iZotope Vinyl allows you to create a "lo-fi" sound using vinyl record and phonograph models. Although it's free, we set a goal of professional quality, both in look and feel, as well as sound quality. Of course, in this case sound quality means making it sound realistically bad, and we spent significant time tuning models and samples and developing 64-bit signal processing for noise shaping, distortion, EQ, and dithering.
Check out the Overview and Quick Start - 10 Steps to Lo-Fi to learn how to make it so bad that it's good.
1) Get a strong input signal using the Input Gain slider. This will be important if you want to add Wear to the record.
2) Turn up the Wear slider. This simulates a worn record by adding filtering and distortion. The amount of distortion or wear is depends on the input signal, so you need a strong signal to get the best worn sound. Note that the output level will drop slightly for extremely worn records (as would be expected)
3) Turn the Dust Amount knob up to add a lot of dust to the record. We personally like the Dust knob turned up all the way to the right. At the same time, turn up the Dust Level Fader to get an appropriate volume for the dust samples.
4) Add Scratches. Scratches are also sampled sounds, but unlike dust they actually overwrite the audio that is playing - the music is muted while the scratch sample is played. Therefore, getting a matching volume for the scratch is important. To do this, try adding one Scratch by turning the Scratch knob to the first position. We've found that adding more than 1-4 scratches is really a little too much - just try one to start. Turn the Scratch volume fader down all the way, and listen for the gap in the audio. Not realistic, of course, but you're just getting used to how often the scratch occurs. Now turn up the Scratch fader slowly until you hear a scratch instead of a gap.
5) Turn up the faders for the Mechanical Noise and Electrical Noise. In our experience, these are best to be used lightly, in fact, you should turn them up and adjust them while listening to a quiet portion of the track or even silence before or after the track. When the audio is playing, for best results the mechanical noise (turntable click and rumble) and electrical noise (60 Hz hum mainly) should be drowned out. The purpose of these controls is to have intros or quiet parts not sound so "digitally quiet".
6) Our personal favorite - Warp the record. This is a two step process. First, select a Warp curve by pressing Warp model buttons. This selects what the Warp looks like, whether it is warped all the way around or just a dimple or single warp on a corner. Once you have a warp selected, turn up the Warp Depth fader. Higher fader settings will cause greater shifts in pitch, since the warp is deeper. Of course you can get some great extreme effects with high settings, but we've found that even a subtle Warp adds a lot to the whole lo-fi vinyl sound.
Note: The warp feature is only enabled in the AudioSuite and DirectX versions of Vinyl due to limitations imposed by the other plugin formats. Also note that some DirectX hosts do not support warping especially when it's set to extreme values. Warping can be enabled and disabled in the DirectX version by right-clicking on the plugin and selecting "Bypass Warping". If the Vinyl plugin produces a choppy sound when Warping is enabled, your host application may not support warping. In this case, you should keep warping bypassed.
7) Select the Year of the record player. Year 2000 is effectively no effect. Earlier years apply filter models that progressively make the record player more and more bandwidth limited. 1950 and before also switches the output from stereo to mono. Note that this control has to do with the final output of the phonograph (speaker and amp) so it effects the music as well as the scratches and dust.
8) Optionally, you can select an RPM for the phonograph. This does not change the pitch, but it changes the periodic playback of the warp and the scratches (at 78 RPM a scratch happens more than twice as often as a single scratch on a 33 LP, since the record's spinning faster)
9) Adjust output gain as necessary
10) Do the Hustle. (optional - we just needed a tenth step)
Mechanical NoiseAdds turntable rumble and motor noise. Use it at low volumes to add realistic noise to intros and quiet parts of songs.
Record WearSimulates the effect of a record that's been played too many times. As a needle passes over and over a record, it physically wears it down which causes high frequencies to drop off, and distortion to occur as the curves in the record flatten out. Adjust the Wear setting in combination with the Input Gain to get realistic distortion of the record.
Electrical NoiseAdds electrical noise from preamps and other phonograph circuitry. Use it at low volumes to add realistic noise to intros and quiet parts of songs.
Dust Gain and AmountDust Amount The Dust knob controls the amount of dust on the record. Higher values (knob to the right) result in more dust on the record. Use in combination with the Dust Gain fader which controls the volume of the dust samples.
Dust Gain The Dust fader control increases the volume of the Dust samples. Note that you need to have the Dust Amount turned on (to the right) to trigger dust samples, which can then be mixed with the music using this Dust fader.
