Modeled retro dual delay with “freeze” for lo-fi pitch warped loops and delays – Mac/PC VST, AU, AAX
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- In Depth
Soundtoys software is a standard in almost every professional recording studio. The old school effects that they emulate with their Primal Tap plug-in should make them the go to for your home studio as well. Looking for that 80’s studio delay sound or just want to bend some knobs to blow your mind with unique sounds? Primal Tap from Soundtoys software fits the bill.
A lot of you reading this are probably not old enough to remember Prime Time delay, a true classic hardware hybrid digital delay that combined both digital and analog sound. Now Soundtoys software took the original and turned it up to 11. They packed character, grittiness and just a massively cool vibe into this incredible classic. Of course since it is Soundtoys, they also upped the control and added some unique features, like input drive, sync to host and a whole bunch more memory. Take it for a spin, you will wonder how you did without it!
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First, let’s go over the basics. This unit is essentially a dual digital delay, so you have two separate signals. There are knobs for delay time for each, which can be controlled in seconds or beats. There’s also a cool mix interface where you can control the volume of each signal, separately or in combination. A similar panel exists for feedback. Setting delays like this can be great for stereo, ping-pong, and other types of interesting delay interactions, and are really useful for that purpose. They also impart a really cool tone that recalls the Prime Time delay, which is actually pretty different from a lot of Soundtoys’ other saturation types.
But here’s where things get interesting. There are a few reasons that this is unlike other delay plug-ins, and the first two of those are the modulation section and the “multiply” section. The modulation controls allow you to set rate, depth, and adjustment levels for the modulation, allowing for chorus, phaser, and flanger-type effects to occur while your delay is accumulating. The multiply section recreates the original Prime Time’s section, which extended delay times dramatically. However, one of the “downsides” was that the original delay was short on processing power, and needed to halve the bit-rate every time the delay was extended (up to 8x). This feature is retained here, meaning that adjusting this knob while your signal plays can result in some distorted, bit-crushing signals. While on the surface this might seem like an unwanted limitation, the unique way it impacts the tone of the delay is really cool in the right context. A delay that continually softens the tone is often very useful in a mix, and this feature makes this plug-in far more unique than many other digital delays. One of the cooler, and more fun applications of the plug-in is actually switching the multiplier setting in real time. This lets your delay span different octaves, and when you have dual delays going at different speeds while doing this, setting the feedback to a high level means that you’ll get a self-oscillating signal. Just allowing these signals to play out and grow allows for some dense, orchestral-sounding music to occur virtually out of thin air.
The other cool use of this plug-in occurs with the “freeze” feature, where the input signal gets “frozen” in time. This is otherwise known and sample-and-hold and allows your delay signal to sample a specific section of your track, and indefinitely repeat just that section. This is a much different technique that is typical, as you would usually have your entire signal repeat. This helps isolate some of the cooler parts of your tracks, and allows you to build a loop really easily. Overall, there’s a lot of great stuff contained in this plug-in, and it’s definitely a great find if you want to explore the possibilities that vintage digital delay offers.
- Digital Delay plug-in based upon the vintage Prime Time Echo, an unusual digital delay unit from the 1970s manufactured by Lexicon
- Dual Delay with two independent taps, which can be linked via link switch
- Multiply knob allows for longer delay times while lowering bit depth, creating interesting pitch jumps and self-oscillations
- VCO section includes modulation parameter adjustments, allowing for chorus, reverb, and flanger-like effects
- “Freeze” control allows for sample-and-hold effect, looping a particular audio section and repeating it, slowly modulating it over time
- 59 factory presets include chorus, delay, vibrato, pitch and reverb effects
- Two separate delay channels with time (beats or time-based) controls for each
- MIDI Sync option lets you time the delay to the tempo of your song
- Feedback slider interface with one slider per delay channel, and additional input gain fader
- Several Different Delay algorithms including ping-pong, criss-cross, classic, parallel and series operation; allows for cross-feedback and other cool effects
- Output gain faders for delay effect, as well as a dry/wet mix fader
- High and Low Cut controls allow for filtering out unwanted frequencies
- Modulation controls include rate, depth, and “adjust” which allow for tonal modulations, resulting in chorus, flanger, and reverb-type effects
- Multiply control extends delay time (up to 8x) while decreasing bit-rate
- Tweak Menu Controls include:
- Algorithm; six different settings include “Classic” (original hardware replication with cross-feedback), “Parallel” (independent delay lines), “Reverb” (prevents runaway feedback), “Series” (Delay A feeds into Delay B), “Criss-Cross” (each delay line feeds into the other), and “Ping-Pong” (delay from A feeds into B and back again)
- Rolloff – Lets low and high cut affect entire signal or feedback only
- VCO shape lets you choose oscillator wave shape – sine, square, triangle, and ramp wave shapes
- Depth control determines intensity of modulation
- Output pan controls panning for each delay line
Current Version: 5.2.0
Plug-in Formats (both 32 and 64-bit):
• AAX Native, AAX AudioSuite, VST, and Audio Units (AU)
Supported Sample Rates:
• Minimum: 44.1 kHz, Maximum: 192 kHz
• Operating systems: Mac OS X 10.8 or later; Windows 7 or later
• An internet connection is required at the time of activation.
• Pro Tools (10.3.5 or later), Live, Cubase, Nuendo, Sonar, Logic, Digital Performer
• Click here to view our full list of compatible host applications.
• Free iLok.com account