Classical Reverb Enhancement

Discussion in 'Tracking / Mixing / Editing' started by MasonMedia, Jul 24, 2005.

  1. MasonMedia

    MasonMedia Guest

    This topic is not for the purist. I am wondering which reverb units or plug-ins users here find useful for enhancement of classical recordings?

    I own a TC PowerCore PCI card and have used the classic reverb for sometime. It works fairly well, but sometimes I just cannot find a setting that is satisfying. So this is the reason for my question.

    Also, in the past few months, TC released three new reverbs that have been ported from the TC6000 to the PowerCore. These are the VSS3, NonLin2, and DVR2. These plug-ins cost 395-695 each. None of these names mean a thing to me, however I know the TC6000 is a highly regarded unit that's used by many major studios.


    P.S. TC is offering an interesting offer for existing PowerCore owners who wish to upgrade to their new PC MKII board. Check out the website for details.
  2. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    What DAW do you use?

    Personally, I am really digging the IR reverb in Sequoia/Samplitude, but if you don't use those DAWs, then I guess there's no point in extolling their virtues.

    I have enjoyed external boxes such as:
    TC 6000 and 4000
    Lexicon PCM 81 and even their MPX550 (I know, gasp!!! the MPX line - but it's rather configurable and sounds quite decent.)
    and I've heard wonderful things about the new Kurzweil boxes.

    As for plugs, I really haven't ever used any that I really loved until I started using the IR plug with Seq. Though I never used Altiverb and I understand it's friggin awesome.

    BTW...purists be damned! There, I said it. It's far more fun to make something of the recording. Okay, it's great to capture that nice, accurate sound so that it sounds like you're "there," but I like to use tube pres and mics and I like to add a touch of verb when necessary. Hell, I've even applied a touch of compression to a classical (allbeit Pops style) recording.

    That ought to get some panties in a bunch here... :twisted:

  3. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    I'll never be mistaken for a purist, although in this biz we're ALL purists to one extent or another; just not fanatics, I would think.

    IMHO being a purist isn't going to get you very far; aside from being a boor at parties and confabs, you may not get much work, either, aside from a very small clientele.

    Like it or not, there are "compromises" at every turn of the process, including the use of reverb/room sims. I've tried most of the better ones, and I'm happiest with the latest Samp/Sequoia V8 package of room sims. They're just fantastic, and I've gotten fantastic results with too many of them to list here. (The ablity to modify the stock sims is tremendous as well; plus you can save every change as a new name, too, of course.)

    Here's a shocker, maybe to some: It's a very small percentage of the rooms where I record that actually do have usable reverb. In many cases, it's reverberant, but it's not GOOD sounding reverb. (Guess how well THAT goes over with the client, when one trieds to stick them with the "Natural" awful reverb vs. something like a wonderful Sequoia IR room sim that only adds to the beauty of the direct sound.) So, we compromise and let them choose, all the while keeping them informed of their choices.

    For many of my regular rooms and concert series, I have a number of "enhancing" reverbs saved as presets. These are subtle additions to the sound we're getting in the room...tailored to those rooms specifically. (Why reinvent the wheel each time out?)

    Don't get me wrong; for 90% of my recordings, I put up a rear pair of omni's, with the intention of using these rear channels for time-aligned reverb or surround channels. In about 10% of these cases, I'm in a fantastic hall that has all the right components. Once in a while it's even just a session, with an empty hall. But all too often, they're not as usuable as I'd hope for. (Audience noises, AC/Airhandler noise, unusuable reveration, etc. (Not all reverb is good, usuable reverb!))

    Add to that the dryness of spot mics (where it's all too easy to have overly detailed, clean, but lifeless additions to the mix), you'll have plenty of times where it's mandatory to "wet" the signal enough to help it blend with the rest. Sometimes the room is so highly reverberant (with JUNK) that you need to get in tight for the details, and add your own reverb afterwards.

    We tend to discuss and evaluate works online here that are ideal, done in usually optimum settings. But as we all know, many real life, day to day sessions and concerts just don't have the luxury of always working out the way we'd prefer. What do we do; walk out in a huff? (Saying things like: "I can't work this way!!!" ) Of course we don't, we have bigger goals further down the road, and expensive toys to buy for the times when things ARE perfect! :twisted:

    Some "frankenstein" works (edits from other performances or sessions that don't quite match up, sonically, etc.) need a "patina" of reverb to smooth and enhance the final product to make it a homogenous whole. In those cases, a little bit of gloss/reverb goes a long way.

    Purism gets compromised as soon as you put up a pair of mics and decide how you're going to capture and re-create the experience, then fit it onto a CD or DVD. It is always a component and an ideal in the workflow, but taste and creativity are just as important, IMHO.
  4. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    I looked for years until trying and buying Altivervb. Some of the world's greatest rooms at your fingertips, and they are adding new ones all the time. Plus, when you do work in a great acoustic you can record an impulse response and take it home with you. It is comparable to the Sony 777 at a fraction of even the 75% off fire-sale price.

