Finisher RETRO is the streamlined vintage multi-effect from UJAM. Learn more about how it can add color and character to your projects in our UJAM Finisher RETRO review.
Producers, artists, and listeners alike have finally decided that music in the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s sounded better. It sounded warm and authentic with heaps of character and more attitude.
We want to go back – and in a way, we are.
The retro tones that characterized past decades have surged back into trend once more, and the music industry is rolling back the years.See also: UJAM Releases Finisher Micro FREE Multi-Effect VST Plugin
Plugin publishers are now working their socks off to digitize the analog gear that made the music sound so awesome ‘back in the day’ – this is the motive behind Finisher RETRO by UJAM.
Finisher RETRO is a suite of analog emulation effects modules wrapped up in a clever and streamlined package.
But does it cut through the noise of the crowded analog emulation plugin category?
Back To The Retro Future
Finisher RETRO is a deceptively simple plugin that contains 50 separate chained effects modules.
These vary from tape flutter and various old-school reverb simulations to tube distortion, tape hiss, vintage flangers, and delay.
Every module is faithfully and meticulously modeled on the classic analog gear that inspired the plugin. UJAM clearly knows their stuff, and there are no rip-off analog tones here; the plugin sounds like the real deal.
The modules are divided across 50 ‘modes’ spread across four decades: the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s.
The plugin’s interface is quite minimalist, much like the rest of the Finisher product lineup. Finisher RETRO sports a total of five rotary controls. Depending on the selected mode, these controls will represent a different control parameter or effect.
The large ‘Finisher’ control provides you with an easy way to alter the main sonic characteristic of the active preset. It is a godsend for speeding up the workflow when browsing through presets and searching for the best way to add a bit of retro flair to your music.
You can’t change the modules individually (e.g., assign a different module to a knob) – they’re dictated by the mode.
It might seem a bit confusing – hence why I said that the plugin is “deceptively simple.” But in the end, the modes are well designed, and scrolling through them is swift and intuitive.
You won’t struggle to find cool and useful sounds straight away – just slap a drum or guitar loop on there and flick through to your heart’s content.
In addition to those 50 modes, there are 100 presets in total. These are organized into six different categories:
In summary, you have 100 presets divided into 50 modes spread across four decades and five controls – definitely more than what meets the eye.
“Sounds Too Clean To Me!”
When you’re producing a track from instruments recorded via digital gear, software instruments, and samples, there’s often a point during the mixdown where you think: “It’s just too clean!”
It’s a paradoxical situation; modern music has become so clean that producers want to make it dirty again.
All those painstaking hours that audio engineers put into creating the cleanest pre-amps, mixing desks and software with the lowest noise floors, etc. Gone in the flick of a switch!
This isn’t a complaint from me at all; I love the retro audio aesthetic – the fact that it’s back ‘in vogue’ is one of music’s pleasing ironies.
It’s a similar story with vinyl. Millions of vinyl were dumped or given to charity shops or junk stores in the 90s, and now we’re digging back through them again!
You only have to look at some of the latest music production software releases to see how tape and tube emulation have taken the audio production industry by storm.
That’s why plugins like the Finisher RETRO by UJAM occupy such a strong niche in the plugin market right now.
But Does It Do The Job?
I have a few analog emulation plugins, but this one offers more than most I’ve ever used.
The tone is superb, and there’s ample space for experimentation and variation. The hypnotic subtlety of layered reverbs, tape echoes, and tube emulation is often quite beautiful.
I actually listened to the same jazz drum loop on repeat in the ‘Tube Colors’ mode while writing most of this article – very satisfying!
You’ll quickly find an appropriate Finisher RETRO mode for every track in your project if you want to go all-out with analog emulation. You could even stick it on your master bus to ‘analogify’ your entire project.
I also really liked the snippets of information given for each FX mode.
For example, the ‘Degradation’ mode says:
“Roughs up your signal on multiple levels, starting with analog imprecision and ending with brutal early 80s digital artifacts.”
There are plenty of vintage coloration options to choose from. For example, one of the modes called ‘Too Old Tube’ emulates the sound of a malfunctioning tube that needs replacing.
The plugin says, “Don’t close the plugin before running some drums through this,” so I did. Finisher RETRO sounds superb on a drum bus, adding grit and character across the board.
Another notable feature for me was the Subharmonics mode which created some fantastic sounding bass harmonics. These sub-bass sonic enhancements could be helpful in any genre of modern electronic music or even cinematic sound design.
Surf Amp also sounds great – very authentic. It’s a quick little tool for enhancing a DI guitar track.
Finisher RETRO – The Verdict
Overall, Finisher RETRO is a very impressive and great-sounding analog emulation plugin.
I said ‘analog emulation’ as it’s a convenient way to sum it up, but there’s tons of depth and flexibility to this plugin.
Once you dabble, you’ll probably want to go through your back catalog of productions and stick this on a bunch of the tracks (like I did!)
More info: UJAM Finisher RETRO ($99)
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UJAM Finisher RETRO Review
Finisher RETRO is a handy suite of analog emulation effects modules wrapped up in a clever and streamlined package.