Softube Tube Delay – Mr Personality
Sometimes all you need is instant gratification, and when it comes to VST delay effects, being presented with a collection of great sounding and well-designed presets not only shows off the capabilities of the device well but helps get you in the zone faster with your productions.
Reminiscent of a vintage radio perhaps, the interface for Softube’s Tube Delay is pretty and well laid out, and in the non-typical styling of most VST delay units, the GUI is more akin to a guitar pedal than a studio rack device. Following the on-screen indicators, you have an interesting dual-drive control setup. The top dial affects the dry signal output, and the bottom is the delay saturation. It’s a cool system that allows semi-parallel saturation effects on your signal – amazing on guitar and bass.
Delay controls are just simple time and feedback dials, plus you have treble and bass controls that affect both dry and wet signals. So the large mix control interface balances internal effects, not the output mix as you might expect.
The interface is a little dinky on my HD monitor, a scaling option would be nice. There is a totally pointless setup menu containing a single entry allowing you to disable the value display – requiring a total DAW reboot. Just dumb.
In use, the dual-drive controls are a lot more musical than you might think. Whereas a typical delay processor might have a delay amount or mix, being able to drive the signal before the effect results in much more pleasing results, again something guitarists will appreciate more than perhaps sound designers.
Tube Delay has a wonderful warmth without the massive wall of sound you typically get from thickening-up delays. It looks more retro than it sounds, but the benefit is you can further add reverb and chorus to achieve that rockabilly or surf guitar tone you’re looking for without risking too much blurring or mud from this stage of your FX chain. The device falls short of the performance possibilities of a Roland Space Echo, but as a set-and-forget element in your guitar template, this is a strong consideration.
Unfortunately, Tube Delay is a DSP hog, drawing around 8% per instance on our system. Not enough to cripple your machine of course, but a consideration if you’re already starved for horsepower on your mix.
At $99 this is a pricey device, considering there are some excellent alternatives out there, many for free. However, there is a definite personality with Tube Delay you will find hard to achieve from a single unit alone elsewhere. Try the free 20-day trial on Softubes site, you might find this is the right level of vibe and character you’ve been missing all these years.