    It is half the price of Waves IR so you can buy Altiverb and a G4 to run it and you are close to even in cost. I use BIAS Peak as a host and it is rock solid.

    Is it as handy as having it in Sequoia and bouncing it out? No, but my ears and my clients tell me it is worth a little more time to do it in realtime. I have never had a client say "the reverb sounds fake."

    My faves are Concertgebouw; Mechanics Hall Worcester, MA; Shubert and Mozart Saals, Vienna; Frykeruds; and a smallish Danish Wooden church. That covers orch and chamber and some choral. For bigger choral there is St Joseph's and Dome Chapel. THe Esterhazy rooms are also good for particular sounds. They add new impulses every few weeks and they are always free.

    The one downside is that 48k is tops so I usually bounce an 88.2 VIP down to 44.1 and then record the reverb. but if you do the I/O in analog you can record the reverb at 88.2 (or whatever). The fact that Audioease considers 48k adequate on the top end says something.

    Audioease will be ready when Mac goes to Pentium in 2 years but I do not know if that is reason to think they will make it work in Windows.

  5. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    I keep a good sized collection of reverbs around. I use the powercore as well- classicverb being the one I use the most. VSS3, BTW, is not fantastic- just TC M3000 quality. Yes, it is a system 6K verb, but it isn't anywhere close to the quality of their top end verbs.

    I use the Sequoia room simulator a lot as well... There are only so many impulses that I think sound really good, though. Many of them are way too long, so I have a whole procedure that I use to get the reverb tail to sound right- from lowering the late reflections to drawing in a cosine curve.

    I also own the Waves IR-1. I think it is a pretty stunning verb, but it is brutally transparent. You won't be able to use it to color a recording to sound a particular way, but when it works, it is amazing.

    Lastly, I have a Lexicon 300. It is the old technology- colored and all, but it sounds fantastic on just about everything. I find some of my clients prefer the plugins, but others like the hardware.

    In the end, no one tool will work for everything so I keep a variety around. Reverbs are my most often used tools so I keep a lot of them. if Altiverb comes out with a PC version, I'll buy it in a heartbeat.

  6. MasonMedia

    MasonMedia Guest

    Thanks everyone for your insights. I am using Samplitude, 7.22.
    I have explored Samp Room Simulator and like some of the presets, however I have had some trouble with the current project over-running the resources available on my 3.2GHz P4.

    Breifly, the amount of CPU used by the Room Simulator, when taken away from handling disc I/O, caused the system to jump to 80-100% disc load. The load for CPU was only 20-30%, but apparently the combination of 27 tracks, various EQ and Room Sim took enough time away from the I/O to bog it down. When I stopped using the Room Sim and went back to PowerCore, everything settled down again.

    Back to reverbs... If anyone would care to share some typical settings for their favorite reverbs -- like pre-delay time, Delay time, room size, depth, width, or whatever -- I realize all these things call their controls different things, it would be interesting to me.

    For the PowerCore Classic Reverb, currently I am using

    65ms pre-delay, 3.0 sec delay, Width 60, Depth 50, Type III.
    The composer I'm working with likes very wet sounds. I am not sure this is our final set-up. Only time will tell.

  7. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Hey Peter,

    First, have you tried using the reverb on its own bus and then auxing each channel to it at an appropriate level? That's the trick for how I do it and I've never had disc or CPU issues.

    As for the settings -

    I have personally found that the new impulse responses located on the samp website are much more natural sounding than the stock ones. I often use a 4 second warm cathedral to start and than trim the time to just a little under 3 seconds.

    Often, I take a few of the IR's early reflections out by drawing them out - most recordings are quite frought with them to begin with. I'll then bring the high frequency reverb down a bit. Then, if the reverb tail seems over the top (which it usually still does) I'll bring down the late reflections fader til it sounds a bit more natural.

    Since I have the verb on its own aux bux, I set it at 100% wet and 0% dry and then mix the bus back in until it sounds just right.

    I've found with sequoia's verbs, I can actually get quite a bit of reverb on tape and it still sounds quite natural.

  8. MasonMedia

    MasonMedia Guest


    Thanks. Nice to hear how others set things. Yes, I always setup AUX bus sends to one or more reverbs, depending on the situation. In this case, there is only one. The load issue was a bit of a surprise since there was plenty of CPU available. I'm not sure if there is some optimization I'm missing that would improve the situation. Since I'm in the middle of this project, there's no time to risk a change right now.

    Thanks for the tip about the IR downloads vs. stock. I'll have to try them.

  9. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    Boy howdy!

