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Reviews Audio Plug-in


LiquidSonics Seventh Heaven Professional Review

The reverb from heaven? The second version of Reverberate, LiquidSonics' flagship product, completely blew us away with its Fusion-IR technology because it actually provided an unheard-of flexibility and audio quality in the small world of convolution reverbs. read more…

A review of the Universal Audio Fender ’55 Tweed Deluxe plug-in

Tweed Indeed Universal Audio has released plug-ins for quite a few guitar amps in the last couple of years, but its new Fender ’55 Tweed Deluxe is its first foray into the Fender amp world, and it’s a doozy. The plug-in, which is officially endorsed by Fender, recreates a mid-‘50s-era Deluxe model 5E3, a vaunted amp that could deliver everything from warm clean tones to creamy smooth distortion. As with any UAD-2 plug-in you need either an Apollo interface or other UAD-2 hardware to run it. read more…

A review of the PSP 2445 Digital Reverberator plug-in

A Powerful Ambience With the release of version 1.2 of its 2445 reverb, PSP now has the official blessing of EMT, the company that made the outboard reverb units modeled in this plug-in. We figured that was a good reason to take this baby for a test drive. read more…

User reviews on Audio Plug-in products

A Multitude of Reverbs that Sound Utterly Real (Eventide - SP2016 Reverb)

By MGR/Brian Johnston, 09/09/2019
This overview considers the 2016 Stereo Room, the SP2016 and the Blackhole plug-ins by Eventide, which with its own demo.

2016 Stereo Room
Natural and organic sounding, Eventide’s 2016 Stereo Room set the standard with its unique sound and spin on room reverb. Originally from the SP2016 rackmount, this plug-in offers delay lengths, reflections, and other properties that are truly distinct. The parametric controls are simple and intuitive to achieve various room sizes with unique characteristics (including a control for precise mic placement, diffusion from sharp to rich and dedicated EQ controls). There are plenty of reverb types for guitar, drums, vocals, strings, horns and synth, with some artist presets by Joe Chiccarelli, George Massenburg, and Dave Pensado. All in all, you can get some very lush and subtle sounds, but also cavernous reverbs that almost echo in their feedback.

Overall, I am impressed with the number of great drum reverbs, with each sounding utterly unique and different from the next – and all useable. However, I am equally impressed with how a small boost of reverb from the 2016 Stereo Room plug-in thickens up a guitar tone without it sounding like traditional reverb (the Subtle Stereo and Vocal factor presets are awesome). When used in moderation, the reverb combined with an acoustic guitar sounds utterly life-like – as if you’re sitting in the room listening.

SP2016 Reverb
Developed in 1982, the SP2016 set a standard for its signature and lush reverbs that have been used in several top hits and with top artists. Now available for DAW, you get six distinct reverbs that are some of the most natural sounding in the industry. There are authentic emulations of Room, Stereo Room, and Hi-Density Plate algorithms, each available in two versions: Vintage and Modern. The Vintage algorithms are the same found in the original rack-mount SP2016 version, including bit-depth, whereas the Modern algorithms are brighter, more diffuse, and use a higher bit-depth.

There are many reverbs and versions of each reverb possible with this plug-in, besides all the adjustments possible, but I kept my demo simple by integrating short, medium and long reverbs on synth (and instrument emulations, like flute, violin, sax and choir), a drum track, and electric guitar. As you listen to the demo do keep in mind that I recorded all tracks dry, while adding the SP2016 (which does not swallow much memory and I could apply the plug-in to several individual tracks). What will be obvious is how authentic these reverbs sound, from the early reflections to how the echo density increases with time, but also the smooth decay of the reverb tail. All in all, like other Eventide effects, these reverbs sit so well in a mix that they naturally sound part of the music atmosphere, rather than an added effect.

Besides some basics, including unique reverb for various instruments and voice, there are several presets created by top studio mixing engineers, including Dave Pensado, Richard Devine, Joe Chiccarelli, Sasha, etc. Their creations are based on the parameter control capabilities of the SP2016’s pre-delay, decay, position and diffusion; as well, there is an EQ section that allows for high and low (cut/boost) filtering of the reverb with adjustable filter ranges.

