Hot to tape: Lo-Fi tape effects with Drift

How many lo-fi effects does a producer need? Drift might be the last one you ever get. This plugin from SoundGhost does such a great job that it has become my go-to VST when I think I need some warm texturing or kink in my mix.

Drift is a great and very descriptive name for what Drift is all about. It is a lo-fi tape machine effect that adds reverb-like FX and a chain of imperfections to your sound. The effects differ — as much as we think we know what we want, these can add an element of surprise to your output. Drift sometimes give me what I didn’t know I wanted or only had an idea of what it should sound like but no idea how to get it. There are crinkles, hiss, flutter, saturation and a warm, warbly sound that I really like. It’s like throwing a bunch of tape artifacts into a tumbler.

There are profiles of 8 different kinds of tape you can select, from cassettes to VHS and reel to reel. Each of them do something a little different. I’ve heard stuff like this in hip hop and down tempo music before: the keys that sound a little out of tune like they were recorded from a film projector that was playing it at the wrong speed for a second and then jumps and catches itself. There are a few different ways to get that, including pre-made sample packs, but I like Drift’s output, because I don’t know sometimes what I’m going to get with it.

I know things like UI shouldn’t matter when you are shopping plugins but it does when they look this cool. SoundGhost has this minimalistic interface that is fun to play with. The eight dials — saturate, tape, width, noise, mix, fail, flutter and “wow” — are simple circles with a line, clearly labeled and they do things with the effects when you move them. Reading manuals is keen, you should read them but there is something awesome when a plugin is designed so that you want to open it after install and just play. I opened it up and used some longish samples with Drift and immediately saw what this could do. Plug’n’play makes for fun plugin play.

Drift is £29 (discounted from £39 for launch), a demo is available at