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Enlighten me on Exponential Audio!

averystemmler

Active Member
EDIT: I didn't want to bump this thread, but I did want to post an update for anyone who stumbles on this later. I've since bought the stereo bundle (Nimbus, R4, and phoenixverb) and I absolutely understand the appeal now. Once you spend some time with the controls, you can dial in incredibly clean and transparent reverb with Nimbus for all sorts of source material. It just kinda fits without drawing attention to itself, and without cluttering things up. R4 is similar, on the "less clean" side, but I still need to spend more time with it.

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So, I've been on my bi-annual reverb crusade, and I figured I'd finally give EA another go. I had demoed something many years ago (PhoenixVerb, I think) and passed, but they get such praise that I thought I'd be remiss not to investigate. So, I now have demos going for every single EA reverb.

[SUBJECTIVITY WARNING!]

So far, I really want to like them, but the entire line - with the possible exception of some of the dense ERs possible in Stratus and Symphony - sound very old-fashioned. To me, what that means is that they can make some lovely tails, but they have a lot of very clear, static taps in both the early and late reflections that comb when close together and sound like a hailstorm when far apart. To me, this makes it difficult to use for spacializing dry signals, and potentially problematic when introducing the reflections inherent in wet ones. I've been able to find a decent compromise by noodling with the attack and ER modules, but even Stratus and Symphony with their dense reflections and more elaborate featureset, don't sound nearly as natural/unobtrusive to me as Pro-R, Breeze 2, or Seventh Heaven (convolution, but of an algorithmic unit).

My question: is this just a matter of taste, or am I missing something? If anyone has examples on hand of work they've done using EA stuff, I'd love to hear it!

Thanks!


As an addendum: I own the Lexicon PCM Bundle. I love the RandomHall, but I have almost the exact same feelings as the above with everything else. Perhaps that's sensible, given the pedigree. If I didn't already own the PCM bundle, R4 does have some really nice lush tails in that style.
 
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richardt4520

Active Member
I think it's just the style of reverb they're going for, as you mentioned about the pedigree (Michael Carnes being chief designer for Lexicon previously). It has that cloudy, grainy Lexicon sound that works great for some things and not others. I actually loved Phoenixverb for orchestral stuff for the longest but after trying Seventh Heaven Pro, I just couldn't go back to that for that use. SHP is just so much clearer and more 3d.

HDCart by Reverb Foundry (some of the Liquidsonics guys) does traditional 480L style verb so well I usually go to it for when I want that-usually electronic or rock stuff. EA seems too pristine for that use. So I definitely get what you're saying about it. it seems too cloudy for stuff that I want pristine and too clean for stuff I want character on.

I just bought Liquidsonics Lustrous Plates, and think I will start using it where I was using HD Cart. It's not as grainy, and sounds to my ears clearer and more 3d than even SHP! That would seem to be a negative when looking for character 480L style reverb but it sounds soooooo good on vocals that I think it's going to be hard not to use for that.
 
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averystemmler

averystemmler

Active Member
I just bought Liquidsonics Lustrous Plates, and think I will start using it where I was using HD Cart
I have a demo of Lustrous Plates going now too. :) LiquidSonics have really ruined most other reverbs for me. Honestly, SHP has even ruined other LiquidSonics reverbs for me. If my studio didn't need a million other upgrades first, I'd be drooling over a real M7 next, because nothing else I try can even surpass its convolution shadow (though it's easier to do weird stuff with Illusion).

I will try HD Audio Cart though. I didn't realize Reverb Foundry were ex-LiquidSonics guys..
 
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averystemmler

averystemmler

Active Member
Hi Averystemmler.
You have subtle and sensible hears ! I didn't heard that much in EA reverbs - I demoed and liked both R4 and Stratus but I must admit 7th heaven pro is a beast of its own, though I cannot afford it.

Have you tried VSR-S24 ?
A TC 6000 emulation/clone/software incarnation. A powerfull one at that. One you can demo.

https://relabdevelopment.com/product/vsr-s24/
I think it's less "sensitive ears" and more "mental sickness." :) I'm never sure my ears are telling me the truth, tricky devils.

If you can't afford Seventh Heaven Pro, I'd suggest the base version, perhaps on a sale. It's every bit as beautiful, just lacking a few features and with a smaller sampling of M7 presets. I'm sure I'd be just as happy with it if SHP didn't exist.

