Baby Audio is a young company, that have created some buzz with their plugins right from the start. Taking standard concepts like parallel compression, delay and reverb and putting them in plugins that look dope, have cool names and a fresh, user-friendly approach is what makes Baby Audios plugins stand out from the ever growing crowd of plugin companies.
The Baby Audio plugin that created the biggest buzz yet, is the Super VHS, a 1980s LoFi multi effects plugin with simple operation. So without further ado, let’s jump right into the review of the Baby Audio Super VHS plugin.
Man, that thing looks so damn cool! Pure 80s style, plastic knobs and sliders with some neon lights here and there in the format of a VHS video cassette, containing 6 effects with only one control each. The concept is similar to the Waves One Knob series, quick results without much tweaking, just that the Super VHS puts 6 “One Knob” plugins in one.
Apart from the six FX controls the surface of the Super VHS plugin hosts two more sliders, Mix and Out. Internally there is even more stuff going on, like a filter, a bit crusher and a limiter, but these cannot be controlled by the user. So let’s have a look at the effects you can control. In the order of the signal flow, these are:
The Static effect produces static noise. As simple as that. And there’s no other noise types to choose from. So pull it in as much as you want, or leave it out.
Heat simulates tape saturation. As this is a LoFi plugin, we are talking about consumer grade tape saturation. Signals get compressed, then overdriven when pushed harder. This is cool for drum buses or other grouped instruments, that need glue. It’s also good for fattening individual sounds.
Shape is the sample rate reduction section in Baby Audio’s Super VHS. By moving the slider, the sample rate gets reduced. The effect is rather harsh. As there is no lowpass filter behind the Shape effect, you got all the ringing artifacts that occur with low sample rates. The sound reminds me of astronaut voices and 80s video games, not so much of vintage samplers.
Like with all controls on the Super VHS there are no indicators for the sample rate reduction, so you’ll have operate by ear – which we should be doing anyway.
That one is really magic. Inspired by the legendary chorus of the Roland Juno Synths, the sound instantly explodes beautifully into the stereo field, as soon as you push the Magic button. The control of Magic is reduced to the minimum: Just one button. On or off.
My personal favorite effect in Super VHS. Drift creates unpredictable modulation of pitch and time. This is awesome for Stranger Things like synths, but also great on guitar or drums, especially to give hi hats some movement. I haven’t tried it on vocals yet. Mmmhh…could be interesting.
Want some cheap 80s reverb? Here you go.
Although the 80s brought us some of the most legendary reverb sounds ever, from iconic units like the Lexicon 224 and 480L, these hardware reverbs cost a fortune, so only in top studios could afford them. The smaller studios had to go with cheaper units, that produced harsher reverb tails with more digital artifacts.
It’s that type of reverb sound that Wash (re)creates. A beautifully grainy, cheap, digital reverb tail, like the ones in low budget 80s TV shows and action movies.
The Super VHS In Use
Open the plugin, step through some presets to get a feel for the plugin…wait a minute. Where’s the preset browser? Ah, no presets with the Baby Audio Super VHS. Which doesn’t matter, as each effect comes with only one control anyway. Dialing in sounds doesn’t get any easier. If you still want to save your own presets, you need to use your DAW’s preset system.
But how does the Super VHS plugin sound? As good as it looks? I somehow anticipated that describing the effects. But I would say damn yes! I know that the look of something can also deeply affect any of our other senses – like the same drink in different bottles is perceived as different drinks, even tasting them side by side.
What I wanted to say is, I really LOVE how the Super VHS looks, and that may influence my perception of how it sounds. But I think that’s okay and part of the fun. As long as I still like what I hear when I listen to my mixes without seeing the plugin, everything is good. And that’s the case with the Baby Audio Super VHS.
The Baby Audio Super VHS plugin delivers a beautiful 1980s LoFi vibe with minimal effort. Regardless if you want to fatten drums with Heat, make synths and guitars sound super wide and spacey or create the sound of video games from the 1980s with Shape, Super VHS is up to the task.
It may not be as versatile as for example the RC-20 Retro Color, but the Super VHS vibe is different, more on the digital side of LoFi. They both have their place in my tracks, happily delivering their magic side by side. And did I mention how dope it looks?
This plugin is a must have for all LoFi junkies. If you consider yourself being one of them, I highly recommend you get yourself a copy of the Baby Audio Super VHS plugin now.
|Great 1980s LoFi Sound|
Super Easy Operation
OMG, The Look!