UVI’s Relayer is a fully-featured delay plugin with a few unique tricks up its sleeve. Greg Scarth puts it to the test.
If you’re going to release a delay effect, you need a unique selling point. Aside from the fact that a number of third-party developers already offer delay plugins, the majority of DAWs now include pretty decent multi-tap delays as standard. With Relayer, UVI have taken the obvious approach: go for broke by throwing as many features as possible into the mix, aiming to create an ultra-versatile take on the familiar digital delay effect, with a huge sprinkling of original twists. It’s a risky strategy, which could result in a messy, overcomplicated affair, but thankfully that’s not the case here.
If you’re going to release a delay effect, you need a unique selling point. With Relayer, UVI have taken the obvious approach: go for broke by throwing as many features as possible into the mix
In summary, Relayer is based around 32 delay lines. The timing of the repeats can be free-running or tempo synced to the host DAW (with versatile swing options to be found within the plugin itself). From there, the plugin uses a step-sequencer-like approach, allowing the user to control the parameters of each of the delay lines. The interface is based around six individual panes, with separate step-based modulation editors for time, gain, pan and the two effect slots. There’s also a dedicated pane for advanced feedback settings (filtering, a drive setting with three distortion modes, and feedback tap point).
All the standard features you’d expect from any delay plugin are present – modulation options, master filters and so on – but where Relayer really sets itself apart is with the implementation of effects on each of the delay lines. The FX1 and FX2 sections offer a range of options including comb and vowel filtering, sample rate reduction and wave shaping. As a result, you can program a wide variety of effects, from fairly subtle rhythmic echoes through to ultra-freaky weirdness. Feed a percussive sound into the ‘Harp Arp Warped’ preset, for instance, and the combination of comb filtering and wave shaping produces an arpeggiated melodic output.
The colour setting introduces a final twist, processing the delay’s output through a convolution processor, with a choice of impulse responses. There’s no option to load custom IRs at this point, which seems like a bit of a missed opportunity, but the range of IRs on offer is more than enough for shaping the character of the delay, from the deliberately lo-fi (‘Old Phone’) to the subtly coloured (‘Device Analog’) to classic reverbs (a number of settings based on EMT and Lexicon models).
A plugin with so many options could easily spiral out of control, but the usual UVI attention to detail means that Relayer is incredibly user friendly. Each of the modulation editors can be activated or deactivated independently at the push of a button (you can even deactivate the time modulation, setting the timing of each delay repeat incrementally according to the master time setting up in the top left-hand corner of the plugin window). A solo button alongside the wet and dry controls allows you to audition the wet signal on its own at the touch of a button. There are two memory slots, A and B, which allow you to edit a patch, step back to your starting point and compare the two. Adjusting settings in each of the modulation editor panes results in visual feedback via the lower gain, pan, FX1 and FX2 panels (time and feedback affect all four simultaneously).
With Relayer, UVI have achieved that rare feat: a hugely versatile plugin that’s also intuitive and easy to use. At $129 it’s not the cheapest delay plugin on the market, but the price seems fair given how much can be achieved with this highly creative, neatly designed effect.
The Final Word
Highly versatile, easy to use and top quality sound.
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