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Best Reverb(s) for Classical Music? Reverb/Delay Processors (HW)
Old 28th December 2010
  #1
Gear Head
 

Talking Best Reverb(s) for Classical Music?

What is the best concert hall reverb software for classical music under $3.5k? I am looking for a reverb that treats the initial reflections and tails very smoothly for acoustic sources, like piano, and soak into the music naturally, without any harsh sheen.

I am trying to consolidate my work flow to using only Logic 8 DAW (Mac). The convolution reverb in Logic is awful! I've been using the Lexicon Pantheon contained in Sonar 6 DAW which sounds better than Logic 8.

How does the Altiverb 6, Lexicon Native Reverb Plug-in Bundle, or the DAW plug-in friendly Lexicon PCM96 unit compare to the Bricasti M7?

I really wish I could use the Bricasti M7, but unfortunately it doesn't seem easily into fit my workflow in a DAW setup like Logic 8. It's going to have to be real time, there's no easy way to "preview" the reverb. I don't want to download the Bricasti IRs since it's not identical to a full M7.

I tried to see how I could use a Bricasti M7 as a hardware plug-in through an audio interface: I'd have to connect the SPDIF-RCA Out on the Apogee Ensemble to a SPDIF-RCA to BNC-Male connector, then to a BNC-Male 75-ohm cable, then to a Neutrik BNC-Female to AES-EBU transformer adapter, then plug that into the Bricasti. The output of the Bricasti is connected to a Neutrik AES-EBU to BNC-Female transformer adapter, then to a BNC 75-ohm cable, then to a BNC-Male to SPDIF-RCA connector, to the SPDIF-RCA In on the Apogee Ensemble... After such a "send-return" loop as this, I wonder if the quality and benefit of the Bricasti M7 be negated? Can I retain 24bit/192kHz quality? Will it work seamlessly compared to a software plug-in in terms of noise, quality, etc.?

What would you folks use in my setup?...
Thanks guys...
Old 28th December 2010
  #2
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Larry Elliott's Avatar
Hi 88
I use a Bricasti - my DAW has multiple AES In/Outs so it is a bit more straightforward. I truly doubt that the convoluted cabling will have any negative effects. Of course you could use analogue send and return if that is easier from you interface.
As for plugings I have found AltiVerb to be very good.
Best of luck,
Larry
Old 28th December 2010
  #3
Gear Maniac
 

IR is really the best solution for classical. Depending on the style of recording, the amount of microphones is rather small and replicating the room via IR is quite easy and effective. I'm assuming you are using samples ?
Old 28th December 2010
  #4
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NetworkAudio's Avatar
The IRs do not come close to the performance of the Bricasti for classical use.
Save yourself some time and demo the bricasti.
Old 28th December 2010
  #5
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BradLyons's Avatar
 

When it comes to reverb processing, hardware is still king. This is why I've been such a fan of ProTools HD is that the plugins are using dedicated hardware DSP's for the processing. With that said there are some seriously good plugins out there providing you do have a seriously powerful machine. While I too agree that the Bricasti M7 is a seriously good box--I also understand your situation.

There is a solution---check this out:
GuitarCenter

This is Lexicon's best reverb plugin and it is absolutely phenominal! Aside from an Eventide box, this is as deep of a plugin you'll find for effects processing when it comes to editing and tweaking your sound. But it's also as simple as just pulling up a preset and go. Thanks to the graphical interface, it is simple to use. I've owned and used a great deal of both hardware and software over the years---this plugin is as good as anything out there. It's such a natural sound, yet warm at the same time. The reverb tails are smoooooooth and transparent. And hey, look at the price---it's not that bad!!
Old 28th December 2010
  #6
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NetworkAudio's Avatar
I just spent some time with the pcm plugin demo, and for classical use as the OP was specifically asking about, it is not convincing to me.
Old 28th December 2010
  #7
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BradLyons's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by klaukholm View Post
I just spent some time with the pcm plugin demo, and for classical use as the OP was specifically asking about, it is not convincing to me.
That's entirely possible....this stuff is all VERY subjective. I've been in on some mix sessions where this plugin was being used instead of (insert hardware names here) at some major studios....However, again it's all very subjective. Honestly at first I "didn't get it" because of the price. But after spending some time with it comparing to the other plugins, both native and TDM, as well as real hardware boxes--it really grew on me.
Old 28th December 2010
  #8
0VU
Gear Addict
 

