I have loved the sound of a good plate reverb on drums for some time now, but I have to say I am starting to rethink that with the Altiverb plug-in. I could very well start using The Great Pyramid of Giza as my go to reverb from this day forward!
I then tried one of the other real spaces, Saint Quen Cathedral, but even after reducing the reverb time, it still sounded too bloated. I then reduced the level of kick going to Altiverb and it all came together nicely. The result is a much warmer sounding reverb than the Great Pyramid, but still very usable in it’s own right.
Next I tried my local venue, the Sydney Opera House which defaults to 18m stalls with a 4.9 second decay. Once again I backed off the reverb decay a bit and it sounded good, but then I switched to 12m choir stalls and something happened to the stereo spread of the reverb, something very nice.
Moving right along, I tried the 20th Century Fox Scoring Stage, a very different space to the Sydney Opera House that worked well on the drum kit, and equally well on the full band but could have benefited from a little less bottom end and the Altiverb plug-in allows you to do just that. So with a 15dB cut in the bass, I listened again, much better.
This is one of the great things about Altiverb, apart from being very easy to use, it still has enough flexibility to tweak the presets to your liking. The tone controls are perfect for tuning a reverb space to your needs, and of course the decay time, damping, pre-delay etc all add to the tool kit for tweaking a response.
After being lost in real world spaces for days, it was time to get back to why I started testing Altiverb, the impulse responses of hardware reverbs. In essence what we have here, is impulse responses of hardware reverbs, trying to emulate real world spaces. It would seem we are going around in circles somewhat, and with the real world spaces that Altiverb offers, you do start asking yourself, why bother with the gear samples at all?
The simple reason is that the hardware reverbs had a character to them, particularly the old plate reverbs like the EMT 140 and the Ecoplate. In total Altiverb offers five different EMT 140 reverb impulse response sets, yes, from five different EMT 140 plates as they all sound a little different.
The AMS RMX 16 is represented here as well, along with other reverbs of interest such as the Klark Teknik DN-780 which I like a lot, and of course Chris Lord Alge’s favourite, the Sony DRE-2000 which offers up the best samples of this reverb yet. Yes you get a bit of a taste of this reverb with the Slate VerbSuite Classics, but it pales next to what is on offer here. As well as a couple of Yamaha classics, curiously there is an incorrectly labelled Sony SDR 1000, which is actually the Ibanez SDR 1000. Yes it is based on the Sony MU-R201 but the 1000 (not the 1000+) uses different algorithms to the Sony MU-R201.
There are some very rare hardware reverbs here, such as the Infernal Machine 90 and the Ursa Major Space Station SST-282, character reverbs if ever there was one! Lexicon is well represented of course, with the Lexicon 480L and Lexicon 224 both present. Everyone will have their own reasons for wanting these hardware reverbs, if like me you already have the Lexicon reverbs Plug-in then they may be of less interest to you and so for me the Sony DRE-2000, Ecoplate and Klark Teknik DN-780 are of most interest. There is something here of interest for everyone though I think.
More tricks up it’s sleeve
Audio Ease Altiverb has a few very useful tricks up it’s sleeve, one in particular took my fancy. There is a gated reverb section that allows you to add a gate to any reverb you have selected. It has two options for the gate time, Realtime which allows you to manually select when the gate will come in, and Beats, which automatically applies the gate based on the BPM of the song.
It applies the gate a quarter note after the drum beat which is perfect. But, if that is not suited to your needs, you can select the note value that does, very nice touch. To test this I selected the Klark Teknik DN-780 Hall preset which has a 7 second decay, I then selected gated reverb option Beats and had an excellent gated reverb on the snare.
You can also import impulse responses form other sources, either purchased or self created. The process is as simple as drag and drop and works very well. I tried this with an impulse response of the Sony MU-R201 Preset 31 patch supplied to me by a Vintage Digital member some time back. There was nothing to fix or tweak after the drop in, it just worked and sounded just like the real deal.
In addition to the bass and treble controls, there is also a graphic equaliser built into Altiverb. This equaliser features a low and high shelf, plus two mid band controls.