I have been using Soundtoys plug-ins for a few years now and I truly love what these guys do. Where most plug-in manufacturers focus on compressors, limiters, gates, delays and reverbs, Soundtoys have offered a little bit of that but also something a little different. If you love the Eventide series of harmonizer effects boxes and are seeking a plug-in to replace your beloved hardware, then take a serious look at the Soundtoys 5 plug-in suite because it will certainly fill the gap your Eventide will leave.
There is a very good reason for that too, you see the engineers at Soundtoys are the very same guys who developed the software for those classic Eventide Harmonizers so to say they know what they are doing is a massive understatement. The range of plug-ins in the Soundtoys 5 suite is amazing and offers a broad range of manipulation using the individual plug-ins, but more so when using them in combination.
Having shown the world what they can do with Soundtoys 5, the team at Soundtoys turned their minds to reverb for the very first time and their target was simply one of the most iconic reverbs of all time, the EMT 140 Plate Reverb. The original EMT 140 was released in 1957 and remained in production until the early 1970s, such was the quality of the reverb it produced. A few other manufacturers have tried to copy it, including the excellent Universal Audio EMT 140, an excellent plug-in for sure. So what makes the Soundtoys Little Plate my preferred option?
To put it simply, it is the ease of use: one large reverb decay control, low cut, modulation and the wet/dry mix control. But even simpler than that, the presets that come with this plugin, are capable of producing truly excellent results, so if you are not one to fiddle with the controls, this plug-in is for you as Soundtoys have done their homework and provided some great preset options to get started straight away.
I must point out, that this is not a straight replica of the EMT 140, and I have no way of comparing it to an original EMT 140, I can however judge it for how useful it is. Soundtoys took things a bit further by offering far more decay time that the original plates could offer, and also adding in that modulation option to spice things up a little. Both of these options simply expand the options for this great little reverb.
I am always searching for the perfect snare drum reverb and loving plates on snare, that is where I focused my testing of the Soundtoys Little Plate. The following examples are a simple mix with light instrumentation so that you can focus on the snare easily. Starting with the ‘dry’ snare, I moved through a bunch of the presets available, so take a listen!
As you can hear from the above samples, this is a lovely reverb that works particularly well on snare. My favourite would have to be the Thin Shorty, which offers a beautiful stereo spread on the snare that sits nicely in the mix. Air Plate preset also sounds excellent and because it is using the low cut and cutting everything below 1kHz, it leaves the mid-to-top end of the reverb only. By doing so it can allow a complex mix to still have a great reverb on the snare without clouding the mix.
At a cost of only US$99 this plug-in offers outstanding value when compared to other EMT 140 plates plug-ins. Universal Audio’s EMT 140 is US$199 plus you need UAD hardware, so the Soundtoys Little Plate is a no brainer at US$99. The UAD plug-in does offer more control and perhaps more flexibility but if you are on a budget and are looking for a killer plate reverb, look no further.
The SoundToys Little Plate Reverb plugin is a great reverb that sits well in a mix. Pricing is good and using it is simple, and sometimes that is all you need. Highly recommended.