Flux Ircam Verb v3 by Diogo C
- Product: Ircam Verb V3
- Developer: Flux:: Sound and Picture Development
- Formats: VST, AU, AAX Native and DSP plug-ins for Mac and Windows
- Price: $699 (USD) MSRP
- Demo: 10 days fully functional
- DRM: iLok (software, dongle is optional)
- Website: Flux:: sound and picture development
Develop by Flux in association with the revered Ircam Institute, Verb V3 is an algorithmic reverb plugin which is geared towards realistic spaces, specialized on delivering extremely authentic room acoustics. The frenchmen at Ircam have gone through great lengths with some fabulous research that spun over the last decade and delivered a reverb that goes beyond the conventional “early-late” design concept and introduced the “cluster” parameter, which controls what happens between the early reflections and the reverb tail, adding an extra layer of complexity and more sonic options to the user.
Starting on the left column, Verb V3 offers controls over the decay time from 0.10s up to 30 seconds and the decay proportion of high, mid and low frequencies, along with a couple of crossover controls for defining the range of each band. Right next to it are the parameters to control density and diffusion of the reverb, with a couple of cool touches such as the “air absorption” button which simulates how air affects the reverb and a button for infinite decay which can be handy in some sound design or special effects tasks. There are also stereo width and panning controls. Center section controls the room size and time aspects of each part of the reverb and one interesting feature is that early, cluster and reverb can be muted/soloed, allowing for some creative uses and also great as to learn what each one of those are doing. On that section there’s also a “high density” button which ramps up CPU consumption for better quality processing, which alters the sound in a not-so-subtle way but usually results in a smoother sound. The sliders below the graph controls the distribution over time of each section and also the shape of your room and each of these controls are very responsive and can greatly alter the reverb character.
Moving on to the right side of the plugin there are 3-band EQ controls with variable frequency points for tweaking the frequency response of each part of the reverb, so the user can equalize the room, cluster and tail individually and also the resulting output signal, which gives Verb V3 a great deal of flexibility. Still on the right side there are input/output trim controls and metering, the dry/wet knob and two color modes for the interface which is a cool touch and a little gear that opens up the menu for OSC interface control along with a button for the 17-page PDF manual. As with all Flux plugins Verb V3 works in stereo and surround (up 8-channels) and the bottom portion houses their signature preset system with A to B preset morphing through the horizontal slider between them. Overall this is a nicely featured reverb that adds new things to the table and offers a lot of options for setting up spaces that can be either very small or very big, all with astonishing sound quality and a great deal of realism.
Sound quality: Verb V3 sounds extremely convincing when doing what it does best i.e. spaces. Arguably one of the very best digital reverbs in that category and it will be hard match on rooms and halls. The frenchmen have managed to come up with a very good algorithm that is flexible enough to create all kinds of different spaces, from nearly-dead studio rooms to huge halls, all with an impressively natural sound. What should also be praised is that Verb V3 has its own distinct sound rather than trying to emulate or borrow from other reverb units and in that regard it matches up in quality with basically any reverb out there.
Features: With a clever and somehow innovative feature set Verb V3 is well-rounded and strikes a good balance, being easy enough to tweak and also to make new settings from scratch. Although it’s not a ultra-complex plugins with a ton of parameters, the included controls are more than enough to give the user some good depth to play around for awhile and also good flexibility to accommodate a good number of situations. It’s obviously geared towards creating life-like spaces, but you can it into plate-ish territory by isolating the early reflections and the cluster and the EQ for each section also helps in that regard.
Ease of use: Verb V3 is rather uncomplicated despite introducing some new concepts such as the cluster and the distribution factors. It’s quite easy to dial good sounds and achieve the desired effect and having dedicated EQs to each section of the reverb definitely helps in that regard. They layout of the controls is also well-thought and the only thing I feel like needs some improvement is on the label texts for each parameter which is kind of small and hard to read, but given that there’s not a ton of parameters this isn’t much of a hassle. Last but not least, the documentation is well written and does a good job on instructing the user about the core functions of this plugin and it’s been constantly updated for bug-fixing and better optimization, which is definitely welcome since this is not a lightweight plugin and it will tax your CPU a little bit.
Bang for buck: OK, now comes the bad part and after all this well-deserved praise for the innovation and stellar sound capabilities, I have to break you the bad news: Verb V3 is expensive. Very expensive - as in more than most DAWs expensive. For most gearslutz I’m sure it will be completely out of reach, which is really sad because it’s such a great reverb plugin in all aspects. I’m sure that IRCAM and Flux have put a ton of effort on researching and developing this product but it’s basically impossible to look at that price tag and not faint. I hope Flux can do something about it, at least in the form of periodic 75% off sales (or more) and/or loyalty discounts for owners of other Flux plugins or find a way to include it in their recently-launched subscription plans, which would at least make it available to some extent without having to bank up and pay the steep investment required to own this plugin. If budget is not a concern then an option for those willing to pony up is the Ircam Studio bundle, which includes the interesting and intriguing Trax V3 line of plugins and little brother Verb Session V3 for an extra hundred bucks, so that might be worth considering as well. If budget is really an impediment there is the possibility of only getting the little brother Session V3, which comes at a quarter of Verb V3's price but it’s stripped down of some key features, like the cluster adjustments, independent equalizer for each reverb section, no surround/multichannel support (only stereo operation) and a few others that takes away a lot of the flexibility. The sound signature is definitely the same and Session is an amazing reverb plugin on its own but nevertheless it's just a little taste of the big main dish - which to some might be just enough. To keep with the food & taste analogies I’d say at the end of the day Verb V3 feels a bit like the name another Flux plugin - it’s bittersweet. A sweet, sweet sound but for a very bitter price.
Recommended for mixing engineers, electronic musicians and producers, post-production and sound design professionals looking for the ultimate algorithmic reverb with multi-channel and surround support.