Baby Audio has refreshed their 80s Yamaha-inspired BA-1 soft synth with a free update. You get a new arpeggiator, more controls, plus an FX strip that lets you use the BA-1’s retro effects with other sources.

There’s a lot of retro stuff out there, but the BA-1 at least has a rarely-modeled source – Yamaha’s lo-fi CS01 synth, cheap 1980s chic. That’s a love/hate thing – I was in the love camp. But clever additions like making an effect that modeled the internal speaker added at least some fun twists. Read my original review:

I’ll admit I haven’t picked it up so much since then, though – now I’ve refreshed my interest. And given the effects section was a big part of the draw, Baby Audio has done the logical thing and split out an FX Strip so you can use other inputs.

The FX Strip offers a lot of the unique work from Baby Audio – the speaker modeling, the drive circuit, and chorus. They look vanilla, but sound lo-fi in a really particular way. These are fairly exotic tastes, so it’s useful having the tone controls and reverb and delay in there, too.

Don’t underestimate these effects, either. I find Baby Audio’s stuff is often useful way outside its usual context – take their Super VHS plug-in, for instance.

You also get more controls in the synth itself:

  • Built-in arpeggiator
  • Full-range chorus control
  • LFO adds Fade and Chaos controls
  • Improved preset navigation
  • New black UI theme

In the first version, the chorus and LFO were a bit crude to control, so that’s a welcome change. One gripe, though – the LFO targets the filter, but they left it out of the FX Strip! There’s also no black option for the FX Strip, only beige. (Uh, 1.6?)

Other than that, this is good, clean fun. Now, note that this is only the desktop (macOS/Windows) version – that FX Strip would sure be fun on iOS, Baby!

It’s on sale now, as part of the upgrade launch – available discounted from Plugin Boutique:

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Baby Audio BA-1

They also shot a video tutorial, which is good because I don’t wanna. I will go play with it, though!