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Baby Audio are making WAVs in an increasingly crowded market. In the age of the chronically online, it’s not uncommon to feel bombarded with the consistent flow of new and emerging production tools that the algorithm presents to us. I’ve almost become desensitised to the slew of spon-con that spews out of the feed, stopping for a moment of admiration and moving on.
When the time finally arises to find that new soft-synth that’s going to bring some excitement to your music, it’s easy to be confronted by decision paralysis. With so many available to us and a huge variety of clones at our fingertips, I’ll often find myself stuck with an array of painfully familiar sounds at my disposal.
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In comes Baby Audio. Swiping through my feed on my regimented evening scroll I came across the BA-1, an analog modelled synth that kept stopping me in my tracks. It reminded me a lot of sounds I’d heard and loved in the soundtrack of Oxenfree, an indie game that I had recently connected with. The textures I was hearing were so smooth and captivating not only emulating classic 80’s tones but presenting me with a sound I hadn’t really heard in other software synths. This one felt different, and as soon as I delved deeper into the collection I knew it was something I definitely wanted to get my hands on.
Baby Audio BA-1
The BA-1 is modelled on the Yamaha CS01, a small portable ‘toy-like’ monosynth that’s been described as a ‘secret weapon’ for some of Sweden’s most successful pop producers over the decades, a staple of 90’s digital dancehall.
Moving through the healthy amount of presets loaded up on the BA-1 I was instantly impressed by the variety of sounds echoing through the speakers. This thing is packed full of everything from warm, warbly pads that will please any lo-fi addict, to crushing saw tooth leads that’ll suit the palette of any dance or electro producer. Supplied already with a good amount of synthesised drum and percussion presets, it’s no stretch that you could easily form an entire track solely using this plugin.
I myself gravitate to the more lo-fi realm of things and was compelled to delve into tweaking some sounds and injecting some gritty texture. One of the more interesting functions is the ‘Battery’ fader, it drains the life force of the wave creating more warble and subtle distortion at lower levels allowing you to generate a more saturated tape like effect that could also be used to find a perfect spot for your synths to sit comfortably in the mix.
Reminiscent of the original CS01, the ‘speaker’ toggle allows you to replicate the original in built ‘toy-like’ speaker that is sure to be a lo-fi producers dream. Among the obvious FM (frequency modulation) filters and oscillators is a welcome effects channel with built-in delay, reverb and modulation options along with tone and drive faders that allows you to shape your textures without ever needing to leave the VST. And as they say, get it right [sic] “at the source”.
Also coming with a built in side chain function Baby Audio is showing up to the party with a true all in one and more impressively a simply constructed interface that is friendly to newcomers.
Pro Bundle plugins
After not having fully researched the extent of the bundle, I was met with a surprising batch of plugins that came in the package. The most enticing one being the Transit plugin made in collaboration with Andrew Huang, an online creator and innovator in the music production sphere. As makers of music we’re constantly searching for ways to capture a more compelling journey to get from A-B.
Andrew Huang Transit
I’m sure you’ve spent countless hours labouring over effects chains and automation to craft an inspiring build or transition to fit perfectly into your track. Transit has expertly eliminated this process and has created an in-the-box plugin that can speed up your workflow and save the strain on your precious CPU. Transit comes with over 300 presets across a span of genre specific styles to suit almost any production.
Whether it’s a static noise sweep you’re after or a full on modulated blown out transition, this one has you sorted. Tailor your own unique transitions with 7 slots for the 18 effects at your disposal and use the ‘transit control’ knob to dial in and automate your own distinctive transition. If the hefty library of presets is too daunting to you, no worries, use the randomisation engine as a start to get the creative juices flowing.
*exhale* Finally we now have a streamlined solution to all our transitional frustrations and an exhilarating new and innovative way to get the job done.
Furthermore to Baby Audio’s capability of being a one-stop shop, in the bundle you’ll have access to an array of plugins that have the potential to become staples at the mixing stage. Make use of the IHNY-2, a parallel compression to add some punch to your tracks or clean up your mix with the Smooth Operator and clear up those problem frequencies. As we know, Baby Audio’s range is seething with lo-fi character and is sure to satisfy all those who indulge. Personally I was taken by the Super VHS unit that’ll transport your chosen sends to a blissful atmospheric space. Making full use of the bundle you can also use the TAIP tape saturator to impose even more analog-like presence to the mix, pair that with two more reverbs and a delay-echo it’s plain to see that the Baby Audio tab in your audio unit folder is going to be one that will remain open throughout the creative process.
In the age of subscription-based VST’s becoming more and more frequent it’s admirable that you can confidently own and cherish these compelling audio utilities that you will actually use. I for one am excited to see what comes next from the Baby Audio team, whatever your style if you pick some of these up, I can guarantee they won’t disappoint.
For more info, and to try the plugins for yourself, check out Baby Audio here.