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ValhallaDSP VintageVerb

ValhallaDSP VintageVerb

5 5 out of 5, based on 3 Reviews

ValhallaVintageVerb is a postmodern reverb plugin, inspired by the classic hardware digital reverbs of the 1970s and 1980s.

24th December 2019

ValhallaDSP VintageVerb by Sound-Guy

ValhallaDSP VintageVerb

Valhalla VintageVerb 2.0.2 from Valhalla DSP

Valhalla DSP is a developer of excellent audio processing tools as already noted in several earlier Gearslutz reviews. I just checked out the latest Valhalla VintageVerb, version 2.0.2, which replaces version 1.7.1 (Sean’s version numbers are always a refreshing surprise!). It is a minor update but includes one new reverb mode (Chaotic Neutral) and is the first VintageVerb available as a VST3 plug-in.

As I’ve noted in other reviews, Valhalla (a.k.a., Sean Costello) makes plug-ins that create a wide range of reverb and delay effects with some pitch shifting, modulation and other sometimes wild effects thrown in. His ‘motto’ is “bigger and better sounds are more important (and fun) than exactly duplicating physical reality”. In this case, however, the intent was to simulate the tones and ‘defects’ of early digital reverbs.

Is it New or is it Vintage?
The VintageVerb is a tribute to the classic (and expensive) hardware digital reverbs of the 1970s and 1980s. These were algorithmic devices rather than sample-based convolution units like many current reverb plug-ins, and had adjustments for decay time and predelay, damping control of high and low frequencies, and often EQ and modulation controls. VintageVerb has all these and more, including a “COLOR” control that provides the tonality of the 70’s, 80’s and a “modern” sound with clean modulation. In the 70’s, bandwidth and sample rates were limited – no one was sampling audio at 192 kHz! – and this color mode limits audio bandwidth of the reverberation to under 10 kHz and can also produce some rather “odd” artifacts that are part of the era (not mistakes in Sean’s coding!). In the 80’s sample rates and bandwidth of professional audio equipment had been increased but reverberation was still “artificial” sounding with some noise and artifacts, which this color mode creates. The modern color mode of VintageVerb creates reverb tails that are clean and transparent, without the ‘classic’ artifacts.

ValhallaDSP VintageVerb-vintage-70s.png
The 70’s era brings early digital reverbs to life with their limited bandwidth and sometimes odd artifacts.

ValhallaDSP VintageVerb-vintage-80s.png
The 80’s era brought wider bandwidth and cleaner reverb sound with a new set of artifacts.

ValhallaDSP VintageVerb-vintage-now.png
The NOW mode provides modern full bandwidth and clean reverberation.

With all three ‘colors’ there are 18 algorithms available including various halls, chambers, rooms, plates, chorusing, and the new Chaotic Neutral mode. This new algorithm combines chaotic modulation effects with a clean algorithm architecture so that the reverb tone is like the input rather than darker or brighter. As I found with all the Valhalla units, the sound quality is excellent.

One thing you will notice about each of the Valhalla plug-ins is that there is no user manual, per se. However, I didn’t miss this much as I dove into this review since the controls are clearly identified and “self documenting”. If you mouse over any control, a tool tip will show up at the bottom left of the plugin. And Sean has a blog with links from each plug-in page of the Valhalla site with detailed descriptions of every control of every module in case you want more details.

Tech Data
I tested Valhalla VintageVerb using my trusty PC Audio Labs Rok Box with Intel Core i7-4770K CPU @ 3.5 GHz, 16 MB RAM running 64 bit Windows 7. RAM requirements were astonishingly small, only about 4 MB! And CPU use is also low – under half a percent with zero latency (measured using REAPER’s Performance Monitor and confirmed as best as possible with Windows Task Manager).

All the Valhalla tools are extraordinary and each priced very reasonably at US$50. VintageVerb for $50 is pretty much a steal for the capability and sound quality. Considering that a real EMT 250 carried a price tag of about $20,000 in 1976 (over $90,000 in 2019 dollars) and even the Lexicon 224 in 1978 with four algorithms was almost $8,000 (over $30,000 in 2019 dollars), fifty bucks for a reverb unit that can emulate these classics and others seems very reasonable. Valhalla did not attempt to exactly replicate the controls and sounds of specific units, but has captured the tones, noise, and artifacts of some of the great classic hardware, along with a modern, very clean reverb mode.

Do you need VintageVerb? If you don’t already have it, you should try the demo for yourself. While you’re at it, run the demos of each Valhalla to find what works for you. Buy what you want as you can. You certainly won’t be disappointed with any Valhalla product.

Excellent sound quality and extraordinary range of effects in each plug-in.

As with all Valhalla products, controls can be varied while sound is processing which can lead to some good dynamic effects.

Very easy to use with mouse-over tool tips for every control.

Great value for money

Really nothing unless you want a separate PDF manual – but I think you’ll find each plug-in easy to master, and a look at Sean’s documentation link for each unit will help if you want all the details.

