Transit feels like Baby Audio’s ‘Greatest Hits Deluxe Double Album’ – a defining album, with a polished sound combining years of developing their craft. Just don’t assume it’s for transitions only.
Baby Audio has come a long way in a short amount of time. They’re not so much ‘Baby’ anymore – in fact I think they’ve entered a mischievous teenage phase, with each new release becoming more disruptive and creative.
There’s certainly a lot of love for them online, and there’s no doubt you’re already familiar with Transit as each release swarms YouTube upon release. In this case, it was made in partnership with the OG YouTuber Andrew Huang while the smooth-talking Venus Theory also features with presets. Huang also delivers presets with a full library of over 300 patches deep.
A part of me wishes I’d got this review published earlier. A prison break gripped the news last week in the UK as an inmate escaped underneath a transit van. Basically, the keyword was hot, but I missed the boat! Illness and the wish to spend some serious time with the plugin took hold. In fact, on a side note, it’s an interesting bugbear of developers that reviewers overlook critical elements in their creation in a rush to get something published. So here’s our practical excuse for this being turned in late.
Transit targets a growing multi-effects sector in plugins. It’s probably closest to Toolroom’s Infinite – in that both are muli-effects designed and marketed towards helping you speed up transitions, breakdowns, risers etc. For those of a particular vintage, this is nothing new; The Riser anyone? But these multi-effects plugins are miles ahead of what something like The Riser is/was. Yes, they will instantly boost your transitions, but they can be used for far more than that.
Having released a tonne of exciting effects – Crystallix, iHNY, Super VHS, Taip – It feels like Baby Audio has been working towards Transit.
In our hybrid tutorial/review, we’ll run through the main features of Transit and then explore a few use cases. We’re also working with Transit 1.1, which ironed out some release bugs.
[quote align=right text=”It feels like Baby Audio has been working towards Transit – their Greatest Hits Deluxe Double Album”]
The Main Features of Transit
Let’s handle the main chassis first – the 18 modules:
Auto Pan: Automates your stereo field with user-defined control over shape, width, and rate.
Bitcrusher: Reduces the sound accuracy of digital audio by reducing the bit depth and/or sample rate.
Chorus: The Chorus module introduces subtle variations to your sound through time and pitch adjustments, creating the illusion of multiple “voices.”
Delay: A delay unit with a twist. Activating the “Tails” feature allows the delay tail to persist after the transition concludes.
Distortion: Has various modes (tanh, atan, fold, rect, and hard) from subtle harmonics to complete transformation.
Filter 12: This module features a straightforward two-pole digital filter with standard filter types, capable of accentuating or attenuating specific frequencies in your audio.
Flanger: The Flanger module duplicates your audio, introduces a slight delay, and blends it with the original signal, resulting in a swirling, otherworldly effect suitable for various applications.
Noise: Generating white noise through a digital oscillator, this module offers tonal versatility via its own resonant filter, ranging from bright and airy to deep and warm. It can inject energy into audio during build-ups, create classic EDM sweeps, or serve as a standalone sound generator for soundscapes.
Osc: Featuring four basic wave shapes (Sine, Saw, Square, Triangle), the Osc module allows pitch control in musical notes, making Transit a playable instrument. It’s ideal for creating risers, tonal sweeps, or generating melodies with randomized modulation.
OTT: A classic multiband compressor, OTT enhances audio details and imparts a contemporary sheen, making it invaluable for build-up moments. Live users will recognize the name from the ‘Over The Top’ preset in Live’s Multiband Compressor.
Phaser: This module introduces modulated frequency peaks over time, creating an underwater-like effect at higher values. It adds captivating motion to your audio.
Pitch Shift: Independently adjusts pitch without affecting playback time, the Pitch Shift module is perfect for creating pitch bends, unique sound effects, or giving vocals a modern twist.
Pump: Offering a ducking effect similar to sidechain compression, the Pump module is a versatile tool for creating rhythmic motion and space within your mix.
Reverb: Simulating spatial depth, the Reverb module enhances your audio with a sense of space. Activating the “Tails” feature allows the reverb tail to persist after the transition concludes.
Spread: This module adjusts stereo image width, allowing you to expand or narrow the soundstage to suit your needs.
