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ValhallaDSP ValhallaSupermassive

4.9 4.9 out of 5, based on 2 Reviews

An Incredible Reverb/Delay from Valhalla - Free!


28th May 2020

ValhallaDSP ValhallaSupermassive by Sound-Guy

  • 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 ValhallaSupermassive

Valhalla Supermassive from Valhalla DSP



Valhalla DSP is well known for their very fairly priced, excellent audio processing tools and a couple weeks ago surprised us all with a freebie for COVID times. This is Valhalla Supermassive, which as Sean Costello, the creator of Valhalla plugins says, “is designed to blow your mind and your music to new levels of consciousness”. This processor is based around different configurations of feedback delay networks that can provide a very wide range of effects from conventional delays and reverberation to wild swirling atmospheres.

The Short Review
It’s a Valhalla, it’s free, get it!

Some Details
As I’ve noted in other reviews, Valhalla’s (a.k.a., Sean Costello’s) ‘motto’ is “bigger and better sounds are more important (and fun) than exactly duplicating physical reality”. And Supermassive certainly can provide bigger, better non-realistic effects along with more “normal” delays/echos and reverbs.

Supermassive has eight algorithms that define the basic feedback configurations. Actually there are both feed-back paths and feed-forward paths which can produce all kinds of fascinating sound mangling. The algorithm names roughly follow astronomical features in the heavens such as Gemini, Capricorn, and Sagittarius, along with the somewhat frightening Great Annihilator. I won’t spend time going into details on these since you can find everything described nicely on the Valhalla site (https://valhalladsp.com/2020/05/07/v...ive-the-modes/). The algorithms are each different from one another, although some are closely related like Andromeda and Sagittarius. The various algorithms, along with varying settings such as Warp, Feedback and Density cover a wide range of delays, echos and reverberation. As with other Valhalla processors there are loads of presets and you can “roll your own” and save them in a user preset folder.



Supermassive includes a pile of presets and a folder to save your own.

Some results I got were surprising and unique – when I tried to replicate them on other delay and reverb processors I couldn’t come close. One surprise was using a preset (Sagittarius Ambiance Chorus) on a kick drum track – using zero Delay and zero Warp I found by varying Feedback, Density, and Modulation (Rate and Depth) I could “tune” the kick drum, adjust the relative “click” of the beater and add some room ambiance. Likewise I could vary tuning and obtain surprising spacial effects with the Hydra model using low Delay and Warp settings. The Great Annihilator with a short Delay created astounding effects by changing the Feedback level dynamically, especially above 70%. As with other Valhalla units, you can change these settings using automation as sounds are playing and get smooth, and often very surprising results.

I’ve been recording and mixing digital audio for 25 years and recall early reverbs with very crude algorithms and tails that would get “grainy” and break up as they faded down. Today reverbs can sound excellent and I always check out their tails right down to extinction by increasing gain as they fade away. As with all Valhalla units, I can raise the gain 60 dB or more as the tail fades below audibility and it is clean and smooth right on down. If ever you try this, don’t forget to pull the faders back down before playing more tracks!

Examples
I’ve supplied three audio examples, a piano track, vocal and a drum track. The piano sample uses a configuration I devised using the Great Annihilator mode – it starts with a dry signal and then I run the Mix up to 100%. I named this Cool Piano to Organ in my preset folder.


My Piano to Organ settings.

The vocal sample shows one of the more realistic presets, SpaceVerb 1999, again starting out dry and bringing up the Mix to about 50%. As it played I automated the Feedback level to vary the length of the tails. I also changed Supermassive’s EQ settings, dropping the high frequency to 4 kHz and raising the low to 400 Hz to focus the reverb in the mid-range.

The kick drum track (mono input, stereo output using the Sagittarius Ambiance Chorus preset) starts with the mix at zero, after about five beats the mix is raised to 50% and then the Feedback, Density, Mod Rate and Mod Depth are varied as the drum continues. Nice how much variation is available from a dry audio sample.

These examples barely scratch the surface, as they say. Supermassive is a really fine reverb/echo, even though it costs nothing!

Conclusion
All Valhalla plugins are extraordinary and each priced very reasonably at US$50 EXCEPT Supermassive (and the much less sophisticated Valhalla Freq Echo) at a very affordable US$0! Also zero Canadian dollars and zero Euros! I’d say you absolutely cannot beat this deal!

Do you need Supermassive? Why would you not? If you don’t already have some Valhalla reverbs or delays, here is a chance to find out what all the buzz is about. Many professional engineers use them on major albums, even engineers who can afford far more than US$50 for audio processors. Check Supermassive out and then try some of the others – I especially recommend Valhalla Delay (ValhallaDSP ValhallaDelay) and VintageVerb (ValhallaDSP VintageVerb). Test them all and buy what you can afford. You certainly won’t be disappointed with any Valhalla product.

Tech Data
I tested Valhalla Supermassive 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 are small, only about 8 MB. And CPU use is very low – I measured 0.1% to 0.14% cpu resource depending on the model and settings, and zero latency in all cases (measured using REAPER’s Performance Monitor).

Pros
Excellent sound quality, wide range of effects with some unique sound mangling possibilities.

