LoFi Playtime by Yum Audio Review
You can be forgiven if you've never heard of Yum Audio before. Based in Germany, this new plugin developer has only recently released their first batch of 4 plugin offerings: LoFi – Playtime, LoFi – Pitch Dropout, Spread and the completely free Spread Light.
Here I'll be taking a look at the LoFi - Playtime plugin, which, according to the Yum Audio website, allows you to "play with time". That sounds interesting! Let's dive in...
Once installed and loaded, the first thing I noticed about the plugin was how fun and intuitive the user interface is to use. The use of bright colours and slightly off-centre control labelling make it seem more like an exciting toy that begs to be played with, rather than a grown-up stuffy audio tool. This is great because it immediately brought out my inner creative child and encouraged me to experiment with the controls right from the get-go. Don't be completely fooled by the playful appearance though as this is actually a very capable and powerful plugin.
At the heart of the device are two virtual tape machines with independent controls for playback speed, direction, tape age, brightness, and gain. A slow playback speed will pitch the sound down an octave, whilst the fast setting will pitch it up an octave. The age control lets you add wobbling pitch fluctuation and dropouts to your sound to simulate a worn-out tape, whilst the reverse control lets you reverse the audio. The tape brightness or 'shine' control applies a low-pass filter to the sound allowing it to become brighter or more muffled. The gain control then allows you to blend the output of both tape effects to your taste. Any changes you make are visually represented in real time within the Playtime waveform display.
The basetime dial together with time mode lets you sync the effect to your DAW or set the tempo independently. Additional creative options include a delay effect controlled by the feedback knob, and a freeze button for creating interesting looping effects. The freeze button is one of the standout features of the plugin in my opinion as it instantly enabled me to create some really interesting textures, especially when mixed subtly back in with the dry signal.
Lastly, the plugin features a handy preset browser. Not only does this contain some great sounding factory presets, but it also allows you to save and load your own custom presets.
In summary, I found LoFi - Playtime to be really aptly named as it's incredibly fun to use, and a great tool for creative sound design. As proof of this I lost several hours today making cool sounding drones and loops before suddenly remembering that I was meant to be writing this article! Quite simply put, if you enjoy making lo-fi beats then this plugin is a must-buy. Even if you don't, you should consider it based on the unique sound design opportunities it brings to the table.
LoFi - Playtime is available in AAX, VST3, and AU formats from the Yum Audio website, priced at an introductory offer of £55. All of Yum Audio's premium plugins are available on a free fourteen-day trial.