We take a look at the new multi-effect plugin from the folk at Aberrant DSP in our SketchCassette II Review. SketchCassette II offers cheap tape sounds and lo-fi effects.
So at the time of writing this review, the latest version of SketchCassette II is version 2.1. As part of the installation options the ability to install earlier versions is there too, with version 1 available. For this SketchCassette II Review I’m using version 2.1 and Bitwig Studio 3.3.8.
Installation of SketchCassette II
I like a nice simple install, and this is certainly a simple install. Options for an AAX or VST3 install are there to choose from, my preferred option is VST3 and away we go. Fire up Bitwig and an auto scan of the plugin folder gives me SketchCassette II to start dropping on my tracks.
What’s it all about?
A little digging round in preparation for my SketchCassette II review offered up the general consensus that this plugin is for adding lo-fi and tape noise or hiss to tracks. The idea behind this as stated by the plugin developers – Aberrant DSP – is “Cassette Inspired Degradation”.
Gritty tape warbling and analogue style noise and destruction is what all this is for. Not everybody’s cup of tea but it certainly is mine. I’ve had my fair share of experimenting with tape and noise (see my tape loop noise sampler using a Roland JD-Xi video) and so I really feel at home with this type of sound.
Let’s press play on our SketchCassette II Review
Initial overview of SketchCassette II
SketchCassette II has a really unique interface, literally a sketch of a tape and loads of features which can be found in places we’d expect to see them.
Hover over the orange dots to explore the features:
Various presets including Classic tape, lo-fi and saturation variations.1 of 4
The “Age” option determines how warped and worn the tape sound is.2 of 4
Monitor the input and output of the signal through the plugin.3 of 4
Various options to experiment with to change the options within the effect.4 of 4
There are plenty of presets to choose from and they offer a wide variety of choice including:
- Old tape machines
- Saturation models
- Experimental modes
- Chorus modes
- Distortion amps
So there is certainly a good amount to help you get started.
A key player in SketchCassette II is the ability to vary the types of tape that are used when signal is passed through the plugin. From cheap audio cassettes to Type V CDX tapes, no detail has been overlooked when adding a variety of options to expand the realism of the plugin.
How does it all sound?
For the SketchCassette II review I experimented with a vocal sample and passed it through the plugin.
I tested a number of different plugin presets and was surprised to experience how many varieties of “tape” and “old sounding” audio were possible.
There are certainly some settings which may need headphones to determine the difference between as they were subtle, however the difference can be noted when tweaking values within the plugin main section.
When will I use this?
I can see me using this plugin on a number of areas of a mix, however I think for my style of music I will use it mainly on vocals. The nature of my electronic style sometimes limits me when it comes to “ageing” tracks, however many genres will certainly benefit from this plugin.
I can see it being quite at home in hip-hop, pop and synthwave styles. Anything which may want to take inspiration from the 80’s and 90’s sounds will hugely benefit from this plugin.
This is a great plugin at a great price. For those producers who want to experiment with a vintage sound in their mixes, this is the toy to use. It is priced right, and only for a little extra you get the ShapeShifter plugin too as part of a bundle. A worthy investment and will not disappoint. An easy 5 stars.