Not your typical reverb, but one of an extraterrestrial nature that defies typical sound effects. If you’re looking for that creepy, eerie and lingering reverb with harmonic tails that places your instrument in a different realm, this plug-in is it. And for that cinematography edge you can’t do much better. It is without question that when I created a demo for the Blackhole plug-in I focused on a cinema-based soundscape – it seemed so obvious a choice.

Although some of the reverb presets are extreme and otherworldly, Blackhole works so well in creating drones and subtle effects that sound utterly real and three-dimensional. And with a host of editing options there’s nothing you cannot do to create that ethereal reverb you always heard in your head, but couldn’t create until now. And so, not only do you get 50 great presets, but there is a ‘Gravity’ control to reverse time and invert the reverb’s decay. There is a Kill Switch so that you hear only the reverb effect. There is a Mix Lock to allow for the scrolling of presets or settings while keeping the wet/dry constant. There’s a Ribbon and Hot Switch that allow for changing any combination of parameters simultaneously. And you can apply Blackhole in mono or stereo. To appreciate its full capabilities, I encourage you to investigate Blackhole with a free limited trial download.

A Plethora of Effects and Customization for Unique Tones (Eventide - H3000 Factory)

By MGR/Brian Johnston, 12/09/2019
The H3000 Factory is a DAW plug-in that re-creates several key algorithms from the H3000 Harmonizer® effects processor (rackmount unit). There are over 450 presets, along with 100 artist presets (and over 100 original presets from the H3000). Amazingly, you can combine upward of 18 effects blocks in any number of configurations with elements such as sweepable delays, 19 wave shapes, filters, pitch shifters, mixers, modulators, oscillators, envelope generators, etc. Some effects can be locked into a tempo and each preset can be adjusted in real time or synchronized to a session. There’s also a Snap Shots section that allows you to create variations on a preset and then select those sub-presets at a click of a mouse.

Although there are many presets and effects made for drums, voice, bass, synth, etc. (and some do not even require an input as they are sound generators), I focused on the electric guitar. My first interest was with pitch shifting, and although many can sound dissonant when high in a mix, they produce some noticeable fatness and depth when low (25%) in the mix, which is what I did in the demo’s samples. I also included some of my favorite delay presets, as well as some presets that are not strictly delay, pitch shifting, etc. Hours of discovery and fun, the H3000 Factor plug-in offers a wealth of awesome and unique sounds.

Huge sounds and clear complexity (Eventide - Octavox)

By MGR/Brian Johnston, 15/09/2019
A massive diatonic harmonizer, you can output up to eight voices based on a chosen key and timing interval (I also demo the Quadravox later in the demo, which offers similar presets, but with four voices). This plug-in is based on the Eventide H8000 hardware effects processor, allowing you to stack harmonies, make instruments sound thicker and more massive and, of course, create rhythmic sequences. With 70+ presets you can tweak to your heart’s content and develop unique layering by manipulating each voice independently with different panning, delay times, feedbacks, pitch, etc. For the musically minded (those into theory and who read music), each preset includes a Notation Grid that shows the pitches on a music staff and with a quantized grid for placing notes over time (color and brightness indicate pan and level for each voice); this allows for a more musical programming experience.

And if you’re into MIDI, each voice can be set to a MIDI note, including voice shift amount (pitch bend) and randomization (modulation wheel). For example, this allows you to change voice key/scale intervals on the fly as you perform or record voice. Some other useful features include the MixLock (which keeps the wet/dry of the effect static as you scroll through presets or user-defined snapshots) and the Key Lock (which locks the key and scale). And since each preset can have nine Snap Shots, you can create variations on a theme and select them at a click of a mouse.
The demo accompanying this overview uses nothing but guitar, but it doesn’t take much imagination to think how this plug-in can work with drums, synth and voice.

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sonible smart:EQ+ Summer Sale

Published on 07/12/17
Get 30% on breakthrough EQ technology – through July 21st

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