Reels Lo-Fi saturation plugin by AudioThing
Reels which is a great plugin to add Lo-Fi vibes is modeled after an old Japanese portable tape recorder. This tape recorder produces a pretty audible Lo-Fi analog sound. AudioThing did send a review copy with no strings attached.
This plugin is installed on MAC or Windows to be used in your DAW. It supports VST, VST3, AU, and AAX (64bit only), see here for latest technical requirements. Before you register it you can use it in a demo mode the plug-in will output silence for 3 seconds every 45 seconds, and you won’t be able to save presets.
AudioThing, an audio plugin effect developing house, developed Reels to create a virtual tape machine software plugin that injects retro feel into your production.
When you listen to Lo-Fi tracks today they have certain characteristics where instruments within the track or the whole mix sound somehow damaged. Lovers of that sound call it “it sounds Lo-fi”. The plugin Reels emulates all the imperfections of an consumer reel-to-reel recorder.
To adjust the vibe, tone and sound of instruments or the whole track you can emulate imperfections and the connected saturation with this plugin effect.
- Harshness, harmonic distortion with loss of clarity (mid-range)
- WOW/Flutter, pitch instabilities due to recording and playback issues
- Ducking, random volume loss due to tape or rec/play head imperfections
- Crosstalk, the leak between left and right channel in a stereo signal
- Hiss, high-frequency noise caused by the magnetic particles in the tape
- Motor, mid-frequency noise caused by the reels motor
I do like the beautiful sound this plugin can generate so I went ahead and bought the sampled unit which is shipped to me currently. Using this plugin to generate the sound and vibe of a Lo-Fi sounding tape is very a compelling.
There are three distinctive tape choosing that are named after their country of origin. JP (Japan) is vintage, IT (Italy) with a limited frequency response and FR (France) for destroying your sound. A great choice of tone and vibe, but what happened to the developer in France?
User interface & Usability
AudioThing has created a excellent look and fell in their clear interface. Other vendor do play with their UI more, but I want results quick and enjoy the interface designed.
Rating: Four out of five stars
Reels allows you to generate the vibe you hear from those old tape machines. The effect creates a VERY convincing simulation of old tapes/machines – perfect for Lo-Fi productions. It sounds really good on different types of sound effects, drums, synths, and vocals.