For adding an 'acoustic' to very simple, purist 2 mic stuff I like a a good convolution reverb but for anything involving multiple mics, or for mixing when you want to help spot mics blend into the mix, there's nothing really to touch a Bricasti M7. It also does a fantastic job as an overall stereo mix reverb.

I usually find that IR and some types of hardware reverbs such as TC Electronic are good for sitting in simple stereo balances but in bigger things they're too distinctive - almost like sounds in their own right - and more inclined to draw attention to themselves the bigger the mic count. Also that multiple instances or different simultaneous reverb setups fight in a way that Lexicons/Bricastis don't. They never quite gel with the direct sound and it all starts to sound like a kit of parts rather than a single entity. I used to prefer Lexicon reverbs to TC for the same reasons in a mix. TC seem clear, smooth and detailed whereas Lexicon just seem to glue things together better. The Bricasti M7 just goes the extra step and does the Lexicon 'glue' thing but without the vices and with far more versatility.

But that's just what works for me and I'd never say my way of working is the 'right' way. I still have several hardware reverbs (Lexicon 300, Roland R880, QRS, Sony R7) and a DRE-S777 convolution unit but I think some of these will be going soon in favour of another M7.
Old 28th December 2010
  #9
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JonesH's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by klaukholm View Post
I just spent some time with the pcm plugin demo, and for classical use as the OP was specifically asking about, it is not convincing to me.
Interesting to hear! You use the Bricasti, right?
Were you ever a fan of the Lexicon PCM 96/960/96 surround hardware units? If not, I totally get why you wouldn't be mesmerized with the plugin version.

I'd really want to try out the bricasti, do you find that it's workable in surround situations?
Old 28th December 2010
  #10
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BradLyons's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by 0VU View Post
I still have several hardware reverbs (Lexicon 300, Roland R880, QRS, Sony R7) and a DRE-S777 convolution unit but I think some of these will be going soon in favour of another M7.
I was such a huge fan of that Sony DRE-S777 when I owned it years ago---amazing what that used to cost v/s what can be had today :-) If I remember, you could have a single impulse in it only....LOL Out of curiosity, do you know what those are selling for used today?
Old 28th December 2010
  #11
0VU
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by BradLyons View Post
I was such a huge fan of that Sony DRE-S777 when I owned it years ago---amazing what that used to cost v/s what can be had today :-) If I remember, you could have a single impulse in it only....LOL Out of curiosity, do you know what those are selling for used today?
Hi Brad, no, I don't, sorry. I might be finding out very soon.

They don't come up for sale very often but I guess there aren't that many around. By coincidence, there's one listed in the classifieds on this site right now which is the same spec as mine so I'm watching it with interest.
Old 28th December 2010
  #12
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Plush's Avatar
Best Reverb(s) for Classical Music?

I do agree that hardware is the best solution. Any of the top Lexicon boxes will offer real sound. Bricasti is very seductive but in the end I find too many high end records using it and they are sounding too much alike. By the way Bricasti-ites, does the unit now have a bypass button?

One new software solution that might be considered is the FLUX / IRCAM
reverb. It offers a very sophisticated sound with a lot of flexibility and a very good user interface. The French sound is deep, integrated into the program material and very chic and polished.


