike out once while chasing tones with Destructor so I can vouch for it’s extreme versatility. Even vintage and more organic tones are easy to come by after you study the presets a bit.
Destructor sounds really great boosted but you will want to mind your mids. The best results came with the TSE 808, AXP Charbooster and Kuassa’s Efektor OD plugins. Watch how much bite you are adding, it’s easy to dial in the pedal with the different components if you take your time. Destructor is all about tweaking and you will get to do plenty of it.
The dump truck full of presets you get with Destructor are a valuable educational tool. Try them all, try editing them all and make note of the ones you like. With any plugin, presets are handy but with a unique system like this, presets aren’t just nice tones, they are a way to learn what the various components bring to the table and how to use them.
Destructor comes with a noise gate and compressor in the pre-FX section. There’s no visible bypass for either but to do so, simply turn the ratio controls all the way down. BCA are constantly updating their products so we could see a bypass for both at some point.
Destructor also provides a wealth of really usable high quality bass tones while also giving you the tools to build your own great bass presets. From warm and resonant to Lemmy’s murder one, this plugin has terrific bass capabilities. I was able to create some really fat bass tones for rock, grindcore, funk, punk, metal and so on.
UPS / DOWNS:
There simply is no other plugin on the market today that gives you the ability to create and customize tones the way Destructor and Axiom do. I mention Axiom because it’s a full amp suite from Blue Cat designed around Destructor as it’s heart and soul.
There is a learning curve involved when you walk into this plugin blind. Do your research, watch videos and just make sure you know how the components work together. Learn how to use this plugin before you pass your judgement.
See more – Official Destructor overview and a walkthrough by Leon Todd