Initial Audio has released the Analog Pro plug-in, which simulates the sound of tape machines and vinyl records. If you’re looking for that vintage lo-fi sound, here’s another option for you.
Initial Audio says that Analog Pro can “warm up and saturate your audio”, thereby bringing digital tracks to life. Now, it’s far from being the first plug-in making that claim. Among competitors like Softube Tape, Overloud Tapedesk, HoRNet Tape, and Beatskillz Reelight, to name just a few, Analog Pro will have to sound mighty good to conquer a share of the market. We’ll have to see how it sounds and if it brings anything new to the table. But more options are always welcome, especially at the user-friendly introductory price of USD 19.99.
Adjustable lo-fi sound
Beneath the plug-in’s flashy GUI (hey, it has wood texture, so it must be good, right?) lies some code designed to recreate the imperfections of analog recording media and playback devices. You can adjust the amount and flavor of the lo-fi treatment with parameters like noise level, noise type, impulse type, impulse mix, emphasis, stereo, low cut and high cut filters, and wow / flutter.
The makers say that Analog Pro sounds good on instruments like piano and brass. I can also see it working well to make samples sound like they came from a really old record. Judging by the demo video below, the plug-in seems to do well with the more drastic kind of lo-fi effects involving generous amounts of filtering and wow / flutter. It would be great to hear what it sounds like when it is used for some subtle, tasteful saturation – which is slightly more difficult to get right than some pitch wobble and filtering. But then, there’s always other tools for that.
Compatibility and price
Initial Audio Analog Pro is available for Windows (32/64 bit VST) and macOS (64 bit VST, AU). Until July 1, 2019, it is offered at an introductory price of USD 19.99. After that, the price will increase to USD 79.99, which seems quite ambitious considering the competition.