Posted via the Gearslutz iPhone app
Old 28th December 2010
  #13
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NetworkAudio's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by BradLyons View Post
That's entirely possible....this stuff is all VERY subjective. I've been in on some mix sessions where this plugin was being used instead of (insert hardware names here) at some major studios....However, again it's all very subjective. Honestly at first I "didn't get it" because of the price. But after spending some time with it comparing to the other plugins, both native and TDM, as well as real hardware boxes--it really grew on me.
You have been in classical music mix sessions where the bricasti was put aside for the PCM native for sound reasons?
Old 28th December 2010
  #14
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NetworkAudio's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonesH View Post
Interesting to hear! You use the Bricasti, right?
Were you ever a fan of the Lexicon PCM 96/960/96 surround hardware units? If not, I totally get why you wouldn't be mesmerized with the plugin version.

I'd really want to try out the bricasti, do you find that it's workable in surround situations?
I use the bricastis for surround, no problem
I modify the C channel a bit after a tip from Casey (when we use it, which is a whole other discussion)
Old 28th December 2010
  #15
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NetworkAudio's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Plush View Post
I do agree that hardware is the best solution. Any of the top Lexicon boxes will offer real sound. Bricasti is very seductive but in the end I find too many high end records using it and they are sounding too much alike. By the way Bricasti-ites, does the unit now have a bypass button?

One new software solution that might be considered is the FLUX / IRCAM
reverb. It offers a very sophisticated sound with a lot of flexibility and a very good user interface. The French sound is deep, integrated into the program material and very chic and polished.


Posted via the Gearslutz iPhone app
Hi, the v2 has the bypass function through the tap button.
BTW, you may find the v2 more to your liking, it has some very useful sounds that I find quite different from the v1.
Old 28th December 2010
  #16
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sonare's Avatar
I would like to inject a bit of potential snobbism and say that unless someone has spent years in really good halls there is no knowledge/experience basis for comparison. Our colleagues in the studio world simply lack the time on the planet called "classical." Even sitting in the back of the orchestra (and Klaukholm can relate to the side) one can easily judge the acoustic and later how it compares to "virtual" devices.

Since I do everything ITB (and lack AES I/O with a laptop) I have not seriously investigated the hardware option-- I use Altiverb. (Especially after seeing that the Waves IR has a sample of the absolute WORST room I have ever been forced to work in.) I can understand Plush's point -- Ben Maas sent me a chamber orch comparison between Bricasti and Altiverb using the same room. The Bricasti was absolutely fabulous. In fact, TOO fabulous in a way-- so good it was suspicious. Or perhaps it was my subconscious estimating what the Bricasti route could end up costing?

Rich
Old 28th December 2010
  #17
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BradLyons's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sonare View Post
I would like to inject a bit of potential snobbism and say that unless someone has spent years in really good halls there is no knowledge/experience basis for comparison. Our colleagues in the studio world simply lack the time on the planet called "classical." Even sitting in the back of the orchestra (and Klaukholm can relate to the side) one can easily judge the acoustic and later how it compares to "virtual" devices.

Since I do everything ITB (and lack AES I/O with a laptop) I have not seriously investigated the hardware option-- I use Altiverb. (Especially after seeing that the Waves IR has a sample of the absolute WORST room I have ever been forced to work in.) I can understand Plush's point -- Ben Maas sent me a chamber orch comparison between Bricasti and Altiverb using the same room. The Bricasti was absolutely fabulous. In fact, TOO fabulous in a way-- so good it was suspicious. Or perhaps it was my subconscious estimating what the Bricasti route could end up costing?

Rich
Great post! The truth is---if you hear "reverb", it's too much or not done right. If you hear what sounds like natural ambience, that's the key.
Old 28th December 2010
  #18
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NetworkAudio's Avatar
I recorded two orchestral sessions recently in bone dry spaces and as such need a complete 1600 seat hall ambience from reverb.
The only way to do this is with a completely convincing reverb.
Unlike a filmscore, where the sound of a reverb is more or less the norm, and no one would bat an eye if you paste tc6000 all over it, a purely classical release needs to sound like you recorded it in a real massive hall without any reverb at all.

