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Reverb Hardware vs. Software
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Guitars, Basses, Amps & FX  
Author Reverb Hardware vs. Software
woodrowhood
Hardware (I assume) is always the correct answer. I'm a big fan of Strymon and Empress. But is there a software plug-in that can come anywhere close to hardware reverb? Sometimes I need a good software plug-in when working in a DAW. So far, Adaptiverb has proven worth the money. Are there others?
anarchy4bits
have a bigsky and love it, but like the sound of valhalla a little bit more.
SB-SIX
My favorites are also empress and strymon, but I do love valhalla vintage too. Can't say one is better than the other, they are just very different. What also comes really close to the bigsky is toneboosters reverb 4: https://www.toneboosters.com/tb_reverb_v4.html
Very affordable, lovely interface and lots of options, including shimmer.
nrg242
The Slate Digital Verbsuite mimics a great deal of hardware quite well. big fan of Valhalla. when really getting down to mixdowns, the EQ sculpting of Fabfilter Pro-R is quite handy.

Soundtoys Littleplate and Kush Goldplate are both really good plate reverbs, but i guess limited in their overall usage.
nostalghia
I've used various Lexicon hardware digital reverbs in the past (as well as real springs and plates), but my current "go to" source of 'verb is the plug in Aether from 2CAudio. It's algorithmic, rather than convolution/impulse based reverb software. Does a great job of emulating any of the hardware classics, can do both realistic spaces and unnatural, weird, huge, etc. Tons of parameters to tweak and save your edited version, or just go through the 450+ presets (or use one of the space type macros as a starting point).

They also have a lower priced reverb plug in, Breeze 2. Free trials for Mac/PC available on their site-try it out, see what you think since of course personal taste in effects varies so much. I personally love Aether (also got two of the preset expansions) and have no need or desire for any other form of reverb-use it every time I open my DAW (Cubase). It's not cheap at $250 USD (goes on sale once or twice a year), unless you compare it to hardware of similar audio quality.

https://www.2caudio.com/products

To me, hardware only still makes sense if you play live and want a box with knobs or don't want a laptop on/off stage. Or I can see wanting an Erbeverb or Magneto module if you want to modulate with CV to make an effect that evolves with a patch (especially with generative/drone stuff), or to insert it in the middle of a modular patch (process one voice only, before/after filter, etc) instead of using as an end-of-chain overall reverb. Otherwise, software is cheaper, sounds as good or better and doesn't take up space.
woodrowhood
Aether from 2CAudio is amazing. But it's also $$$. Cheaper than hardware, though. Looks like I need so save some pennies.
lisa
Since computers got powerful I have never felt any need for digital hardware reverbs. On the other hand I’m not into making ambient and I really feel that there is such a thing as too much reverb (that could even ruin a good track) so I might not be the best judge of these things. smile

I use many instances of D16 Toraverb at low wet levels in all of my tracks.
nostalghia
woodrowhood wrote:
Aether from 2CAudio is amazing. But it's also $$$. Cheaper than hardware, though. Looks like I need so save some pennies.


Same price as Adaptiverb which you already own, right?
Couple of possible options to help save fewer pennies:
1) Sell Adaptiverb (on Reverb.com?!) if their licensing policy permits it, and you think Aether would be a suitable replacement after trying the demo.
2) Wait for the next sale from 2CAudio -think Aether was $150 last time, so $100 below regular price. Maybe check on cyber Monday or around holidays next month?
3) Try the demo for Breeze 2.1, which is more or less "Aether light". If you like it as well or think it's close enough, it's $125 now, maybe $75 if 2C runs a sale.
locust_locust
Hardware is just software in a discreet box.

Try Valhalla, Eventide Blackhole and Fabfilter Pro R.
Muzone
I got Eventide Ultraverb bundled with an audient interface and that together with Valhalla VV covers all my conventional reverb needs.
If I want a bit more creative verb then I use audiority grainspace which really is "instant ambient" type stuff smile

https://valhalladsp.com/shop/reverb/valhalla-vintage-verb/
https://www.eventideaudio.com/products/reverb/reverb/ultrareverb
https://www.audiority.com/shop/grainspace/
milkshake
jonne74
I love Valhalla and Fabfilter, but Exponential Audio (Nimbus/R4) is king. Much pricier though.
Jean Luc Cougar
I use a mix of both:

Software:
Eventide Ultraverb and Blackhole
Valhalla Vintage Verb
Ableton Convolution

Hardware:
Alesis MidiVerb II
Ensoniq DP4

I hate to say it, but honestly the $50 MidiVerb II really does sound better than any software I have tried. Way more depth, and somehow just sits better in the mix.

I travel a ton, and honestly tracking hardware can be tedious so I’m always looking for a better software solution. Lately I have been using Ableton Convolution with old Lexicon (70, 480, etc impulse responses) and I’m really pleased with the results (better than any Algo based software I have tried at least)
BananaPlug
Quote:
Hardware (I assume) is always the correct answer.

