Like its Analogue Modelling brother, the VE|Suite (Vintage Effects) tips its hat very much in the direction of classic studio gear and contains chorus/flanger, delay and filter plug-ins. These are all VST versions of effects that were originally (and still are) available as part of the Samplitude/Sequoia packages.
The chorus/flanger goes by the name of Corvex and also manages to conjure up interesting reverb-type effects. Ecox, meanwhile, is a modulated echo/delay that’s designed to distort in a tape-like way. Finally, there’s Filtox, a stereo multimode filter with modulation that - according to Magix - sounds distinctly ‘undigital’.
On paper, the VE|Suite looks decidedly unglamorous. The fact is that most sequencers come with versions of all of its effects as standard, so the big question is: can Magix’s suite bring anything new to your studio? What’s more, you have to ask what it is that makes them so deserving of the ‘vintage’ tag, and whether they live up to it.
Inside the box you’ll find a CD with the software on it and a printed manual. Once installed, the effects are activated online using a serial number. It’s all a very straightforward process, and you can do it entirely from within the software itself.
Once running, each plug-in has a very similar feel. Unlike in the AM|Suite, what you see is what you get: there are no hidden ‘expert’ functions. Global controls for preset management remain the same throughout and are easy to use.
Let’s take a closer look at the three plug-ins, then, starting with Corvex. This consists of multiple delay lines and globally selectable modulation/filtering, and is split into three simple sections.
The Delay section has four controls: Time sets the basic delay time from 1-200ms, while Voices determines the number of simultaneous delay lines being used (from two to eight). The more there are, the fuller the effect. Span dictates how much each of these delays differ from one another - creating ‘thickness’ - while Modulation determines the effect of the LFO on the delay time.
Said Modulation section simply comprises one LFO with a Speed knob (0.1-15Hz). This can be switched between the common sine, square and random wave shapes, though there’s no triangle wave. The Sync button snaps the speed to the song tempo.
The Tone section starts with low- and high-pass filtering - next up is the Feedback control (essential for decent flanging effects). Diffusion softens each repeat when using the Feedback control, while the Complex button throws some chaos into the process, enabling the plug-in to step into reverb territory. There’s no definitive explanation as to what this control does in the manual, so we recommend that you experiment with it (there’s certainly fun to be had). Stereo width does exactly what it says - each parameter has an associated control for LFO modulation depth.
Next we come to Ecox. Here, independent left and right delay lines pass to an adjustable feedback block. Each delay line can be modulated by the LFO and synced to the song tempo.
The more interesting stuff happens in the Feedback Path section. Each repeat of the delay passes through a high- and low-pass filter and then on to the Drive section for some warm sounding distortion. All the other controls are similar to those in Cortex.
The third and only non-delay-based effect is Filtox, a modulated multimode filter (for more on this, see the Mmm, multimode! boxout). Filtox’s controls are covered in the annotated screenshot on the facing page.
The VE|Suite is certainly very easy to use and offers a more sophisticated sound than your standard chorus, delay and filter effects. However, this sophistication doesn’t extend to detailed editing - there are better choices out there if you want deep control. What’s more - and as with the AM|Suite - the small fonts that are used for parameter labelling are something of an annoyance and the manual isn’t as readable as it might have been.
While it would have been tempting for Magix to release a single, ‘do it all’ plug-in, we feel that they’ve done the right thing by keeping each effect separate. There’s a lot to be said for having individual tools that each do one job well, and Corvex, Ecox and Filtox are more than fit for their purposes. That said, we feel that this bundle would be more complete if a vintage phasing effect were to be included - Phox, anyone?
VE|Suite is another decent set of plug-ins from Magix, though the fact that it covers well-trodden ground means that it can hardly be considered a must-have. If your current chorus, flanger, delay and filter plug-ins are letting you down, though, it’s certainly worth a look.