My reverb adventure reaches an end....

Mike T

boring member
I like a lot of reverb on music, whether it's real instruments in real space, or virtual instruments in sample world. Some people think lots of reverb is for beginners only. I think... no.

If you follow the VI-Control Discord, you may have noticed that I've been obnoxiously caught up in reverb experiments over the last few months searching for just the right sound. I've tried pretty much every plugin out there which is available for demo (and where the developer's ridiculous installation process hasn't waylaid me (I won't point fingers here)), and crowd sourced help for those I couldn't (except Altiverb, which remains the last significant one which is mostly unexplored for me). I've also spent most of my life so far listening carefully to large spaces, recorded and in person. Too much tinkering has been happening recently, seeing how close I can push these plugins towards "reality." Finally, I feel that I've arrived at a useful conclusion.

Keep in mind, I don't have famous ears. I'm just somebody who is particularly interested in this part of making music and the physics behind it. I could be way off, if there's any objective way in which to measure this stuff, or at least way off from what your own ears tell you. Also keep in mind my goal, which is realism, whatever that means. Especially in terms of very long tails. Some plugins that I tried would probably never claim to be built for realism, so this isn't a dismissal of anything not named except in this specific context. Few that I tried, if any, were BAD. Some were just less appropriate for my needs.

The four "winners" were, in order of overall sound and experience from best to less best: Seventh Heaven Professional, Valhalla Room, Flux/IRCAM Verb, Relab LX480.

Starting with the LX480, it just sounds fantastic. It provides enough control to get close to what I was after, but it's still a model of something inherently a bit unreal (though this clearly doesn't *necessarily* matter based on my top pick) and so falls a little short. But man, does it sound nice, and I was surprised how flexible it was.

Of these four, Verb might have the potential for the most realistic sound. At any settings, it seems to treat whatever you feed it in a way that no other reverb I've tried does: it makes it sound like something that's actually further away from you, instead of something that's just filtered etc. That said, as you might expect from something involving IRCAM, it's quite powerful... maybe too powerful. To get the most out of its parameters, you need some fair understanding of acoustics, and even then, it seems like a bit of a crapshoot. This isn't remedied by the stripped-down Verb Session, which ends up not being tweakable enough. So while there seems to be immense potential in this one, it's the most difficult to get good results with.

Valhalla Room. I've used Valhalla Room almost exclusively for about four years now. It was always the one to beat when I've tried other stuff, and nothing ever did. It's not perfect, but it has a certain tangible life and excitement to it that I haven't been able to find elsewhere.

But... I sold it yesterday, and will be getting Seventh Heaven Professional later today, barring any major changes of heart. What this one slightly lacks compared to Valhalla Room, that sense of chaos/real air, it makes up for in a more appealing overall tone. The basic version of the plugin was not enough for me to dial in the sound I wanted, so I'm glad iLok wouldn't let me demo it a second time and forced me into the full version. The enthusiasm about it is justified. I get the feeling from it that I'm hearing sound reflect off of real stone, as in a cathedral. Beautiful tone.

One thing I will say about my move away from Valhalla Room: I think it may have to do with a change in the samples I use. When I first got Valhalla Room, I was still using relatively dry, un-positioned stuff. For that purpose, I suspect it may still work better than Seventh Heaven. However, having moved on to using pretty much only in-situ VIs, I'm looking for something else to be added to the sound, which Seventh Heaven provides more effectively.

Anyway, pointless post which is meant to just consolidate my thoughts on this I guess. Maybe now I can find my way back to actually doing some music. I hope you're all well!
 

hbjdk

Active Member
I share your enthusiasm for Relab LX480, which I've demoed.

Strangely enough it sounds more "real" to me than for instance EW Spaces II.

I remember running a cello from EWHO through the Wooden Room-preset on the Relab LX480 and thinking to myself: "this sounds like a celloist playing in a real room".

Whereas many reverbs to me sound like...reverbs. Like something that's been artificially put onto the original sound.
 

drews

New Member
I share your enthusiasm for Relab LX480, which I've demoed.

Strangely enough it sounds more "real" to me than for instance EW Spaces II.

I remember running a cello from EWHO through the Wooden Room-preset on the Relab LX480 and thinking to myself: "this sounds like a celloist playing in a real room".

Whereas many reverbs to me sound like...reverbs. Like something that's been artificially put onto the original sound.
The LX480 has been ingrained into our heads since childhood, i think thats why everyone loves it so much including myself. i think Lexicon's own version plugins sounds a tiny bit better but theres no more development for it and the lead developer left a while ago so its a dead plugin.
 

doctoremmet

Senior Member
Great post @Mike T - thanks. Of these four, I have 7H (albeit Core) and the LX480. I am probably the only forum member (well, now you are #2) who doesn’t own Valhalla Rooms. I am curious, is there a Discord backlog somewhere where one can trace back your reverb journey? I am curious why other contenders failed. I love reverb shootouts! Also very curious about the differences in sound between 7H Core vs Pro. Did you test the Relab VSR S24 as well?
 
