LiquidSonics Seventh Heaven Professional by Diogo C
Product: Seventh Heaven Professional
Formats: AAX, AU and VST plug-ins for Mac (10.9+) and Windows (7+)
DRM: iLok (version 2 or 3 of the USB dongle is required)
Demo: Fully functional for 14 days
Price: £249 (MSRP)
The scope: LiquidSonics takes the work done on Reverberate 2 further with Seventh Heaven, a set of two new plug-ins (Professional/Standard) based on their “Fusion IR” technology. Seventh Heaven closely replicates the coveted Briscati M7 hardware reverb and goes way beyond the static presets usually associated with impulse responses. This plug-in is built upon extensive sampling of the hardware along with new interpolation algorithms to enable an array of possibilities, giving the user plenty of options to adjust the sound of each preset. Before we go further, it’s important to pay attention to the following statement from the LiquidSonics website to avoid any confusion: “All samples were recorded by LiquidSonics Ltd. (as such they are unofficial samples generated by LiquidSonics rather than Bricasti). The samples are copyright Bricasti Design Ltd. and are being distributed exclusively by LiquidSonics Ltd. with permission of Bricasti Design Ltd.” With that out of the way, Seventh Heaven Professional is the closest we can get to having a Briscati M7 “in the box” right now. It brings a total of 218 presets, with 148 of them being the original preset bank from the Briscati and the remaining 70 being slightly brighter sounding presets with modulated reverb tails. Presets are organized in the following categories: ambiences, chambers, halls, plates, rooms and spaces, with each category housing a number of presets, which varies from 15 to 32 (see attachments for the full list). It’s quite a simple plug-in when you look at it, with an elegantly clean interface which immediately displays the most used parameters on its front panel: reverb type/preset, decay time up to 30 seconds (wow!), mix (dry/wet), output gain, early/late balance and low frequency (under 200Hz) reverb level, which is a notable aspect of the Briscati. The front panel also offers not only input/output meters but also meters for the early/late/low-frequency components of the reverb, with all meters ranging from -60dB to +6dB, so you can easily keep all levels in check. Below the meters we can access the advanced controls and also a master equalizer. Advanced controls gives the user the options for different reflections patterns (which is another crucial part of the M7), set tempo-syncable pre and post delays along with post-delay level, roll off the high frequencies from the reflections and reverb (tail) separately and there are also adjustments for the low and high frequency decay times. The master equalizer is a complete tool with five bands, featuring HP/LP filters, parametric midrange band with variable Q, low/high frequency bands with shelf or bell shapes and variable Q as well. Overall this is a very complete and polished plug-in, most importantly it’s an extremely well-crafted reverb that can easily become a go-to solution for music, sound design and post-production.
A very slick interface.
Sound quality: My first contact with Briscati M7 impulse responses was through the almost decade-old Samplicity files, which were good sounding enough to give me a taste of the hardware but they were a bit dull and lifeless due to their nature i.e. conventional convolution techniques. Then I tried the first iteration Fusion IRs with Reverberate 2, which was definitively a major improvement in terms of sound. Seventh Heaven is something else entirely, it’s really another leap forward in sound quality and for the lack of better words it feels more “alive”, with more “depth” than ever. I’m not a M7 hardware owner so I can say if they’re closer than ever or not to the real thing, the general consensus seems to point in this direction, but regardless of any comparisons to me Seventh Heaven just sounds like a “better reverb” in all regards when compared to previous incarnations of the M7 IRs. Most importantly, it’s a great reverb on its own right and it deserves to be amongst the best, which is a big accomplishment considering the high level of competition that we have these days.
Ease of use: Workflow was a bit clunky on Reverberate 2 with the Fusion IRs, and loading/tweaking the sound wasn’t exactly a straightforward process, so perhaps this is Seventh Heaven’s biggest feat and one of its major appeals. It’s really easy to use and foolproof for the most part. The interface is really clean, well-organized and most importantly it’s intuitive to tweak even if you’re not an expert on the arts of the reverb. In that regard, adjusting most controls is a very smooth experience and for the most part you’ll simply forget that this is a convolution reverb, as there as basically no gaps in the audio, which only happens briefly when you tweak certain time-related parameters, but nevertheless it’s not something annoying or distracting. In terms of resource consumption these are very manageable plug-ins although their footprint is not exactly negligible, taking roughly 5% of my CPU for a single instance at 48 kHz on my 2012 i7 processor (model 3770), with the standard version being slightly lighter. With some good session management you should be able to run the necessary instances required for most projects without any hiccups before running out of resources. There’s also the fact that a (approximately) 9GB download is required in order to have all available presets, which is quite a lot for reverbs although it’s not an unusual size for IR-based content.
Features: Seventh Heaven Professional packs quite a lot of features and the Fusion IR technology greatly extends what we usually expect from convolution-based reverbs, and it’s not only about the tech itself, but the way it’s presented and realized that’s the crucial element here. There’s a good deal of flexibility here with the whopping number of presets that covers all major reverb groups, and since each can be tweaked to a good extent there’s some significant ground covered here. I appreciate the fact that there’s a full blown equalizer is included, which eliminates the need for that usual follow up EQ that many of us usually go for and you don’t really have to leave the interface to reach for a second plug-in unless you want to do further processing with dynamics or add further effects after the reverb sound.
Advanced Controls and Master Equalizer provides great flexibility and sound-shaping options.
Bang for buck: The asking price of £249 for the professional version is not exactly what I’d call affordable these days, but it’s reasonable if you’re a working professional since it will give you an amazing sounding reverb that’s a joy to use for a fraction of what its hardware counterpart costs. Nevertheless, it’s still a relatively steep price that will probably raise some eyebrows from hobbyists and lower-income producers. On the other hand, the standard version is very enticing at £59, it has fewer parameters and significantly less presets but it should be good enough for most situations. Which brings us to the crucial point when determining the value here: we have quite a good number of awesome reverb plug-ins out there, for all tastes and pockets, and Seventh Heaven Professional is definitely among the best, definitely justifying the investment.
Recommended for: mixing/mastering/post-production engineers, sound designers and producers looking for the best representation of the Briscati M7’s sound in plug-in form or for an “endgame” reverb that’s easy to use and flexible enough to take over all their reverb duties with excellence.
*Sounds simply gorgeous!
*Very versatile, offering a good range of adjustments on each preset.
*Excellent interface design, intuitive and straightforward to use.
*Professional version does not grant access to the standard version, which could be useful when you don’t need all the presets and advanced controls.
Click below for full resolution screenshots & presets list.