UVI’s Rotary sets out to embody the spirit and character that made the rotary speaker so fondly loved. We get hands-on to see how it fairs…
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You’ll know the distinctive sound of the Leslie or rotary speaker. It’s that swirling effect so beloved by jazz musicians – who use it on organ sounds – and by bands including The Beatles, Pink Floyd and The Beach Boys – who experimented with anything from pianos to guitars through the dual speaker system.
A rotary speaker uses a two-way bass-and-treble speaker setup which literally rotates at varying speeds. This can be controlled by the user to create the swirling effect that can sound slow and pulsing at what is called the Chorale speed and more like a tremolo effect at higher speeds.
There have been several emulations of the speaker over the years and this one, Rotary from UVI, claims to be both a homage to the original and an evolution of its sound.
It’s a straightforward download and installation process that requires an iLok account, but this is pretty easy to get and activate the software with (the iLok activation software is included with the download).
The interface is simply stunning and by that, we mean ‘simple’ and ‘stunning’. A Brake ‘lever’ selects three positions between the aforementioned Chorale and Tremolo settings, both adjusted with ‘classic’-style rotaries. Four more of these adjust amplifier settings for Drive, Horn and Drum (the treble and bass speakers) plus overall Gain. Do be careful with the Gain setting, as the presets do run quite hot – so be prepared to reduce levels.
Once you get dialling – and do this before trying the presets – you’ll see what drama can unfold. And what sonic mayhem! The Drive is beautifully grungy and the speed controls add even more variation than you can believe (or remember from the real thing) very quickly.
The best fun, though, is with the mic-placement controls in the top half of the screen. These can be moved individually, or the controls alter their angle, distance, skew and width together to get some incredible variations across the stereo image.
You should try Rotary with non-organ or expected sounds – imagine you’re a Beatle while you’re at it, why don’t you? It’s a stunning plug-in effect that almost becomes a creative synth on any sound you choose. Superb.
UVI Rotary key features
- Rotary-speaker emulator
- Choose mic positions with four options
- Two speed controls and manual switcher
- 24 presets across five instruments
- 7 amp models
- Secondary menu for Drum, Horn, Box and other settings
- Mac and PC, AU, VST, AAX formats
- Requires iLok account
A creative effect that offers drama, dirt, tremolo and swell, all behind a simple. Quite brilliant.