Dust Indicator LED
Turns from red to dim green when you are mixing in dust samples. At the moment that a dust sample is actually being played, the LED turns from dim green to bright green. Note that depending on the latency of your sound card and system, there may be a delay between when you see the LED light up and when you hear the dust sample played.
Scratch Gain and AmountScratch Amount
The Scratch knob controls the number of scratches on the record. Higher values (knob to the right) result in more scratches on the record. Use in combination with the Scratch Gain fader which controls the volume of the Scratch samples.
The Scratch fader control increases the volume of the Scratch samples. Note that you need to have the Scratch Amount turned on (to the right) to trigger scratch samples, which can then be mixed with the music using this Scratch fader.
Scratch Indicator LED Turns from red to dim green when you are mixing in scratch samples. At the moment that a scratch sample is actually being played, the LED turns from dim green to bright green. Note that depending on the latency of your sound card and system, there may be a delay between when you see the LED light up and when you hear the scratch sample played.
Warp ControlsWarp Depth Use in combination with the Warp model to set the amount of the Warp. Higher values will result in deeper warps in the record, which causes greater pitch variations.
Warp Model Selecting different Warp Models allows you control whether there is a continual warp around the record, or if there is just a single warp in a corner. OK, records don't have corners. You know what we mean though. You can see the Warp Model in the display, which can be thought of as a cross section view of the record, showing the warp.
Note: Due to incompatibilities with some host apps, the warping feature is initially disabled. If you're using a compatible DirectX host app then you can enable it by right-clicking anywhere on the plugin and selecting “Bypass Warping”. If the Vinyl plugin produces a choppy sound when Warping is enabled, your host application may not support Warping. In this case, you should keep warping bypassed.
For Pro Tools, the Audio Suite (AS) plug-in always has Warping enabled, and the Real Time Audio Suite (RTAS) and HTDM versions always have Warping disabled because it is not supported by the format. The VST, AU and MAS versions always have Warping disabled because it is not supported by these plugin formats.
Input and Output GainControls the Input and Output Gain. Turn up the input gain to get a strong signal (up to the red LEDs, but not lighting them). Turn down the output gain if, well, it's too loud. What more can we say?
YearModels record players from different decades using filter responses. Year 2000 is effectively no effect at all. Earlier years roll off frequencies. Note that this is simulating the amplifier and speaker system of earlier phonographs, so the entire output including scratches and dust samples is also filtered. In addition, 1950 and earlier switches the output to mono.
RPMChanges the simulated speed of the record player. This does not change the pitch of the music. It controls how often scratches are heard (at higher speeds of rotation a single scratch would be heard more often) as well as how often the warping rises and falls.
Mono StereoAllows you to set Mono or Stereo output. Note that setting the year of the record player will automatically switch the output to Mono for 1950 and earlier, but you can switch it back to Stereo if you want.
BypassA quick way to turn off iZotope Vinyl. so you can admire how badly you've destroyed the sound from the original.
RivetsThese are very important. They hold the faceplate on the Vinyl plugin.
You can automate parameters in iZotope Vinyl using host applications that support effects automation. Automation allows you to specify changes to parameters over the duration of a mix.
The implementation and specifics of automation are dependent on the host application, so we refer you to the documentation of the host app for setting up an automated mix. In general, though, you patch iZotope Vinyl as an ordinary effect on a track, then in the track view of the host app assign automation envelopes to it. These envelopes control how iZotope Vinyl parameters are changed over the course of the mix. In this case, most of your "tweaking" is done in the track view of the host app, dragging curves and envelopes as opposed to changing controls in iZotope Vinyl.
You can use the mouse or the keyboard to control iZotope Vinyl. We tried to provide multiple ways to adjust every control to make the plugin as easy to use as possible.
Before you can control the plugin with the keyboard, you need to make sure one of the controls has the keyboard focus. You can give a control the focus by clicking on its label or adjusting its value with the mouse. When a control has the focus its label will appear in red. Then any keystrokes will be directed towards that control.
Here are all of the keystrokes that the plugin will respond to:
LEFT ARROW or SHIFT--TAB:
Move the focus to the previous control
RIGHT ARROW or TAB:
Move the focus to the next control
Increase the current control’s value by a small amount
Decrease the current control’s value by a small amount
Increase the current control’s value by a large amount
Decrease the current control’s value by a large amount
Some controls display their numeric value with a tooltip when you move them with the mouse. When you use the keyboard the tooltip will hover onscreen for about a second and then disappear.