There aren’t much delay plugins which really impressed in the last years, so I mostly used Waves H-Delay. I mean, a delay plugin is not that spectacular, right?! Nevertheless delays play an important role in my session. Then, back in August, Paris based Plugin company UVI released a new delay which really had my attention: Relayer. A delay which looks like a spaceship cockpit! So maybe this was the point I had to change my opinion about delays?
When someone talked about UVI so far, I mostly thought of their “Workstation”. But when I tested some reverbs last year, I noticed that they’re also producing nice studio effects…
Usual delays create a feedback by feeding a part of the original signal back to the input. So a very static and predictable repetition is created. Relayer is a multi-tap delay, which means that the repeats are treated as taps. The number of taps are changeable and each of them can be modified in different parameters. This gives you precise control about the decay, which can end up in really interesting effects. But at the same time this entails a pretty complex interface and when I first opened the plugin it took some time to get through.
Let’s first have a look on different options, so you get an idea what you can do with Relayer.
When opening the plugin, it will look like that –
On the right and left you will find some knobs, you should know from other delays. I’m sure most of you know how a delay works, but let me give you some basic information about the settings, though.
- Time – defines a global time between repeats.
- Repeats – defines the number of taps/reapeats. Settings between 1 and 32 taps
- Feedback – after all repeats are playbacked, the output is sent to the input again with lowered levels. So this knob sets up the levels of the feedback and defines how long the delay will appear after the repeats.
- Sync – switch between defined values, oriented to host tempo, or free values.
- Input Gate – while activated the gate only let’s audio pass through if button is pressed.
- Modulation – pitch LFO
- I/O – In- + Out Meter
- Wet – level of the processed signal. “S” Button sets it to full wet without Dry Signal
- Dry – defines level of the unprocessed signal.
- Color Section – adds impulse response to color the delay. E.g. Rooms, Special Effects and amps/speakers. With mix slider, amount of coloration is set.
- Master Filter – Lo- and HighCut which affect the whole signal.
Let’s get to the mid section, where the magic happens. Here you are able to modulate the signal over time. Six tabs at the top let you switch between modulation windows. A display at the bottom displays how the settings will affect the signal. The modulation options are:
- Time – set up a multiplicator for the single repeats, which vary from the global setting above. Additionally you can add a swing value
- Gain – set up gain of each repeat
- Pan – set up a panorama value for each repeat
- FX – choose from a bunch of FX to add them to the repeats. Each effect can be modified and differently assigned to each repeat.
- Feedback – modifiy feedback signal, e.g. add drive and filter and assign from tap the pattern is feedbacked.
Note that each modulation tab can be fastly transformed with a preset/transform buttons to the left.
Relayer is a very complex delay compared to others and that’s what it makes so characteristic. By modulating the repeats it is possible to create endless variations of patterns, which comes up in very interesting effects. I really like the possibility to add an impulse response. This means you can add character to your delay and even use it as a reverb!
For Imaging I really recommend to find yourself and a nice preset. Relayer comes with a good amount of them, which should benefit your needs. And once you tweaked the presets,your own settings are super easy to access.
In terms of usage it is a small button which really kills it: Input Gate. The Button is not just automatable, you can even trigger it by MIDI. This means that there is no need for additional delay track or send effects. Let’s imagine I want to delay a single word or letter. There is no need to cut it or doing send automations. Just drop Relayer on the track and trigger it by pressing a button on our MIDI Keyboard, or create a on/off automation if you don’t have one. That’s it. I’m sure this is one of the fastest and easiest way to set it up.
It is also possible to create stutter like FX pattern for music. In this example I’ve used two different filters which are automated in opposite directions:
Additionally I like to use it as a chorus effect: bring down the time parameter to ~15ms, no feedback, enabled modulation and a couple of repeats. In combination with tap modulation, this gives a never heard extra to your VO.
At the other hand this complexity needs to be calculated. So with a very basic setting you can expect around 3 times more cpu usage than for example H-Delay needs. It’s still not that much – around 6% – but when using several instances and more complex settings this stacks up upto cpu overload. So don’t overdo it – this concerns the cpu usage and the complexity of the sound itself. I also thought that modulating the pitch per tap would also be a nice option I would love to use.
All in all Relayer will help to add a sense of depth to the whole project while its name is program: adding extra layers.