Attached Thumbnails
ValhallaDSP VintageVerb-vintage-70s.png   ValhallaDSP VintageVerb-vintage-80s.png   ValhallaDSP VintageVerb-vintage-now.png  
  • 1
28th January 2016

ValhallaDSP VintageVerb by Theraphosidae

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
ValhallaDSP VintageVerb

Absolutely love this plug in!Huge pro sounds for a very affordable price!Easily the best 50.00 I have spent.
Valhalla vintage verb features 15 reverb algorithms,3 color modes and a very friendly/simple to use user interface.Modeled after vintage hardware reverbs such as the Lexicon 224/PCM70/300/480L, as well as the EMT250 this plug is a great tool for really bringing your software or hardware instruments to life!Highly recommended!
Available for: OSX (AAX64/RTAS/AU32/AU64/VST32/VST64) and Windows (AAX64/RTAS/VST32/VST64)


  • 2
8th April 2016

ValhallaDSP VintageVerb by Dowsed

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 5 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 5
ValhallaDSP VintageVerb

Product: Vintage Verb
Developer: Valhalla DSP
Formats: VST, AU, AAX, AudioSuite, RTAS - Win/Mac (64/32-bit where applicable)
DRM: License Key
Price: $50
Demo: Not time limited. However, the audio fades out and back in every 45 seconds and it can’t save presets
Website: Valhalla DSP

Valhalla describe vintage verb as a postmodern reverb plugin, inspired by the classic hardware digital reverbs of the 1970s and 1980s, which I think you will agree is a hefty premise for a reverb costing $50. After trying out Vintage Verb for a few minutes it became clear that this is a serious slice of DSP. It stands up to any reverb, hardware or software, at any price point. In fact, vintage verb sounds so good that it started a personal love affair with the entire Valhalla product range, so much so, that I want to spend a brief section of this review speaking about the ethos and quality of Valhalla DSPs product range.

Firstly, just like their vintage verb, each one of Valhalla DSPs plug-ins transcends its price point (by a considerable margin might I add), but their price point is just the first indication of Valhalla’s ethos. Valhalla shows their compassion as well as a deep understanding to the plight of the modern music creator, in almost equal measure. This is shown by their lack of update plans and their licensing methods, it all goes to show a level of trust in their customers seldom seen, not just in the Pro-Audio industry but in business generally.

Beyond this each of Valhalla’s plug-ins shares much more in common than just ideology, each has a simple to use GUI, they are packed with helpful tool tips meaning no manual is necessary. These tool tips are neatly located; they are noticeable but not clutter the interface. Across the range there is no “fancy” or “overbearing” graphics on display. In fact, they are somehow retro and modern looking at the same time. These fancy graphics and display curves might seem advantageous but using the Valhalla line makes you quickly realise that you should be using your ears more than your eyes (which is something that I have been guilty of).

If you like value for money, quality algorithms and intuitive design then you can’t go wrong with Valhalla DSP. Basically, Valhalla’s products are as useful in Abbey Road as they would be in the smallest home studio. Such a lofty statement is one that I would seldom make, but developers as talented and competitive need to be shouted about. Perhaps my only criticism of the Valhalla line is that there seems to be no way to quickly A/B between two different settings.

So enough waxing lyrical, let’s discuss Vintage Verb specifically. At the heart of vintage verb are 15 reverb algorithms, ranging from halls, plates and ambiences, as well as more specialist algorithms like non-linear, chorused and “dirty” spaces. All of these do exactly what they say on the tin. Vintage Verb includes plenty of presets, which can get you in the ballpark very quickly but results are best when you spend time time-tuning these with your track. In my opinion, what really sets vintage apart though is its colour control, which you can choose between 1970s, 1980s and now, it’s like having three reverbs in one. This switchable colour transforms the sound dramatically but without losing the general character you created tweaking the rest of the parameters. I would try and describe the differences between these three colours but Valhalla describe them in such a beautiful and succinct way that I will leave it to them to describe:

  • 1970s. Replicates the reduced bandwidth of the earliest digital reverberators (10 kHz maximum output frequency). Downsampled internally, to reproduce the artifacts of running at a lower sampling rate. The modulation is dark and noisy, and can produce strange and random sidebands with sustained notes. This is intentional.
  • 1980s. Full bandwidth / sampling rate, for a brighter sound than the 1970s. The modulation is still dark and noisy, but will produce different artifacts than the 1970s mode as it is running at the full sampling rate.
  • NOW. Full bandwidth / sampling rate. The modulation is clean and colorless, versus the funky artifacts of the 1970s/1980s modes.

In summary, vintage verb has everything you need in a multi-purpose reverb and at a price point, which makes it a no-brainer. It’s sound quality and ease of use means that it gets a clean sweep of 5 star ratings, which is a first for me on Gearslutz. Due to sheer variety of different algorithms inside vintage verb it is the perfect introduction into the Valhalla range. Just be warned they are extremely addictive and you may find your credit card filled with the entire range before too long (but it won’t max it out at least). Whilst I still use some other reverbs made by other developers, a Valhalla reverb seem to make it onto every mix somewhere, of these Vintage Verb and Valhalla Room are perhaps the most frequently used.

  • 3
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