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MountainRoad DSP Lumina Delay

MountainRoad DSP Lumina Delay

Tired of the same old delay effects? With Lumina, you can draw, position and shape your repeats any way you like.

Available for Mac and Windows and supporting AAX, AU and VST3 hosts, Lumina Delay from MountainRoad  caught my attention because it’s different from the countless other delays in my plug‑in folder: rather than setting familiar parameters such as the delay time and feedback level with knobs or faders, you click to place each repeat on a sequencer‑style grid. Download and installation was quick and easy: on purchasing, you receive an email with a licence code, and on first loading you just enter your email and that code. Job done.

On The Grid

On the main grid you can set the level of each repeat, position it in the stereo panorama, and shape it with high‑ and low‑pass filters, with each parameter given its own row. To ‘paint in’ a pattern of repeats, click on the grid and a repeat will appear, with controls in each row for manipulating it. This grid extends to eight bars, and you can set the resolution from whole bars down to 64ths, and specify normal, dotted or triplet. At the top, a red bar resembling a DAW’s playback selection loop allows you to zoom in/out to accommodate everything, or focus right in on the details (you can also do this with modifier keys and scrolling). The grid also adapts to your DAW’s time signature automatically, which is welcome.

You can define the tempo or sync to the host, specify the subdivision resolution of the grid, and choose to snap to it or place repeats freely.You can define the tempo or sync to the host, specify the subdivision resolution of the grid, and choose to snap to it or place repeats freely.On each row is a simple, intuitive control to adjust its parameter. For level, it’s a dot that you drag up or down to anything from minus infinity (muting but not deleting the repeat can be handy when experimenting) to +24dB, the middle position being unity. You can drag this dot to change the timing. The stereo pan control is similar, but with the centre‑panned position in the middle, left at the top and right at the bottom. As of v1.2 each dot for level and pan lights blue when the repeat plays and red to indicate clipping — a neat touch. The filters share a row whose control is a vertical bar, the top and bottom edges of which can be click‑dragged to adjust the high‑ and low‑pass filter frequencies, while moving the whole bar up/down tweaks both.

Global controls allow you to adjust each parameter separately, for all repeats, and the changes are reflected on the grid. There is also a global ‘delete all taps’ button, and some handy shortcuts. For instance, there are modifier keys to click and delete a node, to increase precision while dragging, and to duplicate a repeat. You can also right‑click to bring up a ‘precision’ menu, where you can reset the node, specify the time in milliseconds, and edit the parameter that node controls — very useful when the grid starts to get crowded.

Easy To Use

There are presets to help you get started and these can be fun, but Lumina is so simple to use that you won’t need them: you can create any delay pattern you desire, with whatever panning and filtering you want on each repeat, with shockingly little effort. It’s even possible to draw in simultaneous repeats that have different characteristics — if you want a low‑passed sound in the left speaker and a high‑passed one on the right, you can do that.

Since the repeats don’t automatically get quieter or degrade as they might with your usual delay, you really can design some incredibly complex rhythms and textures that you just couldn’t achieve with a typical delay. You could have a series of delays getting louder or brighter over time in one speaker and quieter/darker in the other, for example. Or have alternate repeats or every third repeat brighter or darker, softer or more strident than the others. Or automate the bypass to bring in machine‑gun stuttering as a special effect. The only limit is your imagination.

You really can design some incredibly complex rhythms and textures that you just couldn’t achieve with a typical delay.

Given how Lumina works, there’s no feedback control (that would get very messy very fast), and there’s no single knob you can turn for more complexity or a longer tail. The presets are all set to 50 percent wet too (a ‘wet lock’ facility to prevent presets changing the setting would be useful). I had very interesting discussions with MountainRoad on these points and more, and we should see some significant developments soon, including some more exciting ones about which I can’t divulge details now. But I think I can hint that there will be additional parameters available to process the repeats!

Already, though, Lumina is incredibly useful, it does something no other delay I have can do and it does it with minimal fuss. Sound designers should love it but it absolutely has a place in mixing, so if you’ve been pining for more control over your delays, go check out the demo!


With its novel approach, Lumina already reaches the parts other delays cannot reach — and it’s only going to get better from here!


£120 (discounted to £79 when going to press). Prices include VAT.

$149 (discounted to $99 when going to press).