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

Continuously variable window size from 145×274 pixels to as large as you dare.

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

Great value for money – in fact Supermassive has INFINITE value for the money!

Cons
Really nothing unless you want a separate PDF manual – but using the mouse-over tool tips I think you’ll find it easy to master, and a look at Sean’s documentation link will help if you want all the details.

https://valhalladsp.com/shop/reverb/...-supermassive/

Attached Thumbnails
ValhallaDSP ValhallaSupermassive-stars-1.png   ValhallaDSP ValhallaSupermassive-make-better-w-preset-1.jpg   ValhallaDSP ValhallaSupermassive-cool-1.png  
Attached Files

Piano Test Post FX.mp3 (613.4 KB, 915 views)

Vocal Post FX.mp3 (1.24 MB, 918 views)

Drum SFN1.mp3 (830.6 KB, 719 views)

Last edited by Sound-Guy; 29th May 2020 at 10:08 PM..

  • 1
29th May 2020

ValhallaDSP ValhallaSupermassive by samiam

  • Sound Quality 5 out of 5
  • Ease of use 4 out of 5
  • Features 5 out of 5
  • Bang for buck 5 out of 5
  • Overall: 4.75
ValhallaDSP ValhallaSupermassive

Beautiful if sometimes quirky delay/reverb/chorus

Valhalla Supermassive is a sometimes quirky but usually beautiful sounding delay and/or reverb and/or chorus effect. It has some eight different algorithms, each of which has its own unique sound and character. Controls are very minimal:

  • Mix; since I use this effect on a send, I set this to 100%
  • Width: Whether the output is stereo, mono, or reversed stereo. 100% is stereo.
  • Delay: Depending on the other settings, this sets the actual delay time of the delay, or the room size and decay if we’re running this as a reverb. Note the the actual delay time may be different depending on the mode; with Sagittarius mode, for example, the delay time will be far longer.
  • Warp: In most modes, this changes whether we act as a delay or reverb. When warp is 0%, we get a delay. When warp is 30% to 50%, we get a reverb with slap back echoes. When warp is 100%, we get a reverberant wash.
  • Feedback: How long the echoes or reverb lasts. But, with caveats. In the Sagittarius mode, for example, not only does an increased feedback result in a longer delay, it also results in a shorter attack.
  • Density: Whether we want to hear distinct delays, or we want it to sound like a reverberant wash. With string or choir sounds, having this at a lower setting reduces coloration. With percussive and drum sounds, having this at a higher setting reduces the “rattle” or delay sound applied to the sound.
  • Modulation: This is a chorus or flanger style modulation. This should almost always be used in reverb mode, unless a metallic sound is desired
  • EQ: The EQ on this unit is very basic, with just a hi-pass and low-pass filter. I like to place a parameteric EQ after Supermassive to give its delay and/or reverb a more room-like quality to it.

So, now that we have gone over the features, how can we make it sound nice. Well, here’s a couple presets I have made myself.

First, here’s a very reflective Olympic sized pool for putting a drum kit in:

<ValhallaSupermassive pluginVersion="1.0.0" presetName="Empty Pool" Mix="1.0" DelaySync="0.25" DelayNote="0.2857142984867096" Delay_Ms="0.2083333283662796" DelayWarp="1.0" Clear="1.0" Feedback="0.5979999899864197" Density="1.0" Width="1.0" LowCut="0.0" HighCut="1.0" ModRate="0.2738341093063354" ModDepth="0.4000000059604645" Mode="0.1666666716337204" Reserved1="0.0" Reserved2="0.0" Reserved3="0.0" Reserved4="0.0"/>

Second, here’s a hall for putting some strings in:

<ValhallaSupermassive pluginVersion="1.0.0" presetName="Medium String Hall" Mix="1.0" DelaySync="0.25" DelayNote="0.2857142984867096" Delay_Ms="0.4166666567325592" DelayWarp="1.0" Clear="1.0" Feedback="0.75" Density="1.0" Width="1.0" LowCut="0.0" HighCut="1.0" ModRate="0.2738341093063354" ModDepth="0.4000000059604645" Mode="0.1666666716337204" Reserved1="0.0" Reserved2="0.0" Reserved3="0.0" Reserved4="0.0"/>

Possible future expansion

Looking closely at the presets, there is room for this to be updated. The underlying code can support up to 24 different modes, and it is possible to add up to four more knobs with other presets. Even if this is never further developed, I am pleased to see this effect designed with room for possible future expansion.

Download this now

Valhalla Supermassive is a beautiful sounding reverb which is a completely free download. This is, to my ears, the best sounding free reverb I have heard.

Buy other plugins from ValhallaDSP

If people like the sound of this plugin, I suggest getting Valhalla Vintage Verb, which has more flexibility and more direct control of the sound, Valhalla Room, which has incredible room simulations, Valhalla Plate, which captures the rock and roll sound of 1960s and 1970s recordings, and Valhalla Delay, which is optimized for delay effects (but, as typical of ValhallaDSP, also makes nice reverbs). ValhallaDSP offers other excellent effects as described on their webpage at ValhallaDSP.com.

  • 1
 
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