Universal Audio Galaxy Tape Echo
As 2016 draws to a close, we’ve been reflecting on the year in hi-tech music-making gear, asking you to vote for the best new hardware and software products to have been released over the past 12 months.
Now it’s time to bring you the results of our polls. We drew up the shortlists, but the rankings and overall winners in each category have been decided exclusively by your votes.
Over the next six slides we’ll be revealing what you’ve decided are the six best new creative effect plugins of 2016, counting down to your number one. We’ll start with a fresh take on an old favourite from Universal Audio...
We said: “If you’re a fan of wonky, lo-fi delay treatments, you’ll know all about the RE-201 Space Echo, which Roland released in 1973. Producing everything from psychedelic regenerating delays to subtler, softer echoes, three heads can be employed with independent delay times, with EQ, pan and reverb effects built in too. The Head Select dial chooses how many of the delays are employed at once and in what combination, before Echo Rate and Feedback dials unleash the Roland’s characteristic sound.”
We said: “Envolution is a frequency-dependent envelope shaper that can be used on individual tracks, buses and master outputs, and gives you independent control of transients and sustain. Tilt and Focus controls enable you to select where in the frequency spectrum the effect is applied, and you can fully manipulate the audio's envelope and end up with creative and extreme results.”
PSP Audioware stompDelay
We said: “At its heart, stompDelay is a tape-style delay housed in a performance-orientated 'stompbox' interface that enables and encourages real-time adjustment of the delay time (or tape playback speed). This is done either manually or via the onboard LFO – hence the prominence and size of the LFO Rate knob in the top panel, alongside the Delay Time knob itself.
“This is a near faultless, ridiculously versatile delay with a fabulous sound at a steal of a price. No matter what angle you come at it from, this is an essential plugin.”
Output Audio Movement
We said: “After hitting the usual bases of a multi-effects plugin (delay, distortion, filters, EQ, compression and reverb), Movement then puts a new spin on the processes - quite literally - modulating its parameters rhythmically in the same vein as Xfer's LFOtool or Dmitry Sches' Tantra.
“An inventive device with a firm rhythmic angle, Movement will leave your sounds fresh, vibrant and full of life.”
Native Instruments Replika XT
We said: “Native Instruments' Replika is a straightforward delay plugin, incorporating a single feedback delay (regular or ping-pong), phaser and filter modulation effects, and three Styles (Modern, Vintage Digital and Diffusion) that influence the overall sound.
“Replika XT doesn't replace Replika, but builds on its design, adding some new features and enhancing existing ones to deliver a very broad range of delay, modulation and even reverb-like effects.
“Replika XT has plenty to offer sound designers and creative producers alike. In a word, brilliant.”
Winner: Soundtoys Soundtoys 5
We said: “It's testament to the quality of Soundtoys' algorithms that even its most venerable plugins - now over a decade old - have stood the test of time, and the ten new additions make what was already an essential collection of effects for producers in all genres even more so, despite their odd idiosyncrasies and sometimes fiddly interfaces.
“We've often heard it said that it's hard to get a bad sound out of a Soundtoys plugin, and that remains very much the case with version 5 of its amazing bundle. There are 18 compelling reasons to buy Soundtoys 5, and none not to.”