I've been meaning to check out the Relab stuff! Thanks for reminding me. There are so many reverbs.
 

wst3

my office these days
Moderator
I have the base version of 7th Heaven, and it is a lovely reverb. I also have Phoenixverb and R4, and they are lovely reverbs. I also have the UA EMT140, Lexi 224, and Lexi 480, and - you guessed it - they are lovely reverbs. I have others that are in fact a little more specialized, but I feel quite confident that lack of an appropriate reverb is not one of my problems!

I happen to really like the EA reverbs. That could be because I'm old and when I was learning Lexicon was the king of the hill, It could be that I'm old and my ears are shot.

I have considered upgrading 7th Heaven, but really haven't run into a situation where that seemed necessary. There are a couple others that have intrigued me, but again, lack of reverb is not one of my problems.

I don't think you can go wrong with any of these, and since it is possible to own more than one these days I think it provides options I didn't have 40 years ago.

OK, I am still looking for a truly brilliant spring reverb. But hey, where would I be if I was completely satisfied with my tools? I probably wouldn't be allowed to post here anymore!
 

clisma

Active Member
OK, I am still looking for a truly brilliant spring reverb.
Curious to see what you think about this (demo available): http://www.pspaudioware.com/plugins/reverbs/psp_springbox1

SH(Pro) really is fantastic all around. I think it does an outstanding job at short ambiences and putting instruments in a great-sounding space. The extra controls in the Pro version do come in handy from time to time, but I’m confident it would still be my favorite reverb without them.

I’ve had Phoenixverb by EA for a couple of years. I like it quite a bit, but sometimes it’s a little too transparent for what I want to do.
 

wst3

my office these days
Moderator
I have Springbox, and Nexcellence from PSP, and they are probably my favorites, at the moment, with moment being defined as during my first cup of coffee... I also have Overloud SpringAge and Softube Spring Reverb. They all sound great, they all sound different, and of course the feature sets are different. Sound comes first, control is a close second, so sometimes I choose a plugin based more on that which can be tweaked... sometimes.

And I do have a Masterroom XL121 spring reverb in the rack, beneath the Lexi PCM 90.
 
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averystemmler

averystemmler

Active Member
So I've continued to play around with every reverb I can get my hands on, and I've come to appreciate the Exponential Audio stuff on certain sources. Still difficult to wrangle, and still not my first choice for putting dry signals in a space, but I could see myself using them if money were no object.

All told, I like almost everything I've tried in this batch. HD Cart, all the Relab stuff (though I don't think I'm the target audience there), Illusion, Luscious Plates, Goldplate. Even the free dragonfly reverb isn't bad.

On the one hand, it's great to have so many amazing options. On the other hand, nothing really blows me away anymore. I had a legitimate emotional response when I first tried SHP, and I've been chasing that dragon since.

OK, I am still looking for a truly brilliant spring reverb. But hey, where would I be if I was completely satisfied with my tools? I probably wouldn't be allowed to post here anymore!
This isn't a recommendation because I've only poked at it briefly, but have you tried U-He's "Twangstrom"? I'd be interested in opinions, since my experience with spring reverbs comes entirely from dropping guitar amps.
 

wst3

my office these days
Moderator
<snip>On the one hand, it's great to have so many amazing options. On the other hand, nothing really blows me away anymore. I had a legitimate emotional response when I first tried SHP, and I've been chasing that dragon since.
I have been impressed or even blown away by several reverb plugins. It hasn't reached the level of the first time I used some of the older hardware, but then digital reverb was pretty new back then<G>!

I remember being very very impressed with the EA reverbs when they first appeared. Seventh Heaven also made a big impression. But the biggest "WOW" was heard when I tried the UA EMT 140 plate. That thing sounds like what I think a plate ought to sound like. It doesn't sound like a room (although way back when we all thought it did!). Their Lexicon emulations are equally impressive, and probably the first plugins of any sort where I am quite happy using the presets, at least as a starting point. (then again, the 224 and 480 are complex beasts!)

I'm so thoroughly happy with Seventh Heaven that I can't imagine upgrading to Pro, I'm probably missing something, but I haven't a clue what.

But I do get what you're saying... it is much harder to impress these days.

averystemmler said:
This isn't a recommendation because I've only poked at it briefly, but have you tried U-He's "Twangstrom"? I'd be interested in opinions, since my experience with spring reverbs comes entirely from dropping guitar amps.
Of course I never dropped an guitar amplifier... never even bumped one!

One of the plugins I have offers a "bump" feature. It is funny the first time, after that it becomes an effect, and one for which the call is small.

I tried Twangstrom during the public beta. It is very cool, and it isn't stupidly expensive, but I just didn't feel the need for another spring reverb. I may eventually cave. It sounds great, and it is very flexible.
 
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