LiquidSonics Reverberate 2 by MarsBot
• Product: LiquidSonics Reverberate 2
• Developer: LiquidSonics
• Formats: AAX/AU/VST Win/Mac 32-64
• Price: £80
• DRM: license file (provided via email upon purchase) 30 day fully functional demo.
• Website: LiquidSonics - Reverberate 2 | Convolution Reverb for VST, AU and AAX
LiquidSonics recently released Reverberate 2 convolution reverb. This update of the original Reverberate includes a new proprietary process called Fusion-IR. One complaint about convolution reverbs has been that they tend to sound more static and flat than algorithmic reverbs. Developers, including LiquidSonics, have employed various modulation schemes to mitigate this weakness. But now LiquidSonics is taking a whole new approach to solving the problem with Fusion-IRs. According to the manual:
Fusion-IR processing adds additional modulation capabilities capable of more closely capturing the inherent time-varying nature of some true-stereo reverb systems. By performing multiple true-stereo convolutions in parallel and fusing them together, a richer and more captivating reverb compliments the original source material. This brings convolution closer to the sound of an algorithmic reverb but with the powerful sculpting capabilities only possible with a convolution approach.With Bricasti's permission, LiquidSonics has applied this new Fusion-IR technique to capture the full Bricasti v1 and v2 algorithm presets. Since many sound engineers already have Bricasti IR sets from Samplicity and SignalToNoize, I began by comparing the three sets and creating some files so people can hear whether LiquidSonics' new Fusion-IRs really does take convolution reverb to the "next level."
I used the SignalToNoize Bricasti sets for comparison because they generally sound better than the Samplicity sets. I created two versions of each audio file as seen in the SoundCloud files below (CD quality audio versions of these files are also at the bottom of this post as attachments). The "LS" versions have the LiquidSonics Bricasti Fusion-IR presets on the indicated instruments. The "STN" versions have the SignalToNoize versions of the same Bricasti presets running in Reverberate 2 with the True Stereo settings as recommended by the SignalToNoize website. Reverb levels were matched as closely as possible for volume and decay. Not all patches in the two sets are the same; the decay times can vary from set to set for the same exact patch. But generally they are very close and obviously the same Bricasti preset.
In the audio files below the LiquidSonics versions are titled "LS" while the SignalToNoize versions are titled "STN". I've included brief descriptions of which instruments have which Bricasti reverbs. Be aware that I purposely muted the reverb send on the vocals for the first line of RockDrumVox and Ballad Chamber Vox so listeners can identify the reverb's entrance and how it affects the vocal sitting in the mix:
LS AcoGit - Solo acoustic guitar with Bricasti preset "Boston Hall A."Like many other people, I've just never been able to get a truly musical ITB reverb going. I'm really looking forward to doing serious mixing with Reverberate 2 on upcoming projects. I think LiquidSonics may have finally broken the ITB reverb barrier. After working with these Fusion-IR Bricasti sets for a while, I noticed how "flat" the SignalToNoize versions (which are very good conventional IRs by the way) seem by comparison. The Fusion-IRs impart a very lively, musical quality to convolution reverb that I haven't heard before. The FS-1 (Factory Set 1) Fusion-IRs are also very good, especially the halls, some of which you can hear in Diogo's video here:
STN AcoGit - Solo acoustic guitar with Bricasti preset "Boston Hall A."
LS SoulVox - Lead vox "Rich Plate A," Choir vox "Berliner Hall," Chorus Vox "Ambience Large and Bright."
STN SoulVox - Lead vox "Rich Plate," Choir vox "Berliner Hall," Chorus Vox "Ambience Large and Bright."
LS RockDrumVox - Lead vox "Small Plate" predelay 168ms, Choir vox "Small Plate" predelay 344ms, Drums "Rooms Studio B Far."
STN RockDrumVox - Lead vox "Small Plate" predelay 168ms, Choir vox "Small Plate" predelay 344ms, Drums "Rooms Studio B Far."
LS Ballad Chamber Vox - Lead vox "Vocal Chamber" predelay 80ms.
STN Ballad Chamber Vox - Lead vox "Vocal Chamber" predelay 80ms.
PRESETS ISSUE - Some people have posted on the gearslutz "New Product Alert" thread for Reverberate 2 regarding problems accessing presets for the two large Fusion-IR downloads - Bricasti M7 and FS-1 - which are 4 GB each. This can be a little confusing. Here's how I got everything to work pretty seamlessly on a Mac:
A. Leave all banks, presets and IRs in the default installation folder and put the Fusion folders for Bricasti and Fusion-IR FS-1 in there too. Enable the "Lost Files Recursive Search" function in the browser options.I think the developer is likely to change this preset system given the following post of his on that gearslutz thread: "Message received, it sounds like people want to see platform specific installers for the Fusion-IRs and presets and to have these show up automatically in the product rather than the current platform independent zips with a guide of how to use them. I'll look into the mechanics of doing that."
B. Go to "Saved Banks" in the plug-in, select "Favourites" and give every Fusion bank its own entry. It takes a few minutes, but then all Reverberate 2 original preset banks are easily accessible from the "Saved Banks" area.
TWEAKER'S DELIGHT - Reverberate 2 offers the option to tweak every major parameter involved with convolution reverb. I can't cover everything in this review, but clearly the developer is option-conscious and focused on providing every possible adjustment parameter. You can load two IRs and mix them. Modulation can be applied to delay, Post EQ, pan, and something called a "Split Mod" that can independently modulate the early and late portions of an IR set. A nice sounding chorus is included as well. All these modulation possibilities allow you to program lots of movement into a reverb patch. You can stretch IRs and change their envelopes. There are excellent sounding IR EQs which I found helpful in adjusting standard IR libraries to sit in the mix. On the Fusion-IRs you can adjust early/late ratios as well as the Fusion mod frequency. One function I find particularly helpful is the "Topology" menu, which allows you to automatically create True Stereo routing whenever you load a True Stereo file set like those from SignalToNoize. And if your IR is lacking something in the crucial beginning and ending areas, you can supplement with the very versatile early reflection and synthetic tail generators.
Some people are asking for a "lite" version of Reverberate 2 with a less complicated interface. And the Fusion-IRs sound so good that they don't require the kind of tweaking regular IRs sometimes need. So I think the developer could create a "lite" version without really compromising on sound quality and sell a lot of them. But keep in mind that the current version will already function as a "lite" version if you simply stay with the Fusion-IR presets. The only suggestion I have regarding the interface is that the final mix knobs for overall gain and wet/dry mix are so important that they should always be present on the interface regardless of what tab you have selected. Right now, they are hidden in the Mixer tab.
PROS - Takes convolution to the next level with innovation Fusion-IR approach, beautiful Bricasti M7 Fusion-IRs, zero latency function, extremely tweakable, great overall sound, reasonable price.
CONS - Some issues with adding presets and there is a learning curve.