In this situation, altiverb was leagues ahead of the pcm plugin (which I had little time to fiddle with, but the hall presets did not work at all with their fat heavy tails), But M7 is a whole different ballgame.
Old 29th December 2010
  #19
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Marlan's Avatar
 

I recently installed the Bricasti M7 for all of the Houston Grand Opera's National broadcasts on the WFMT radio network. I was using a Lexicon 300 for years and years and nothing else hardware based compared under 5 grand to my ears (not even the TC boxes). I'm sure the newer Lecicon PCM series are great but I never tried them.

This is very subjective stuff of course. I can tell you that the M7 impulses for Space Designer are pretty great and I have no issue using them. I also think the Waves reverbs are quite good but I don't reach for them first.
Old 29th December 2010
  #20
To be honest, any of these tools can get the job done, it really is just skill, good taste and experience with the tool in question.
I have sitting in my room a full TC 6000, Bricasti, Lexicon 300 and Altiverb. each of them have strengths and weaknesses and I use each of them for different situations.
All the best,
-mark
Old 29th December 2010
  #21
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Applied to a very dry recording, Altiverb sounds similar to a real space, but brings the audio quality down considerably. Bricasti maintains the audio quality, but with a slightly "alien" sound on acoustic instruments/voices. More convincing is applying Bricasti to a recording with some natural reverb from the location.
Old 29th December 2010
  #22
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avebr's Avatar
 

where do you put your Reverb?

Hello to all,

I believe that reverb is really a matter of taste - also I tend to like a bit less of reverb, as some of my collegues tend to like 'too much' of reverb... and so on.

But I would like to take this opportunity and raise this question on our 'classical' context:

Actually where do you put your Reverb? Or how is your approach on using Reverb?

I mean: do you send only your main pair? Or spots? Or just the room sound? Or both? Different reverbs (like one for the mains/spots, other for room/complexity)? Complex settings (less early refl. on one reverb, more on the other)?

I tend to believe there's no rule for all situations, and I use it as long as I get a convincing sound for me.

But it could be great to know our collegues' techniques and believes on this, specially on how to get a 'real' [convincing?] reverb sound... and each personal choices of reverb (hardware/plugin).


all the best,
ave.
Old 29th December 2010
  #23
WRT what sources I add reverb, It all depends whether I'm mixing or mastering. When I'm mixing, I typically generate the reverb send from 90% spot mics and maybe 10 percent main mics, usually to get a better blend of sound between the mains and the spot mics. I never reverberate the ambience mics. However, when mixing surround, I use a surround reverb and add it to the natural room mics, typically at a reduced level.
Mastering is a different animal. Usually I get mixes that are already reverberated and I'm adding reverb to the overall mix. This becomes very tricky as the added reverb needs to match the character of the source, while typically enhancing some aspect of it. In this situation convolution reverb very rarely works satisfactorily. I usually fall back on the algorithmic reverbs for this.

All the best,
-mark
Old 29th December 2010
  #24
Gear Head
 

Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences. Larry Elliot, BadOrange, klaukholm, Brad Lyons, 0VU, JonesH, Plush, Sonare, Marlan, mpdonahue, aracu, avebr...

I am leaning more towards a hardware unit - PCM96 or Bricasti M7. I found a PCM96 for $2300 NIB. Without opening a Lexicon/Bricasti debate, are the differences in the flavor of reverb that different to warrant an additional $1400 for the M7?...

I ask this because with the money left over, I can get an additional software reverb as well.

Plush, for software reverb, the Flux/Ircam verb looks great for the sound shaping capabilities - I like that warmth, brilliance, and room presence can be dialed in, among many other useful parameters. I also like that it integrates well into the dry source achieving a sense of organic unity with the music, as opposed to fighting with it. Do you recommend getting just the Ircam Verb or the Ircam Spat (which includes Room Spatialization)?...

