UVI Rotary by Diogo C
Formats: AAX/AU/VST Plug-in for Mac (10.7+) and Windows (7+)
DRM: iLok (up to three activations, USB dongle not required)
Demo: Fully functional for 15 days
Price: $79 (MSRP)
The scope: UVI combines thorough modeling of individual components with convolution techniques to deliver Rotary, a highly configurable rotary speaker simulation plug-in. For those unfamiliar with these amazing boxes and how they work, I recommend watching this video, which explains them good detail. The UVI Rotary plug-in brings the central elements of the rotary speaker boxes on its main page, allowing the user to set independent rotation timings for the drum (corale) and horn (tremolo), with a “speed” switch that determines which one is enabled along with a “break” function which stops the rotation altogether. The interesting bit here is that each time you enable the break it will stop on a certain random position, thus giving a different effect every time you set it. A drive control enables the user to distort the tube amp and a gain control determines the overall level - and speaking of levels, there are also input and output meters with good vertical resolution, which helps to keep levels in check. On top of these controls there are intuitive microphone placement controls, which can be set by clicking and dragging the control points or by adjusting the width, distance, angle and skew knobs. There are also seven different boxes to choose from, including the classic Leslie 122. A little gear icon on the top right of the interface provides access to advanced settings, including independent acceleration times for the horn and the drum along with directivity and filtering options, box resonance and delay compensation for the mics. Overall it’s quite a deep plug-in, with a good number of possibilities to emulate most of the magic of these wonderful boxes and conveniently deliver the essence of their sounds to our DAWs.
Sound quality: I wouldn’t go as far as saying that it’s as good as the real thing, that would be a huge stretch since there’s an inescapable physicality to rotary speaker boxes and I don’t think our current computing tech can fully emulate them right now, kind of the same feeling that I have about guitar amp simulators, and here we have an extra layer of complexity due to the fact that there are two things spinning and affecting the sound in very unique fashion. With that out of the way, Rotary does a good job of bringing the idea of those sounds and will work nicely in the context of mix, but when used on more “exposed” situations like solo organs it would definitely sound a bit artificial and not so convincing. Nevertheless, this is a good sounding plug-in with some cool vibe and grit when pushed to edgier settings, but also great sounding when used gently for more subtle sounds. It’s also quite versatile and can work on sources other than organs, bringing interesting effects to guitars, vocals and synths.
Ease of use: Probably the best on its class when it comes to ease of use. Rotary does basically everything right in this department, with a clean interface, relatively intuitive parameters on the main page with more advanced tweaks on a secondary menu and a handy real-time help system on the lower bar that displays concise explanations of all the controls as you hover the mouse over each parameter. The documentation is also well written and worth reading if you need further clarification. The only downside that I see here is the limited number of presets, which can be a bit troubling for those unfamiliar with rotary speakers and all its controls. Nevertheless, the included presets are good enough to point to the right direction and should provide satisfactory starting points for further tweaking. Last but not least, the resource consumption is really low, allowing for many instances to be loaded on basically any computer, and it’s also free of any added latency, which is always a great thing.
Features: Rotary is a well-rounded plug-in that offers some considerable depth and a good number of possible tweaks can be made on the very interesting advanced settings page. All the core elements of classic rotary speaker boxes are offered here in good detail, with dedicated parameters for the most important parts. However, I miss a couple of things here - first would be a dry/wet control and the second would be more microphone choices, perhaps some of them on mid-side configurations. Both these controls would add even more flexibility and sound placement options, but not having them doesn’t take anything away from the otherwise excellent feature set.
Bang for buck: Excellent value if you don’t own any rotary speaker emulations or if you’re not totally happy with what you have. Rotary is at least as convincing as the other emulations out there, and there are some very good ones such as XILS Labs L122, PSP L’otary and Melda MVintageRotary, only to name a few, and Rotary is at least on par with all of them in terms of sound quality but in my opinion it’s a bit more polished, both in terms of sound and on the way it displays its controls, making it easier and faster to use. After the great work done Sparkverb, Relayer and Thorus, Rotary is another a solid effort from UVI and a fine plug-in overall.
Recommended for: mixing engineers and producers looking for Leslie-esque sounds that will fit most mixes.
*Sounds convincing enough to work on most productions
*Mostly easy to use
*Very versatile for a plug-in in this category
*Hardly any - if you’re ready for some compromise and to get past the fact that these boxes are very hard (if possible) to fully emulate