Velvet Machine is a little plugin that makes a big sonic blur

I had a binge after Christmas, buying up almost a dozen soft synths and VST plugins using gift cards and then my own money. I was drowning in sound but again and again my attention crept back to the simple sound generators and manipulator plugins that set a nice mood, inspire me or sometimes provide a finishing touch.

The Velvet Machine is one of my favorites. This app is simple but not ordinary. It is one of several designed by Yuri Turov but I think it is the most effective of the ones I have tried both in user interface and function.

Velvet Machine manipulates a sound by stretching and blurring it, somewhat similar to continuous reverb. You can produce interesting and surprising sounds with Velvet Machine. It can stretch a single note for up to 10 seconds and allows the creator to shape the envelope of the sound any way that you want.

What comes out are velvety, lush, beautiful, gliding sounds. You can make dramatic sweeps or subtle background effects with Velvet Machine. Setting the time to 10 seconds (the maximum) often outputs ambient suitable sounds. Shorter periods add a shadowy texture to sounds.

The interface for Velvet Machine is what I like the most. It’s simple and self-explanatory and it uses restrained colors. It’s very minimalistic and I found that the knobs fade away into the background when you’re working. You can get started without reading the manual, which is the best part of a new toy.

Velvet Machine by Phonolyth is available as an AUv3 plugin, $7.99 for iOS or $29 for macOS and Windows. A limited demo is available.