    The STUPIDEST thing I have EVER done was to attempt a C drive image re-install in the midst of a huge project. I feel nauseous recalling it and will forego the telling of the consequences.

  10. bap

    bap Member

    With impulse reverb software, which matters the most - software, samples, or user manipulation?

    I have Acoustic Space and Samplitude 8 and have been tempted several times to purchase an impulse library on cd - Pure Space Reverb.

    I haven't seen mention of it on this forum but was wondering if anyone here has heard about it or used it.
  11. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    Samples basically. The software is only a calculator, it does the convolution. The IR samples, entirely, determine the sound quality.

    I decided very early on that life was way too short to be setting reverb params. Hence my love of IR reverb, choose the hall and adjust wet balance, perhaps the predelay and the overall length and that's it. One can then get on with other things.
  12. Midlandmorgan

    Midlandmorgan Active Member

    Iuse the Samp/Seq Room Simulation as well for LOTS of projects...but a little known freebie reverb from Voxengo called "Old Skool" has a preset called "Mix Sweetener," which I like to strap across the main outputs...

    Adds a certain cohesiveness, has its own rudimentary EQ, and sounds, well, killer.

    Another good reverb for classical can be gotten from tweaking some of the UAD Dreamverb presets, and adjusting the environmental controls....
  13. Sonarerec

    Sonarerec Guest

    then you REALLY ought to try Altiverb!
  14. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    I would say all three matter equally. I've used several convolution reverbs and I've imported samples across and they are handled differently in different programs.

    The biggest place I see differences is how the reverb tail is handled. Some programs basically truncate the tail at a certain point so you need to manually reshape it. Other programs will actually recalculate the convolution to reflect any changes.

    The two that I use most often are the Waves IR1 and the Sequoia/Samp convolution verb. They couldn't be more different sounding. The IR1 is very clear and the Sequoia one has a warmer, denser sound. I'm very glad I have both tools... Heck, I wish I had more.

  15. Plush

    Plush Guest

    Nothing beats the Sony S777

    Altiverb, as good as it is, sounds synthetic next to the Sony.
  16. DavidSpearritt

    DavidSpearritt Well-Known Member

    Green with envy here, Plushy. Would love to hear this box. But at nearly ten grand USD, it will not pass this way anytime soon.
  17. aracu

    aracu Active Member

    I have found the Waves IR to be a lifesaver and by far the
    best PC reverb that I've tried. I have used it often to make
    midi recordings and film dialogue sound convincingly real,
    and to enhance and smooth out rough sounding recordings.
    Other PC reverbs I've used have seemed to noticably take
    away from the overall audio quality, especially noticable on
    acoustic music. I've found the Waves paragraphic EQ to be
    of a similar high quality.
  18. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mr. Spearritt has turned me on to SIR. It's free and so are many of the IRs available for it. It runs smooth, sounds great and takes very little resources.

    Plush - If you happen to have a spare 777 laying around that you're not using, I'll give you $5 for it. You see, that's all the money I have right now, so in perspective, I'll give you everything I have for it right now. Deal??? :cool:

  19. Plush

    Plush Guest

    Found Sony 777 on Ebay

    Hiya guys,

    Believe me I work hard for the money!

    I just scrounged around Ebay until I finally found the deal that was right for me. The seller sold at a very reasonable price. Of course, it took me 4 years of waiting to find the reasonable seller!
  20. Simmosonic

    Simmosonic Active Member

    More and more often I find myself going for the IR type of reverbs. On my laptop I'm using the freebie plug-in 'SIR', and nine times out of ten that's what I end up using. I've only got four or five good impulses within easy reach, because I usually find one there that does the job (long dark, long bright, short dark, short bright, and 'blank'). EQing the signal going into the reverb allows me to make any flavour changes without messing up the reverb itself.

    Whenever I'm tempted to trawl the web looking for new impulses, I remind myself of a quote by Brian Eno from the days when synths started arriving with zillions of presets and memories. Eno said (apologies if I've got this wrong), "Give me a synth with just three sounds. Not four, not five, just three. But, by golly, they'd better be good sounds."

    One of the reasons the old Lexicons were so popular (and still are) is because, although they didn't offer many presets or flavours, what they did offer were all good. Likewise with the old AMS and EMTs; you could get a good sound quickly, and get back to work.

    My all-time favourite reverb came from a little-known Sony box that I used about 20 years ago. It cost around $10k (AUD) back then, and it had one particular reverb that was like a totally blank reverb. It had absolutely no colour of its own - all it did was extend your mix. I loved it, I could add it to just about any acoustic recording that had a sense of space, and it would simply extend that space. If I needed a different flavour, I'd insert an EQ over the signal being sent into the reverb. Worked a charm. If I could find an IR of that, I'd probably be a happy camper.

Share This Page