PSP 85 is the product of our eternal fascination with the endless possibilities offered by variable sample rate delay lines. PSP 85 benefits from aggressive algorithm optimization and adds numerous significant new features. The plug-in comes with sixty wild and twisted new presets designed to highlight its exciting new attributes.
- predelay for creating complex rhythmic patterns,
- delay line output panning,
- delay gating offers extended control over number of echoes and their level,
- automatic ducking (with auxiliary sidechain input option), the invaluable tool helping to preserve sound clarity by attenuating superfluous echoes that would have been otherwise masked by hot input signal,
- filter resonance modulation,
- LFO song position synchronization for repeatable playback results,
- input muting allowing to connect the delay lines in series when used on mono tracks,
- 64 bit audio stream support (only refers to VST format),
- continuous control over delay time with little harmonic distortion thanks to real-time multipoint resamplers,
- modulation signal generator consisting of LFO with five click-free waveforms and an envelope follower,
- 12dB/oct filter with adjustable cutoff and resonance as well as saturation
- flexible filter routing capabilities,
- vintage reverberation module for faithful simulation of spring and plate reverb characteristics,
- edge-filtering of abrupt parameters changes for smooth and click-free operation,
- support for sampling rates of up to 192kHz,
- MIDI and VST automation of all parameters.
What Goes In
There are two key concepts in managing a variable-sampling-rate delay like the PSP 85. The first is the buffer. Although not exactly how it works, you can think of samples from the plug-in's audio input as being stuffed into the buffer at one end and, once the buffer is full, emerging at the other end for further processing and playback. If, for example, your DAW's sampling rate is 48,000 samples-per-second and the buffer holds 48,000 samples, the delay time will be 1 second. The buffer size is roughly analogous to the distance between the record and playback heads of a tape delay like the classic Echoplex units.
The second key concept is the plug-in's sampling rate, which you can change and modulate. You use the Manual knob to set it between 0.5- to 2.0-times the DAW's sampling rate. If you halve the plug-in's sampling rate, for example, it grabs every other sample from the incoming audio, and, therefore, the buffer takes twice as long to fill up, and the delay time doubles. Changing the sampling rate is similar to changing the tape speed of a tape delay, and you'll hear the consequent temporary shift in pitch while the rate at which samples emerge from the buffer differs from the rate at which they were captured.
The PSP 85 now has separate tabs for setting the left and right delay parameters—the settings to the left of the digital readout (see Fig. 1). The black buttons labeled Num (numerator) and Den (denominator) set the delay time and operate differently in Time and Beat (tempo synced) modes.
In Time mode you use the buttons to increment and decrement the time, and the Shift and Command (Control on the PC) keys increase the step size from 1ms to 10ms and 100ms, respectively. The grey bar between the buttons acts as a hidden slider to scroll the time setting. In Beat mode the left button increments the number of beats and the right button increments the beat division (quarter-note, eighth-note, and so on). Holding the Shift key causes the buttons to decrement the values.
The Pan knob at the top controls the feedback routing back into the delay lines; the Pan knob at the bottom is for output panning. The Gain knob controls feedback amount, and the Gate knob lets you attenuate the delay output, which is a great way to tame busy delay setups. Buttons let you invert the phase of the delay and feedback as well as to mute the input for a 100-percent wet effect.
You'll find extensive modulation options using a built-in LFO and envelope follower. You choose an LFO rate in Hertz or beat-divisions (now syncable to song position), pick a waveform (optionally offset in phase between channels), dial in a mix of the LFO and envelope follower, and set the envelope follower's sensitivity and attack/release speed. You can route the modulation to the sampling rate (initially set by the red Manual knob) using the VCO MOD knob. You can also route it to the filter cutoff and resonance using the CUTF MOD and RESO MOD knobs.
After delay processing and modulation, the PSP 85 offers a multimode filter and basic reverb unit. (Notice that you get buttons to turn the sampling-rate, filter, and reverb sections off.) The filter types are highpass, bandpass, and lowpass, and you can insert the filter at the input, before the feedback return, or at the post-FX output. The mixer offers input and output gain, dry/wet mix, and ducking-threshold controls. Ducking uses the input signal or an external sidechain input (when supported by your DAW) to duck the wet output. It's great for thinning out a busy delay setup. The Bypass button adjacent to the mixer bypasses the wet output, but the unit keeps processing, so you can use Bypass as a real-time control.
The PSP 85 comes with 60 new presets and is compatible with PSP 84 presets, which are included as a separate bank. The new presets run the gamut from refreshing to devastating, but they especially illustrate how subtle and useful PSP 85 can be. I ran through the factory presets on comping parts (keyboards, guitars, and backing vocals), drums and percussion, and leads (where they are best used sparingly). I used the one-click MIDI-learn scheme to map the MIDI mod wheel to the Gate knob and the sustain pedal to the Bypass button, and playing with the PSP 85's presets kept me busy for hours.
- VST3: Windows x32 or x64 (7, 8 or 10); VST3 compatible application
- VST: Windows x32 or x64 (7, 8 or 10); VST 2.4 compatible application
- RTAS: Windows x32 or x64 (7,8 or 10); ProTools 8.0.0 (or later)
- AAX: Windows x32 or x64 (7,8 or 10); Pro Tools 10, 11, 12 or ProTools HD 10, 11, 12 or ProTools Ultimate
- All DAWs: The latest iLok License Manager application installed
- AudioUnit: Mac OSX 10.8 – 10.15 or later; 32 or 64-bit compatible host application
- VST: Mac OSX 10.8 – 10.15 or later; 32 or 64-bit VST 2.4 compatible host application
- VST3: Mac OSX 10.8 – 10.15 or later; 32 or 64-bit VST 3 compatible host application
- RTAS: Mac OSX 10.8, 10.9, 10.10 or 10.11; ProTools LE 8.0.0 or ProTools TDM 8.0.0 (or later)
- AAX: Mac OSX 10.8 – 10.15 or later; ProTools 10, 11, 12 or ProTools HD 10, 11, 12 or ProTools Ultimate
- All DAWs: Up to date iLok License Manager application installed