Price $79 ($29 intro, until 31 May)
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The new sonic possibilities afforded to musicians and producers in the 80s by Eventide and Lexicon are revisited in Nembrini Audio‘s Shimmer Delay Ambient Machine. The plug-in comprises four effects blocks: swell, delay, octave down, and shimmer, covering upward pitch-shifting from 1 to 12 semitones.
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The combination generates a swelling, somewhat crystalline ambience that suits a range of sources, from guitars to beats. The UI is straightforward and scalable with a logical left-to-right signal flow and colour-coded effects blocks that are bookended by input and output meters. Shimmer Delay is easy to set up and adjust, which may feel at odds with the complexity of the sound which emerges from the plug-in.
A swell start
First in line is the swell module with an auto-swell time control range of 3 seconds, or from 1/16th to 1 bar in sync mode. You can apply Swell to the delay input only, to both dry and wet signals or bypass it altogether. Flexibility is extended with three ramp shapes: linear, logarithmic and exponential. Anyone familiar with the Boss Slow Gear pedal, or its clones, will know there is a knack to getting a consistent response to your input – guitar or otherwise. The sensitivity knob sets the threshold for triggering the attack ramp, and there’s plenty of range, but if you’re going all-in with the dry signal, too, then finding the sweet spot can take time as you balance tracking artefacts and a jumpy response. Once dialled in, the Swell effect is key to the dreamiest of Shimmer’s sounds.
The five knobs of the delay module deliver all that’s needed: time (sync or ms), feedback, high/low cut filters and an offset function for stereo spreading. This becomes something less standard with the swell effect engaged as the transient-free repeats create a smooth response that’s more reverberant than echoic. In combination with the final two modules, Shimmer lives up to its name as pitching enters the delay feedback path.
Smooth my pitch up
The down octave section’s level and regeneration controls provide a simple tool for filling in a weighty aspect to the delay, and with swell engaged, you can set up a smooth low-end counter rhythm. Sprinkling a crystal glitter coating on the delay is the shimmer module, which carries additional controls for pitch (up 1-12 semitones) and distortion, which adds harmonic hair to proceedings. This can be anywhere from subtle to dominant and take the sound into ice caves, with the pitch control determining their harmoniousness.
Overcooking the regeneration is not a pretty sound, but keeping near the edge adds a whining akin to pulling out the high stops on an organ. Paired with the swell and down octave modules, this effect takes the ordinary delay at the core of the plug-in and makes it into something pleasingly creative and atmospheric.
Shimmer Delay’s sensible selection of controls allows for plenty of exploration and creativity away from the classic twinkly Harmonizer delays, whether it sits in the middle or at the end of an effects chain. Its overall utility is aided by being able to switch the swell and pitch shifters in and out. Even without delay, the swell module can prove useful with other effects. The $79 licence means it’s not necessarily a bargain, but there is a range on offer that will make it a price worth paying for many.
- MacOS 10.9+ / Windows 7+
- Intel CPU, 16GB RAM
- 64-bit DAW
- iLok account required
- Effect combines reverb, pitch-shifting and feedback
- Automatic swell section with tempo sync
- Tempo-synced delay with high and low-cut filters
- Sub-octave generator
- Tunable upward pitch-shift effect
- Wet/dry mix
- AU, AAX, VST2, VST3