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Can cheap reverb software rival expensive software?
#3050296 06/22/20 02:23 AM
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Sundown Offline OP
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Hey all,

Plugins have advanced tremendously over the last 20 years and I still consider reverb to be Mt. Everest. That was probably true before even the advent of plugins and PC/Mac software. Digital reverbs (e.g. Lexicion, AMX, etc.) took a lot of number crunching power and R&D.

So in this day and age, is it possible that a $50-100 plugin can rival a $300-600 plugin? To get really lush tails and high-quality ERs, do you need to spend $500-600 on Altiverb or the Lexicon PCM series? Or is it possible that a smaller player or independent coder could crack-off a world-class algorithm?

Now in my case, I primarily do New Age / EDM / AOR keyboard music so I'm not really looking to emulate realistic acoustic spaces. Most of my needs are plates, synthetic reverbs, and small halls with short decays to glue together a mix.

Just curious for your thoughts.


Sundown

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Re: Can cheap reverb software rival expensive software?
Sundown #3050300 06/22/20 03:05 AM
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Other people will disagree. But it's important to remember a couple of things.

1. Older digital reverbs often didn't have the best A/D and D/A converters in the world. OTOH that was part of their "character."
2. Better reverb = more DSP power. This is true for hardware or software reverb.
3. Convolution reverb is a whole other animal. I created a bunch of impulses to do really long reverbs that didn't relate to acoustic spaces per se.

There a some great software reverbs out there. To my ears the Abbey Road Chambers are exceptional. Breverb makes some great reverbs, but so do many, many other manufacturers.

But, the reality is that nothing is going to sound like a bona fide acoustic space. At least not yet smile

Re: Can cheap reverb software rival expensive software?
Sundown #3050316 06/22/20 04:48 AM
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Last year I got a deal on IK Multimedia - one of their "tiered" sales. It reached "Buy One, Get 11 Free" and I bit.
I paid $129 for one plugin and got 12 total so that's a little over $10 each.
One of them is CSR Hall, which runs in TRackS. They have a free version of TRackS but it also runs as an independent plugin.

I really like it, it sounds beautiful.

Recently, Waves has put a ton of plugins on sale with a "Spend $50 and get a plugin free" deal. I got 2 - 29.95 plugins and got IR-1 convolution reverb with over 4 gigs of convolution reverbs for "free", that's about $20 per plugin.
I haven't fired it up yet but the demo videos indicate it is really good.

So yes, you can get a lot of great sounds for not much money but you have to play the game and jump in when opportunity provides.


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: Can cheap reverb software rival expensive software?
Sundown #3050342 06/22/20 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Sundown
Plugins have advanced tremendously over the last 20 years and I still consider reverb to be Mt. Everest. That was probably true before even the advent of plugins and PC/Mac software. Digital reverbs (e.g. Lexicion, AMX, etc.) took a lot of number crunching power and R&D.

So in this day and age, is it possible that a $50-100 plugin can rival a $300-600 plugin?

Can the Taj Mahal rival your bathroom? (as a reverberant space, that is wink ) The trick with using reverb in a mix is to find the one that works best for your music. If much of your music is similar in frequency range, instrumentation, and tempo, you might find one size that fits nearly all. But there really isn't much correlation between lushness, atmospherics, size, adjustability, and price.

AMX recently re-introduced their most famous hardware reverb and it's attracted a fair amount of attention because it invokes a sound of the 1980s, including the warts. But there are so many software reverbs out there, many free, many you probably already have, that, if you can't find something among them that works for your song, you're probably looking for the wrong thing,

Choosing a reverb is like choosing any other sound or process - you need to pick something, listen to it, if it's not quite right, play with its adjustments, and you'll probably find something that will allow you to move on to the next step happy with your choice. If it's totally wrong you can probably guess it by its name.

Re: Can cheap reverb software rival expensive software?
KuruPrionz #3050485 06/23/20 03:14 AM
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Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
One of them is CSR Hall, which runs in TRackS. They have a free version of TRackS but it also runs as an independent plugin.

I really like it, it sounds beautiful.

I agree. CSR Hall is ancient by DSP standards, but it sounds great...especially if you know how to make it do your bidding.

I haven't mentioned HD Cart too much because Dave Bryce is involved, and I don't want to be a shill. But, it's a very interesting reverb. It has elements of algorithmic reverbs, because that's where it came from, but there's a bit of a convolution quality - not sure where that comes from, technically it doesn't make sense. Regardless, when you want lush/deep reverb, it's really impressive. CSR Hall has more of a "diaphanous" quality, which I also like.

Interestingly, when SONAR died, I was afraid the edition of Overloud Breverb that came with it was going to die, too. There's a Breverb preset that I absolutely LOVE, and I wanted to see if CSR Hall could do it...and it could. Breverb still works, but if I ever open up a Cakewalk project and it says I can't use Breverb, I'm covered.

Re: Can cheap reverb software rival expensive software?
Anderton #3050490 06/23/20 03:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Anderton
Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
One of them is CSR Hall, which runs in TRackS. They have a free version of TRackS but it also runs as an independent plugin.

I really like it, it sounds beautiful.

I agree. CSR Hall is ancient by DSP standards, but it sounds great...especially if you know how to make it do your bidding.

I haven't mentioned HD Cart too much because Dave Bryce is involved, and I don't want to be a shill. But, it's a very interesting reverb. It has elements of algorithmic reverbs, because that's where it came from, but there's a bit of a convolution quality - not sure where that comes from, technically it doesn't make sense. Regardless, when you want lush/deep reverb, it's really impressive. CSR Hall has more of a "diaphanous" quality, which I also like.

Interestingly, when SONAR died, I was afraid the edition of Overloud Breverb that came with it was going to die, too. There's a Breverb preset that I absolutely LOVE, and I wanted to see if CSR Hall could do it...and it could. Breverb still works, but if I ever open up a Cakewalk project and it says I can't use Breverb, I'm covered.

The reverb time and mix knobs are my friend!!! I get a good variety of ambiance and it seems fairly natural as long as you don't go HUGE.


There is never enough time to be in a hurry...
Re: Can cheap reverb software rival expensive software?
Sundown #3050652 06/24/20 12:10 AM
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Thanks for the feedback, guys. Just for fun I picked up Abbey Road Chambers (it's hard to resist when Waves does their ridiculously deep discounts), and it does have some pretty unique ambiances. But Boy, is it a CPU hog... I'll definitely be upping my buffers and latency when mixing with this one. My PC was a high performer in 2012 but not so much now. But it's also not far enough behind to warrant a new one.


Sundown

Just Finished: Condensation; Two Button Press
Working on: The Jupiter Bluff; Fishing in Kingsbury
Main axes: Kawai MP11 and Kurz PC361
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Re: Can cheap reverb software rival expensive software?
Sundown #3050829 06/24/20 10:03 PM
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One of the places where artificial reverb falls down is early reflections, but there's a workaround...put a speaker and mic in your bathroom, remove any shower curtain or towels, feed in some audio, and mix in the return with your reverb. It doesn't take much to add an air of authenticity that you don't get with electronics alone.


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