Caves, Silos, Tanks...
Or closer to home, basements. hyper

And do check out this fun demo.
Chevron87
In terms of reverb and hardware vs software this is likely one area where the software does a great job and matches hardware.

I am thinking of the amazing Altiverb which will give you almost any sounds you're after, plus a whole lot of bizarre and interesting sounds.

Then you got the excellent Valhalla verbs, Waves Abbey Road Plates and H-Reverb, UAD AMS RMX Verb + AKG BX22 + Lexicon 224. Also the Soundtoys Little Plate is seriously cool.

The only hardware units that I can't quite match for flawless and pristine verbs is the Bricasti M7 - but this is a very precise and lush verb, and obviously spring reverbs are hard to match for the depth and insanity..
dubonaire
One think to be aware of is that reverb is processor intensive. I like using hardware digital reverbs because it's all they do, but I can't put my hand on my heart and say it really make a difference. I've loved the VST reverbs developed by Sean Costello who I think is possibly the best in the business. I personally enjoy the user experience of using pedal reverbs because I find that a more enjoyable workflow. YMMV.
hippo1
+1 to Sean Costello, especially the VintageVerb. For me, THE software king. (If other companies actually use his designs.. it's gotta be good!) Out of the box, my fav is the BlueSky; though to me, sounds a little clinical/clean compared to the abilities of VintageVerb (once you start reaching back in time).

I was always under the assumption that reverb is, and always has been (with VERY few exceptions) digital; as others have stated, whether it's a box-with-knobs, vs (nowadays) in-the-box, it's all about workflow and preference.

Live and 'just jamming', I'm all hardware.
Recording in the DAW, software.
BailyDread
woodrowhood wrote:
Hardware (I assume) is always the correct answer. I'm a big fan of Strymon and Empress. But is there a software plug-in that can come anywhere close to hardware reverb? Sometimes I need a good software plug-in when working in a DAW. So far, Adaptiverb has proven worth the money. Are there others?


Strymon uses SHARC processors in their pedals. UAD also uses SHARC processors. Are UAD reverbs "hardware" to you? They have some of the best reverbs IMO, but I agree that Strymon is absolutely killer.
CrysWiz
nostalghia wrote:
I've used various Lexicon hardware digital reverbs in the past (as well as real springs and plates), but my current "go to" source of 'verb is the plug in Aether from 2CAudio. It's algorithmic, rather than convolution/impulse based reverb software. Does a great job of emulating any of the hardware classics, can do both realistic spaces and unnatural, weird, huge, etc...

...To me, hardware only still makes sense if you play live and want a box with knobs or don't want a laptop on/off stage. Or I can see wanting an Erbeverb or Magneto module if you want to modulate with CV to make an effect that evolves with a patch (especially with generative/drone stuff), or to insert it in the middle of a modular patch (process one voice only, before/after filter, etc) instead of using as an end-of-chain overall reverb. Otherwise, software is cheaper, sounds as good or better and doesn't take up space.


I almost completely agree. Unless you want the visceral experience of using the hw or you are playing live and don’t want a computer than sw is the way to go. In my live rig which usually does include a computer i still bring my old Korg 16bit rack mount reverb. It’s easier to deal with in real time and takes a load of the cpu (i still use a reverb or two in software but 1 less reverb counts.)
Valhalla is amazing for the money, Aether for the ultimate flexibility, convolution for realism (esp smaller spaces.)
unclebastard
If I'm recording at home, software- either Audio Damage Eos 2 or their plate reverb ( whose name escapes me right now ). For live use, Zoom MS-70CDR: I know it's software in a box, but this box is less susceptible to live conditions than a laptop.
cretaceousear
Surreal machines Diffuse is good for weird /epic echos, all cross mixable with reverb. But doesn't have many plain and simple settings out of the box. I got it free when they launched - currently on offer at $25
calaveras
locust_locust wrote:
Hardware is just software in a discreet box.

Try Valhalla, Eventide Blackhole and Fabfilter Pro R.


Mostly true, but there are some differences. I assume that the folks who design these hardware reverbs are taking into account the transfer function of the input and output signal path. They can even add a pre-emphasis curve o nthe input, then subtract that with an inverse curve on the output.
This may be done to mitigate a flaw in the converters they use, or just because our hearing is more sensitive at certain midrange spectra.
The same algorithm will not sound identical when you are using the latest greatest 32 bit 192khz ADDA.

I actually read a write up in tape op (I think) a while back that described somesuch nonsense about a particular hardware digital reverb. And I know they do emphasis curves on physical plate/spring reverbs.
That article got me really into using EQ on my aux sends to shape reverb and delay tone. It's hugely effective!
rens
So, ive yet to find a software emulation of a spring that does it for me. Not psp or softube for sure. I have real springs on my guitar amps and i patch them into a radial tank driver for line level. I use the h9 live often but its not really the thing either. But surely there must be something useful in the plugin world? Any recommendations? I think theres a newish one from u-he?
calaveras
rens wrote:
So, ive yet to find a software emulation of a spring that does it for me. Not psp or softube for sure. I have real springs on my guitar amps and i patch them into a radial tank driver for line level. I use the h9 live often but its not really the thing either. But surely there must be something useful in the plugin world? Any recommendations? I think theres a newish one from u-he?

