Plug-ins To Make Your Music Sound More Vintage

Post date:

Mon, 07/29/2019 - 07:35

Author:

Naomi Bolton

Ask any vintage synthesizer owner why they love their gear so much and you'll be sure to get a lot of different answers. However, usually what it boils down to is the imperfections and quirks in the sound that give it that unique sound. Many people also don't notice the changes that are caused by using analog gear, but can instantly hear the difference if these processes are absent. In the past, effects such as tape saturation, harmonic distortion and even the effect of vacuum tubes were taken for granted, but as music shifted towards using digital processing, these effects began to vanish. While it is still possible to recreate these sounds using the original vintage hardware, it can become a costly endeavor due to the price and rarity of some gear. However, there are also software solutions available that can add a little vintage magic to your mixes without costing an arm and a leg. For purists, nothing will ever beat the real thing, but if using real vintage gear is not an option, then check out some of the following software.

e-phonic TapeDelay

Description: A simple tape delay effect that allows you to recreate that specific tape delay sound

Price: Free

e-phonic TapeDelay

e-phonic TapeDelay, which is currently on version 0.2, is a simple plug-in to add accurate tape delay emulation to your mixes. It features Midi-CC and VST automation support, smooth tape-like delay time changes and up to one second delay. The software is free to use, so try it out if you fondly remember the days when producers and engineers made use of tape machines to create delay and echo effects. A commercial plugin by Audiothing is also available and it draws inspiration from a vintage tape encoder. It is called the Type A Vintage Enhancer and, while it is not free, you can try out a demo version that has some limitations.

iZOTOPE Vinyl

Description: Simulates the dust, scratches, warp and mechanical noises of vinyl.

Price: Free (with sign-up)

iZOTOPE Vinyl

Some people love the high fidelity of digital music, while others can't get enough of the vinyl sounds of yesteryear. If you are one of the latter, then try out the Vinyl plug-in from iZOTOPE. It gives you control over individual vinyl characteristics, such as noise, warble, crackling, saturation and more. Vinyl basically gives you all of the lo-fi sounds that you want to hear, without introducing any of the ones that you want to avoid. The plug-in is free to download, all you need to do is sign-up on the website and they will send you the serial key. Other vinyl options include Milli Vinylli (http://www.vst4free.com/free_vst.php?id=527) by Klanglabs, which is free, or Vinyl Strip (https://www.audiothing.net/effects/vinyl-strip/) if you are willing to pay. Another commercial alternative is the Abbey Road Vinyl plugin (https://www.waves.com/plugins/abbey-road-vinyl#presenting-the-abbey-road-vinyl-plugin), which is based on the famous Abbey Road Studios' vinyl cutting and playback gear.

MeldaProduction MEqualizer

Description: MEqualizer is a easy-to-use 6-band equalizer that can simulate a vintage tone.

Price: Free

MeldaProduction MEqualizer

MEqualizer is a 6-band equalizer that has a host of features, including 7 filter types for each band, harmonics control and integrated tube saturation. It also has a very customizable user interface and allows you to pick between knobs, sliders, or buttons, depending on what your preferences are. The feature of MEqualizer that will be of most interest to vintage analog fans is the integrated tube saturation simulator. MEqualizer is part of the MeldaProduction MFreeFXBundle, so you can try it out without having to spend a penny.

Valhalla VintageVerb

Description: Valhalla VintageVerb is a reverb plugin that is inspired by classic hardware digital reverbs.

Price: $50

Valhalla VintageVerb

Valhalla VintageVerb is not free, but it does have a demo version to try out before you make the purchase. This plugin is inspired by the classic hardware digital reverbs from the 1970s and 1980s and features a total of 17 different algorithms to simulate various sounds of those eras. These include everything from "Concert" hall with its huge spatial image and echo density to the highly diffuse, bright initial sound and lush chorused modulation of the "Plate" algorithm. This plugin also allows you to dial in the tone color and sonic artifacts of a specific reverb era using three color modes, so you can get the bandwidth, sample rate and modulation style just right.

Conclusion

This is just a small selection of the types of plug-ins that are available both free and commercially for anyone who want to add a vintage flavor to their synth sounds. Let us know in the comments below or on the forums what your favorite tips and tricks are for warming up your sound and injecting some vintage effects in the mix.