Plugin Boutique has published a new video in its Top 5 Friday series, in which Tim Cant takes a look at some popular Lo-Fi plugins.

5. Beatskillz That Thing

This thing is a plugin called That Thing, which is a collaboration between Beatskillz and AudioThing. This lo-fi processor aims to recreate the sounds of classic gear as a multi-effect, with lots of particular and idiosyncratic effects to choose from.

In That Thing, you get a choice of analogue-modelled chorus effects, plus vinyl, tape and tube recreation, to phatten up and give some character to individual tracks or buses.

There’s also bitcrushing controls to ape classic sampler technology, and perhaps most interesting, a selection of ‘Nature’ sounds to add real-world ambiences like city sounds, forest sounds and loads more.

4. Devious Machines Texture

Sort of like a sampler triggered by an envelope follower, Texture applies a new sound to layer over what you already have on its audio channel.

You can load your own samples into Texture, but its library of over 300 sounds are great recipes for instant lo-fi effects. Among its diverse library of sounds, there’s sampled vinyl, noises like ambience, crowds, water and mechanical sounds, loads of noise textures from classic gear and tape reels.

When you’re done selecting the sound, you can also modulate parameters using an envelope and LFO, balance and customise the sounds of the original sound and the new layer, and EQ both layers as well.

3. AudioThing VinylStrip

You’ve seen AudioThing tech come up already, with the Beatskillz That Thing plugin at number 5, but the company’s own-label lo-fi effect is a bit different.

There are six modules of lo-fi effect, made up of Compression, Distortion, Reverb, EQ, Vinyl, Sampler, and a Master panel. Those six effects are re-orderable, so you can run them in whatever signal chain you choose, as well as switching each off and on at will.

The Distortion, Vinyl and Sampler modules are the most obvious effects for sending your sounds back in time, but the classic Compressor, Tilt-style EQ, and early-style reverb shouldn’t be overlooked either. That Vinyl panel, with its Noise, Wow, Dust Amount and Rate, Record Age and Stereo Width parameters is, naturally, VinylStrip’s most fully-featured processor.

2. iZotope Vinyl

This classic effect is actually a free one, giving you separate faders for vinyl-style properties like Mechanical Noise, Wear, Electrical Noise, Dust, Scratches and Warp.

Already, that’s pretty comprehensive – especially for a free plugin – but Vinyl’s Mono/Stereo switch, decade selector, RPM choices, and its Spin Down button, which emulates a turntable slowing to a stop, along with the associated sonics, make this one of the most fully featured vinyl emulations out there.

Vinyl may not be the newest plugin out there, but that’s not why we put lo-fi sounds in our tunes!

1. XLN Audio RC-20 Retro Color

This one takes the form of another lo-fi strip, but when it comes to making your sounds sound worse, this could just be the best-sounding plugin out there… ironically.

The Noise panel emulated vinyl, the Wobble takes on wow and flutter, Distort models a pair of tubes, Digital takes on bit depth and sample rate, Space adds reverb, and Magnetic simulates recording to tape, with dropouts, wear and flutter.

Operating alongside those modules, the Flux Engine makes these old-school processes even more unstable, pushing things in and out of time, with a slider for each module to control how much each effect gets freaked out by it.

Check out Plugin Boutique for these and more Lo-Fi plugins.

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