Part multi-effects processor, part pattern generator, and 100 percent delay extraordinaire, Relayer (AAX, AU, VST) takes time-based plug-ins to a new level of creativity, in large part thanks to its powerful multitap editor. But before going wild with highly customized delay lines (replete with multi-effects and stylized panning, timing, and gain changes), Relayer can take care of your basic delay needs, as well.
Just call up the Init preset, which starts off with a single delay tap. From there you can dial in the delay time from 32x (very slow) to 64th-note triplets (a fast, buzz delay) and adjust the feedback level. Then, save your custom presets to complement the 100+ factory patches that specialize in short and reverby ambiences, long and rhythmic effects, chorus- style delays, and dozens of special effects. For this review, I tested version 1.0.2 of the VST, and it was completely stable and used a negligible amount of processor load.
Relayer’s multifaceted multi-tap editor sets it apart from most delay units. It’s fairly simple to learn how to use it by experimenting on your own. However, if you want help, perusing the presets will clue you in, and the detailed PDF manual breaks down the wealth of options.
The Repeats knob sets the number of delay taps from one to 32. Say you set 16 taps with the Time set to sixteenth notes. You’ll have essentially one bar of 16th-note repeats until you start editing the timing in the multi-tap editor. The colored bars in the editor work like faders, and you can increase or decrease the timing of the taps by changing the bar values (either by clicking or dragging with a mouse), choosing bar preset patterns, randomizing the bars, or by shifting the bar graph value with Transform buttons, which give you fine-tuned control over scale and positioning.
The same scheme holds true for all five parameters within the multi-tap editor: Time, Gain, Pan, FX1, and FX2. The six effects include various filters, bit reduction and modulation. In addition, an optional LFO with depth and rate controls applies to the FX1 and FX2 bar to modulate their values over time.
Relayer’s editor presents endless possibilities for creating not just delay lines, but also highly stylized rhythmic effects with a vast sonic range. You can use it in a very deliberate manner to create delay patterns with specific timing and panning settings, leave it to serendipity by randomizing, set odd Time and Repeat values, or draw in wacky graph curves to see what kinds of chaos ensue.
Relayer doesn’t stop with the multitap editor. There is another set of options for processing the wet signal of the plug-in. First, there’s a global Modulation effect with Depth and Rate settings. A global Color section lets you set the amount of one of 66 impulse responses, which include many reverb settings; simulations of Devices such as a megaphone, radio, or tape; Speakers, such as British amp, metal amp, or vintage tube; and other effects. At the end, the Master Filter includes a global highpass and lowpass filter so you can restrict the frequency of the wet signal.
These days, with the quality of stock DAW plugins being higher than ever, developers have to go way out of their way to make an effect worth buying. UVI has done just that with Relayer. It uses delay as the basis for a creative multi-effect that feels almost like its own instrument.
Multitap editor. Flexible, yet not intimidating to use. Nice-sounding Color effects. Free 15- day demo.
If you don’t take full advantage of its capabilities, the price may seem high.
Markkus Rovito drums, DJs, and contributes frequently to DJ Tech Tools.