United Plugins Hyperspace by JMG Sound by Sound-Guy
HyperSpace by JMG Sound from United Plugins
United Plugins is new . . . and not new . . . in the audio plugin business. It was founded by three software companies, JMG Sound, FireSonic and SounDevice Digital. They also work with MeldaProduction, so you will find products from all four brands on their website. They recently introduced three new plugins, one each from JMG Sound, FireSonic and SounDevice Digital. I’ll describe the JMG contribution here, an amazing sound mangling device I’ve been using for a couple weeks.
What is It?
Hyperspace is described as an algorithmic reverb, but I’d say it’s far beyond that! Yes, it can provide reverberation with basic decay times from nothing to over 20 seconds, but it includes all kinds of frequency and phase tricks, ducking, dynamics (compression and expansion), two EQ’s (tilt and high-low cuts), modulation, stereo width control (down to mono), spectral noise separation, transient recovery, and a lot more. Hyperspace can both warp sounds beyond belief, and provide more “realistic” reverb if you use a light touch. If all you have in your “equipment cabinet” are normal algorithmic and convolution reverbs, this one will provide effects you’ve never imagined.
Hyperspace includes over 300 presets in four categories: Hall, Plate, Cathedral and Room. You can set up your own categories and, of course, save you own designs as presets. There are six processor types, Vintage, Classic, Retro, Modern, Sci-Fi, and Cosmic. However, there are actually more models since selecting one of the six actually loads two algorithmic structures and their value sets into the Algorithm XY pad, the white and purple outlined box on the left. This XY pad enables varying the algorithm in two ways: the X-axis crossfades between the two structures and the Y-axis interpolates between sets of internal settings. The XY pad on the right is used to modify the “Character” of the sound: the X-axis skews delay times in the algorithms while the Y-axis morphs frequency ranges and internal routing of the algorithms.
In addition to these XY pads there are 24 parameter controls in the main area of the Hyperspace window, some familiar and some unique. There are global controls in the top area including Mix level, In and Out levels, A/B comparisons, Undo, Auto (gain), Lock, a Limiter, a 2X oversampling button and a Panic button in case things get out of hand (which they can!). Finally there are three “dice” buttons that provide three levels of randomization: the snake-eye changes only the two XY pads, the ‘three’ die changes the XY pads and the blue timing section, and ‘sixes’ changes everything. Randomly. Using these provides some true surprises.
I found the presets include some very useful effects, most of them being moderate levels of sound processing. You can start with one, move the XY points, twist knobs and move sliders, and move the effects from slight variations to, well, hyperspace. I didn’t find any reverb effect I disliked, though the extreme ones are truly extreme. I did notice some low level non-harmonic artifacts, lower in frequency than the driving signal, that could be heard most easily on vocals and and other “pure” tones with 100% wet processing. These appear to be beat frequencies like aliasing, which are likely due to the extremely complex design with hundreds of processors running in series and parallel with all kinds of feedback connections. This effect varies in level with different processor types, being most obvious with the Sci-Fi model (which actually fits fine in that case!) and least noticeably with the Vintage model. This can be quite obvious using a 100% wet mix, but not serious when the mix level is below 40-50%, and maybe even useful when you take Hyperspace beyond the solar system.
There are some nicely implemented features: the GUI can be continuously varied from 500x280 pixels up to your full screen size, adjustment of knobs and sliders can be made by mouse movement, and very fine adjustment by mouse wheel, internal 64 bit processing yields perfectly smooth tails down over 100 dB dB below full scale, high resolution sample rates are supported, and time-based parameters can be synced to the host tempo. Installation and authorization was fast and simple, and it’s available as VST, VST3, Audio Units and AAX, in both 32 and 64 bit formats.
Such complex processing does come at a cost - in my test system (PC Audio Labs Rok Box PC with Windows 7, 64 Bit, 4-Core Intel i7-4770K, 3.5 GHz, and 16 GB RAM) with both 32 bit and 64 bit Hyperspace plugins a single instance uses from just under 1% to a little over 2% cpu resource depending on parameter settings. It also adds 512 samples of latency, though a little delay in a reverb is generally not an issue.
Incredible loads of fun! Definitely worth a listen.
A wide and wild range of reverberation effects.
Excellent sound with 64 bit internal processing.
Continuously variable GUI size with clean layout.
Easy installation and authorization.
Free trial period. And on sale, 40% off list, until end of June.
Currently no PDF or other offline manual - only online, requiring a live Internet connection - United Plugins say they will provide a download soon.
Uses more cpu resources than typical convolution and algorithmic reverbs.
With some settings and high wet levels I heard low level non-harmonic artifacts, but didn’t find it a serious issue.