For classical piano, I like to use reverb sparingly where I can barely hear it 15% wet, 1.8sec. However, I like a more lush sound when recording my Armenian duduk (2500 yr old Armenian double-reed wind instrument made of apricot wood as in the soundtrack of Gladiator, Ronin, etc.).

Great discussion and suggestions! Thanks everyone!
Old 29th December 2010
  #25
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avebr's Avatar
 

I'm surprised that no one listed Liquidsonics' Reverberate:

LiquidSonics - Reverberate | Convolution Reverb for VST, RTAS and AU

At us$75 it's surely a bargain.

Give it a look. Althought it does not include many great IRs...


all the best,
ave.
Old 29th December 2010
  #26
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jnorman's Avatar
ave - reverberate is a fine true stereo convo software, as is SIR II, and both seem as effective as altiverb. the deal with altiverb is that you get some very fine IRs as part of the package.

88 - as far as i can tell, i would say that the bricasti unit is well worth the extra money over the pcm96. perhaps a 480L or 960 would be a more appropriate comparable unit to the M7? if you do a search in the "gear shootouts" forum, you should find a few threads which provide sample clips from bricasti units vs bricasti IRs vs other various algorithmic and convo verbs - it always helps to hear sample clips.
Old 29th December 2010
  #27
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sonare's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by mpdonahue View Post
WRT what sources I add reverb, It all depends whether I'm mixing or mastering. When I'm mixing, I typically generate the reverb send from 90% spot mics and maybe 10 percent main mics, usually to get a better blend of sound between the mains and the spot mics. I never reverberate the ambience mics.
Mark-- is this ratio derived from 10% per mic (and 9 spots in the example) and 10% on mains or 90% send on each spot? And is this in a relatively good room?

Ever use different IRs on spots vs main?

Rich
Old 29th December 2010
  #28
Gear Head
 

jnorman, I came across this https://www.gearslutz.com/board/4573820-post4.html

You have a point. The 30second test was interesting to assess processing power. I don't particularly like the pitch modulation that's going on in the PCM96. The Bricasti M7 is unwavering in stability and grain.
Darn, the Bricasti is going to be awkward to integrate as a seamless effects processor for my DAW setup... But, it's the quality that matters!

Thanks!
Old 29th December 2010
  #29
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I use a Lex 300, 960 and PCM96, as well as Bricasti M7 for classical use on a regular basis. They all have their own sound and can sound fantastic. To me, all of them beat plugins whenever I have compared. You can get good results with a good convolution verb like Altiverb, but I find it easier to integrate hardware in a mix in a transparent way.

The fine line is between hearing a reverb and a sound like a room. When I listen to a sound and think to myself "I have reverb on it" then I have to remove some. If I listen and think to myself "I have a good sounding room" then I'm set. Even with the high-end hardware (ie the Lexicon boxes listed above), I've felt like I've used a reverb sound, not a room.

For my money, the Bricasti is *the* box to use. I have one and use it whenever possible. I feed it via AES on an RME sound card from my Sequoia rig and via SPDIF from my Pro Tools rig.

--Ben
Old 29th December 2010
  #30
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avebr's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sonare View Post
Mark-- is this ratio derived from 10% per mic (and 9 spots in the example) and 10% on mains or 90% send on each spot? And is this in a relatively good room?

Ever use different IRs on spots vs main?

Rich

I don't use those same proportions, but sometimes different IRs - like the one I did for a theater here: first stereo-stereo next the stage; then stereo-stereo back on the audience. And then tweak - the early reflections - as spots would need more room identificaiton and verb ; and mains already have... something like that. But it always varies. Always go crazy with sends....

A producer that works with me was using VERY different IRs for main, spots,... it sounded too big and unrealistic for me, in another example it sounded like a room inside another hall (artificial...) - I'm really picky for natural. This is not my way, but it may work...?

And the golden question: what to do with the room pair when it's not enough? Delay? reverb? Both?


all the best,
ave.
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