The UAD spring is too polite. You cant get it to ‘sproing’ no matter how hard you smack. Im thinking of setting up a couple eurorack units so I can spring in stereo. The Doepfer I own is really good, but noisy.
ngarjuna
Nebula has gotten me close enough not to ever lust for plates, springs or Lexicon boxes. Which is mostly what I reach for, I’m old. The VNXT programs are aces, the Tims both have great reverb programs...I also get occasional use of Valhalla verbs when I want something else non-Nebula-y or something with modulation options.

If I had $3-4K to throw around I’d probably buy a Bricasti because they seem kind of special. Some folks spent over a year trying to capture one in Nebula and never got it close enough.

In my work I use a lot of Altiverb. Not because I prefer it, it's just my delivery specs. But for creating realistic environments it's good and lots of useful automatable parameters.
dubonaire
calaveras wrote:
The UAD spring is too polite. You cant get it to ‘sproing’ no matter how hard you smack. Im thinking of setting up a couple eurorack units so I can spring in stereo. The Doepfer I own is really good, but noisy.


I have zero noise problems with my Doepfer and it's parked right next to a bunch of digital modules. I honestly don't know how this has worked out so well.
smallstonefan
I love my VST reverbs for effects, but I recently sold my Lexicon VST suite and picked up a PCM 91. I could never get VST reverbs to sit right for an entire mix, but wow the PCM 91 just nails it. I just choose how much of each instrument to feed it add add the return to the mix. I'm using a hybrid mixing setup so it's easy to incorporate in my situation.

The hardware is just so easy to dial in something that works (for me)...
Andrew Montreal
Having worked with almost all major reverb plugins, some of my faves are...

UAD Lexicon 480L - pure deep joy. Extraordinary.
UAD AKG BX20 - Long and dark and deeply moving.
Audioease Altiverb - amazing realism.

But I have to say that moving to actual springs (as sends or as part of the recorded chain) has been an educational experience. The depth and purity of the image overshadows plugins for me. Not as versatile consideing the limitations of the parameters that can be controlled, but certianly more awe-inspiring (for this user).
Andrew Montreal
calaveras wrote:
rens wrote:
So, ive yet to find a software emulation of a spring that does it for me. Not psp or softube for sure. I have real springs on my guitar amps and i patch them into a radial tank driver for line level. I use the h9 live often but its not really the thing either. But surely there must be something useful in the plugin world? Any recommendations? I think theres a newish one from u-he?

The UAD spring is too polite. You cant get it to ‘sproing’ no matter how hard you smack. Im thinking of setting up a couple eurorack units so I can spring in stereo. The Doepfer I own is really good, but noisy.

Definitely no boing in the UAD spring. Classy but not trashy.
Andrew Montreal
Also, having moved to very revealing monitors (ATC SCM50ASLs), I have to admit that some plugins that I used to enjoy don’t hold a candle in terms of depth and richness to others. Valhalla comes to mind... Definitely cool sounding but often create more haze than magic. Though sure... sometimes haze is a part of the magic. True that.
cackland
Do the ATC's color the sound at all?
MHamiltonVisuals
woodrowhood wrote:
Hardware (I assume) is always the correct answer. I'm a big fan of Strymon and Empress. But is there a software plug-in that can come anywhere close to hardware reverb? Sometimes I need a good software plug-in when working in a DAW. So far, Adaptiverb has proven worth the money. Are there others?


We have some great software reverbs we use but there is nothing like using a reverb plate. We have two that we love using. bricasti's are always nice too smile
Andrew Montreal
cackland wrote:
Do the ATC's color the sound at all?

I imagine that similar to any transducer they colour the sound somewhat... but fat less then most others. Or rather, like any monitor, you need to learn how they respond to signals. But that doesn’t have anything to do with how much they reveal. THAT is a specialty of theirs.
CosmicFlight
i definitly prefer hw reverbs but i'll go with Vahalla and Relab LX480 for software !
ExtrasensoryPerception
hardware reverbs tend to have more depth, in my experience.
I have one hardware reverb (eventide h3500) which I use all the time, and then Valhalla's plugins for the rest or for when I'm too lazy.
craigex
woodrowhood wrote:
Hardware (I assume) is always the correct answer. I'm a big fan of Strymon and Empress. But is there a software plug-in that can come anywhere close to hardware reverb? Sometimes I need a good software plug-in when working in a DAW. So far, Adaptiverb has proven worth the money. Are there others?

I use EHX Cathedrall and vst Valhala Rev
They give a different mood to the music!
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