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Mike T

Mike T

boring member
I don't know if it'd be worth going over my ramblings again. Wouldn't be easy to do in any case. The main things working against others typically had to do with how different frequencies decayed over time/how adjustable this was, how the "attack" of the wet signal behaved, the reaction to abruptly stopping loud sounds (i.e. releasing a tutti pipe organ chord), and the quality of any filters being used, high or low.

The difference between the Seventh Heaven versions is in how programmable they are, not the sound, though Pro has many more IRs if I understand it correctly.

I did not try the other Relab, sorry.
 

doctoremmet

Senior Member
I don't know if it'd be worth going over my ramblings again. Wouldn't be easy to do in any case. The main things working against others typically had to do with how different frequencies decayed over time/how adjustable this was, how the "attack" of the wet signal behaved, the reaction to abruptly stopping loud sounds (i.e. releasing a tutti pipe organ chord), and the quality of any filters being used, high or low.

The difference between the Seventh Heaven versions is in how programmable they are, not the sound, though Pro has many more IRs if I understand it correctly.

I did not try the other Relab, sorry.
Np! I quite enjoyed your concluding remarks in the initial post!
 
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Pier

Senior Member
I am probably the only forum member (well, now you are #2) who doesn’t own Valhalla Rooms.
I sold Room too a couple of weeks ago, along with other Valhalla plugins I never use.

I kept Plate and VVV which get the most use from me. I think Pro R is more realistic and works better on acoustic material, but somehow I prefer these two for electronic stuff.
 

dgburns

summer of pickles and IPA beer
No, I think this has been quite enough. The only step I can take from here is purchasing a cathedral.
Yes, the sound in the real thing is on another level. Especially those in France and Italy, if you’ve had the chance to explore. I was in the Vatican, and it was a glorious reverb. Been in the church in Cremona, Italy too, that’s the town that Stadivarius and Amati lived in, it had a tail that went on forever, actually too long-they would have heard it too, it was around in their day.

I used a Lexicon 480 back in the day, the reverb is fake, but pleasing. You will find others in your quest for that 3d sound that real life gives you. We’re a long way off. I’ve resigned myself to just accept it.

Right now, for me it’s all about surround reverb. That list narrows down alot.

Valhalla room is good, but it’s a stab at that swirly lexicon sound. B2 from 2C Audio is still my fav for stereo. Cinematic Rooms is the best right now for surround. Next year it will be a new list, lol.
 

jononotbono

Luke Johnson
I do love Valhalla Rooms but I just bought Creative Rooms Pro and am loving that now! I really want to try Seventh Heaven after now realising how good Creative Rooms is.
 

Trace

Sound Addict
I’m new here, but I am surprised that no one in this thread uses Altiverb. I have Valhalla, and the LiquidSonics verbs that come with the Slate subscription. I also have all of the UA and Waves verbs. UA does a respectable impression of the Lexicon verbs, if not entirely authentic. Yet, with all of these, Altiverb gets used most.

if I need a more soundesigny type of verb, I’ll sometimes use Reaktor. i will also combine verbs for this purpose.

interesting thread.
 

doctoremmet

Senior Member
Altiverb was (or maybe still is) Jake Jackson’s favorite reverb, IIRC from the Spitfire Audio blind tests they did (which are great fun to watch). For convolution a lot of folks here prefer Spaces (II). I tend to use 7H and for other IRs Waves IR1. Also, a lot of algorhitmic ones of course. Altiverb absolutely gets a lot of attention and love when you search for some of the older threads on here. No worries!
 

Trace

Sound Addict
Altiverb was (or maybe still is) Jake Jackson’s favorite reverb, IIRC from the Spitfire Audio blind tests they did (which are great fun to watch). For convolution a lot of folks here prefer Spaces (II). I tend to use 7H and for other IRs Waves IR1. Also, a lot of algorhitmic ones of course. Altiverb absolutely gets a lot of attention and love when you search for some of the older threads on here. No worries!
No worries. I’m definitely an equal opportunity sound addict. My view is, whatever you as an artist prefer, that’s the right tool. Everyone has a personal aesthetic.
 
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Mike T

Mike T

boring member
I expect great things from Altiverb for a couple reasons, but they don't offer any demos and the price is quite steep to go in relatively blind, especially when the list of IRs that I'm interested in is so small compared to the entire collection. Similar to why I still don't have Omnisphere....
 

I like music

Senior Member
@Mike T did you ever have the chance to try reverberate 2? Wondering what the differences are in verb quality.

Though I had forgotten that 7th heaven offered a trial. May just do the trial!