UVI Relayer by Diogo C
- Product: Relayer
- Developer: UVI
- Formats: AAX/AU/VST, Win/Mac 32-64
- Price: $129
- DRM: iLok (software or USB) with up to 3 authorisations. 14-day fully functional demo.
- Website: UVI Relayer — Precision Creative Delay
The Scope: Relayer is a multi-tap delay with some twists. Well, quite a lot of twists to be honest: besides a tap-delay with modulation and interesting feedback controls we also get gain and panorama tap modulation and a couple of effect slots with some good weapons for sonic destruction. Wrapping it up there’s a “color” device and a set of high and low pass filters at the output. These are all well-known tricks, but what sets the Relayer apart is the slick way that UVI has found to combine everything, with a big interface (perhaps a little too big) with straightforward controls for the taps and a feature set that greatly favours sonic experimentation.
Sound quality and range of use - 5/5: Relayer sounds amazing and is quite versatile. Thanks to the color device at the output and the FX slots, Relayer’s sonic range gets extremely spread out and it can go from gentle and beautiful and lush verbed taps to super aggressive utter mayhem. The color device is an impulse response “player” with a very good range of sounds, from the classic types of reverb like Lexicons and EMTs to guitar cabinets, others speakers, radios, devices and even some weird aquatic effects. There over 40 colours to chose from. The FX slots can house wave shapers, bit/sample-reduction and some interesting filters like vowel and comb-filter, and all of those can be modulated through its own LFOs, adding further movement to the taps. It’s a plugin that can proudly call itself unique as there is really no similar alternatives out there. Relayer breathes some new life into the tap-delay concept and looks into an old idea with very fresh eyes.
Ease of use and performance - 5/5: Relayer is easy enough to program and its layout is quite intuitive, with the basic delay and modulation controls on the left, on the center you have control tabs for modulating the taps and on the right there are the color, filter and output controls. The control tabs on the center houses the tap, gain and pan and effect slots and they do a very good job on organising the interface, allowing quick access to everything in a way that enables easy tweaking of the desired modulations. On the left corner this section there are some cool controls for adjusting the taps, with some handy presets with a good number of common envelopes and a set of buttons that helps to nudge and transform them. On the last slot you can set shape the feedback with a set of LP/HP filters and some saturation. Last but not least, the taps can be fully randomised on each control tab.
On the performance side of things Relayer does well and it's quite stable. A bit heavier on the cpu than usual but on the other hand it is free of any latency, which is great. Given UVI’s track record they will sure be patches coming soon with optimisations. Comes mapped to Eucon which is a plus to me and others slutz out there, but if you rely on MIDI then you're in for a good as the parameter to CC assignment is a breeze and available immediately by right clicking on any parameter.
Like everything UVI does, the presentation is great and facilitates the learning process. To help you out there’s a strip at bottom of the plugin that show information for each parameter as you hover the mouse on each control, so it's quite easy to understand what each thing does. The provided PDF manual is also good, with twenty well-written pages of concise information.
Features - 4/5: Very capable and versatile plug that goes far beyond what you expect from a delay. The feature set offered by UVI is extremely enticing, fun to play with and stands on its own: multi-taps, with lots of possible modulations, some interesting filters, distortion and tones and a set of filters. Browsing through the presets can give a good idea of how each feature can be used to get a variety of effects, from long modulated taps to things with shorting timings like chorus and wild rhythmic patterns. In that regard, there’s a solo wet signal button that can be locked, which is good for going through presets while keeping only the processed signal levels intact. I miss a mono/stereo component for Pro Tools and some of the functionality that UVI introduced on Sparkverb, such as parameter lock, two sizes for interface and the preset map. Since the color device is based on convolution it would be interesting to be able to load on our own IRs and having more routing options for the filters would also be useful to expand the sonic range even further. One last featured to highlight is the input gate, which cuts the signal being fed into Relayer, which besides creative use can be handy on live performances as well. Since this is Gearslutz and we can always have more, here is my little wish-list:
Bang for buck - 5/5: Relayer is a unique approach to a bunch of pre-existing concepts, some of them quite old and well-known, but UVI has wrapped them up in a very elegant and interesting way. The uncluttered interface enables creativity and favours experimentation but also privileges programming-efficiency and a fast workflow. For its price, Relayer is quite irresistible if you enjoy forwarding-thinking effects.
- Relayer would benefit from having a couple of features from its brother Sparkverb (which I reviewed here), like an option for a smaller interface size and an option to look any parameter you want, which makes preset browsing even better. UVI added features to Sparkverb after its release, so there’s hope Relayer gets the same treatment.
- Color and filters as a FX slots. The current set is good, but utterly better geared to do damage than anything. It would be so cool if we could control the color device and have some filters on the tap level.
- Performance can be improved, especially on AAX. Relayer already had a couple of patches, so UVI is on it and things will likely be further improved.
The verdict: You might even be able to pull off some of Relayer’s effects by arranging an exotic signal chain with a bunch of plugins that you have around, but UVI’s execution is so good that it will certainly save you time as it allows you to experiment more since I think we can agree that it’s faster to deal with a slick and accessible interface than jumping through a bunch of different hoops to get a sound - IF when you can get it of course. This plugin is definitely on its way to the list of “wonders of the plugin universe”.
Last edited by Diogo C; 21st July 2015 at 04:10 AM.. Reason: Clarity.