Acon Digital Verberate by PB+J
Developer: Acon Digital
Formats: Mac OSX AU and AAX 64 bit; VST
DRM: Registration via Website
Try and Buy:Full functionality with occasional muting
An algorithmic reverb plugin that Acon says sounds more natural than other verbs. Simple interface, really distinctive sound.
So what I like about Verberate is it just sits better. My sonic goal is usually but not always an undetectable reverb, the kind of reverb that you don’t really notice is there. Sometimes I want a big obvious reverb but not always. From the first time I tried it, Acon just did its job without being in the way—it didn’t call attention or yell “hey listen to my lush reverb!”
I’ve compared it to a bunch of other verb plugins—Logic’s native verbs, Valhalla Room and Vintage Verb, Exponential Phoenix; 2C Audio’s Aether, B2 and Breeze, Relab LX 480. I would say that all of them, when you listen to them solo’ed, can produce a “prettier” reverb, more lush sounding or more “reverby.” Verberate sounds more “plain.” I know this isn’t the right word but it’s all I can think of. It sounds more plain, less brittle, less washy, but works much better. It sounds more natural, less like a verb plugin: more like a convolution verb than an algo verb. Instead of a reverb that distracts, I get a reverb that enriches. From that list, I’d rate Valhalla second. I like Valhalla a lot, but nearly always end up with Verberate over Valhalla. it just sits better.
Acon’s plugins all share the same look: flat, no skeoumorphism, no fake analog knobs. It comes in two “Skins,” one dark gray and one light gray (see image) It has useful presets and then very straightforward controls. There are sliders that control the level of the dry signal, the wet signal, and early reflections. You can choose several “modes” of early reflection from a pull down menu. Then there are controls for reverb time, room size, pre delay, modulation rate, modulation depth, and stereo spread. There are two windows that give you a draggable graphic for editing delay shape/time and another for equalizing the output. It has no “oversampling” or "high quality" mode. The controls are straightforward, intuitive, and obvious. Compare to Valhalla Room, for example, where I find that having more controls makes the reverb less useful, or 2C Audio’s amazing verbs, which have more buttons and knobs than a submarine, and which make me end up sending hours tweaking obscure verb parameters. The controls are the ones you NEED, not some dream of what you want. I’m still not exactly sure what “bass mult” does in Valhalla room, for example, or why I need a Bass Xover. But I know what “room size” does in Verberate. It makes you sound like you are in a bigger room, a very real-sounding room.
Maybe if you are more enamored of reverb as a Daniel Lanois style effect you will find Verberate limiting. It has big cathedral sounding reverbs and long shimmery verbs, but the basic goal is "more realistic sounding" and it gets there very well.
Ease of Use
As above it’s very very easy to use. The controls are well laid out and make sense. It’s moderate on CPU. It defaults to the idea that you are using it on a channel. I nearly always use it in a send, and turn the Dry signal down to zero. Ease of use is the big thing here—it just sounds better quickly, it sounds more natural and less like a simulation, but you get the easy control of an algo plugin. The GUI is fully resizable, which is nice
Bang for the Buck
At $99 it’s reasonably priced. It’s not as much of a great deal as Valhalla, but it’s largely replaced Valhalla for me and I spend less time fussing with reverb. You can spend more but I don’t think you will find a more natural sounding algo plugin. Again that may not be your goal, reverb is an effect or can be used as an effect rather than a simulation of natural space.
Anybody wanting a reverb plugin that is straightforward and simple but powerful, and one that prioritized natural sounding reverb over effect-sounding reverb. I love this plugin.