Tremolo: Modulating volume in a rhythmic pattern, the Tremolo module introduces gentle motion or more aggressive audio-rate variations.
Utility: A versatile workhorse module featuring gain, pan, and tone controls. It facilitates signal adjustment throughout the processing chain, ensuring optimal level, stereo placement, and tonality. Experimenting with Utility before Distortion or OTT can provide added sonic firepower.
Each module has a handful of presets each also. Furthemore with each module, you can toggle on/off Motion meaning they toggle between Static and Dynamic parameter modes. Dynamic have start and end points, but static makes them standalone of the Transition Control. This is helpful if you don’t want a certain Module, or individual parameters on the Module, to be routed to the Transition Control.
All of the effects above are controlled by one main parameter, the Transition Module. This is the mainframe of the plugin and controls various controls across your modules such as the Mix, Cutoff (filter) and Amount (AutoPan). You’d spend a lifetime making Effects Racks achieve this result. It’s great.
By hitting the yellow arrows at the top of the Transition Module you’re presented with some advanced features taking it from Macro Mode to Sequencer Mode. With Sequencer Mode enabled you can program sync’ed transitions. You can set the length of the sequence with Bars, the divisions 1/16 up 16/16, Pendulum runs your sequencer in a Ping-Pong style, and Loop Mode makes your transitions pulse back and forth. It works just like an LFO tool without all the fiddly setup.
How Does It Sound
Transit has ‘that’ Baby Audio sound – it’s clean, precise/detailed, and full of character. Let’s take a look at some of our favourite sounds in use.
Here’s our track – a 140 BPM distorted techno tune:
Here it is with the preset Transition Sweep Up & Out with the Transition Control automated on the master channel:
This preset, The Classic, is also automating the Transition Control on the master channel. Wait for it….sure it’s cheesy…but kinda fun.
In this example, we have used Sequencer Mode on drums. We have set it to Loop mode with the sequencer filtering each bar downwards. The type of effect can work well on a turnaround at 16 or 32 bars.
In this example, we have created a sound of our own. You can ‘clear your chain’ and then build you own very quickly.
The multi-effects space is not saturated with choice. You’ve got the excellent Infiltrator 2 and the aforementioned Infinite, but Transit adds far more macro control. If you are constantly buying effects racks, or making your own, you’ll going to enjoy Transit.
The last thing to mention as a serious uptick is the Randomization. This simple dice roll will fill your window with the maximum number of modules, seven, and then randomize their order and settings. That’s like toggling through presets on an Effects Rack and an excellent song starter.
One gripe is that, despite some serious power (at low CPU usage), it feels Baby Audio might be holding back. Where’s Super VHS or a Beat Trigger (a no-brainer for transitions)? Also, and this is grumpy old man territory, it would be great to have a help feature that displays on the selected parameter rather than working through the Quick Start guide until you land on the part you’re querying. A UX more like the Info view in Live would be better. But as the old adage goes, leave the audience wanting more – right?
Generally, it’s hard to ignore how easy music production is getting. Some will bemoan that, and others will embrace it. Transit is one of those plugins designed to make music-making easy but the worry is, if music is not already, production will become homogenous. Fortunately, Transit has enough going under the hood to encourage the most demanding sound design requirements.
Top Tips For Getting Going
- Set your Transition Knob to full and toggle through presets. It’s practical to listen to them at their fullest before pulling back the amount.
- Use it as a live performance tool by triggering perfectly timed automation patterns with the Motion Sequencer (which will start exactly on the next bar after you press play).
- Use multiple instances of Transit on various channels. One can be on Sequencer Mode and the other with static effects.
- Use it on a bus or sends – great for hi-hats or vocals where you want to group hi-frequencies together and add dynamic effects.
- Approach it as a quicker version of Effects Racks in Live
- Use the Sequencer mode as a modulation source – a pre-made LFO tool.
- But…also use multiple LFO devices to modulate the modules further.
Transit is out now. It’s available in VST, VST3, AU, AAX at $99 (intro price $59).
[rating buy=”Transit” price=”$59″ link=”https://babyaud.io/transit” build=”5″ value=”5″ versatility=”5″ sound=”5″ ease_of_use=”3″ overall=”4.5″ text=”Baby Audio comes of age with a powerful multi effects rack.”]