With the surprise release of the new Retro Fi, Waves builds on the functionality introduced with Lofi Space, its Black Friday freebie. We got the appetiser first, now we get the full effects plug-in for creatively downgrading audio with analog charms.
Waves Audio Retro Fi
Retro and LoFi aesthetics seem so hip! So many plug-ins in this direction have appeared this year that we are utterly spoiled for choice. If you want to give your beats, songs or individual tracks the nostalgic stamp, this is how Waves envisioned the right tool for the job.
Retro Fi has several individual effects working together in a chain to create the desired vibe. First in line is the Device, which is about coloration. It uses impulse responses from what is (presumably) real hardware to send the audio material on a trip back between 1950 to 1980. Next is the Squasher, which is a compressor capable of both upward and downward compression. It feeds into Space, which combines the echo and reverb you may know from the Lofi Space freebie. You can switch between spring and plate reverb here. The delay is also saturated and runs either freely or synchronized to the project tempo.
Finally, Noise offers a selection of 60 different textures, including staples like tape hiss and vinyl crackling. Note that the plug-in doesn’t treat these sounds like static loops, as there is a generative component at play. You can also ‘place’ these textures before or behind the Space section and edit them with ducker or gate effects.
Retro Fi also covers mechanical tape effects in the Mechanics module. It has a pair of modulation engines providing tape wow and flutter at the chosen rate. You’ll probably love it when the effect gets to drag a bit! Finally, the Master section has a high and low-pass filter.
Retro Fi: Price and availability
Retro Fi is on an introductory sale for USD 29, down from the regular price of USD 199. With Waves, there’s always a sale or discount around the corner, so I’ll be genuinely surprised if the plug-in ever reaches its ‘regular’ price.
Retro Fi works under macOS 10.14.6 or later (including M1 support) and Windows 10 or later in 64-bit VST, VST3, AAX, and AU formats. A demo version and a PDF manual can be downloaded from the website. The effect ships with a collection of 250 presets.