Reverb: Hardware or Software

Discussions about recording, including software, hardware, plugins, and techniques.

Reverb: Hardware or Software

Postby chysn » Fri Dec 19, 2014 8:18 pm

Of course everyone wants an Eventide Space. Unfortunately, my experience is more along the lines of Alesis Nanoverb.

But it occurs to me that digital reverb is nothing but slinging bits. Assuming you can get a clean signal into and out of your DAW, is there any advantage these days to a hardware reverb unit in a DAW environment?

And if you've opted for the plug-in, what are your favorites?
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Re: Reverb: Hardware or Software

Postby Paul Dither » Sat Dec 20, 2014 12:34 am

I've heard and read lots of good things about the Strymon Blue Sky and the Strymon Big Sky. I don't own any of these myself though.
http://www.strymon.net/products/

As for software, I use three Valhalla plugins (VintageVerb, Room, Shimmer), which I would highly recommend. You should check out the demo versions.
http://valhalladsp.com/

On purpose, I used two of the Valhalla reverbs over the top in this piece:
https://soundcloud.com/pauldither/02-musette-empty-streets-mix?in=pauldither/sets/musette
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Re: Reverb: Hardware or Software

Postby chysn » Sat Dec 20, 2014 10:47 pm

Thanks for the info! I really like ValhallaRoom.

I'm sort of starting from ground zero with effects; from Reaper, I had access to the plugins that came with GarageBand. Then I uninstalled GarageBand, and the plugins went along for the ride. I don't need much. Reverb, maybe chorus, maybe delay.
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Re: Reverb: Hardware or Software

Postby Paul Dither » Sat Dec 20, 2014 10:59 pm

You're welcome.

Have you ever tried u-he Satin? It's more expensive than the Valhalla stuff, but you can use it for delay as well as for chorus and flanger effects.
http://www.u-he.com/cms/satin
As with most u-he plugins, it can get a little CPU hungry though.

Those, the Valhalla stuff and the u-he Satin, are the reverb and delay effects I tend to use these days.
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Re: Reverb: Hardware or Software

Postby chysn » Sun Dec 21, 2014 3:21 am

Poptones wrote:Have you ever tried u-he Satin?


No, I haven't tried anything. I've never seriously used a DAW before. So I appreciate all the suggestions I can get.

Do you know anything about u-he Ubhik? It seems to have a pretty solid variety.
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Re: Reverb: Hardware or Software

Postby Paul Dither » Sun Dec 21, 2014 3:52 am

No, I haven't used Uhbik. The only other u-he plugins I've used before I returned to hardware synths are Zebra and Diva. I like the reverb that's part of Zebra: ZRev. Lots of paramenters to go bonkers, e.g. to create long evolving reverb tails.
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Re: Reverb: Hardware or Software

Postby Razmo » Sat Dec 27, 2014 12:14 pm

I'm not sure about how big a difference there is to software and hardware (with software), but I prefer hardware reverbs because I work with only hardware.

One of the main advantages that I believe there is to a hardware reverb is that they are dedicated for reverb, and often have custom designed chips (like Lexicon's Lexichip for example) to handle the reverb algorithms... This gives full power to the algorithm, plus they may be able to accomplish a lot more detail compared to a computer which is a general CPU doing the algorithms.

But with todays extreme CPU's on computers I don't know if they're able to handle the same load really... but I bet that if software on a computer were to do the same as a T.C. Electronic or Lexicon high-end processor, then it would take quite an amount of CPU juice to do it, leaving less programming power for other tasks.

One of the advantages of hardware is of course, that it takes none of your CPU power from your computer... but on the other hand it's less flexible, and can only be used once in a project.

Personaly I use two Lexicon MX400's and a MX200... they sound great, and I don't need anything else :)
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Re: Reverb: Hardware or Software

Postby chysn » Sat Dec 27, 2014 4:27 pm

Are the best reverb algorithms too much for the best CPUs? That may have been the case ten years ago, but I don't think it's the case today. ValhallaRoom hardly moves the needle on my MacBook Pro.

I think that there is an advantage to hardware, though. Not needing a computer is an advantage in itself, if you play for enjoyment. Plug-in reverbs seem to be every bit as good as hardware reverbs, but most of my playing doesn't involve a computer. So I'll probably pick up a decent, but not expensive, reverb pedal for every day playing, and then use the plug-ins for recording.
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Re: Reverb: Hardware or Software

Postby Paul Dither » Sat Dec 27, 2014 5:57 pm

The Strymon Big Sky and the Eventide Space do support MIDI, so you can use each of those like any other pedal and/or within the recording environment on your Mac.
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Re: Reverb: Hardware or Software

Postby chysn » Sat Dec 27, 2014 6:09 pm

Poptones wrote:The Strymon Big Sky does support MIDI, so you can use it like any other pedal and/or with your recording environment on your Mac.


That's the big advantage over the Eventide Space, probably. Unfortunately, if I get that blue box, I won't be able to get the other blue box that I want (Evolver). So I think I'm going to try something like the EHX Holy Grail (for casual live playing) plus the Valhalla plug-in (for recording).
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Re: Reverb: Hardware or Software

Postby Razmo » Sat Dec 27, 2014 6:16 pm

Don't forget to check pedals for their impedances... pedals are not that easy to use with synths because of impedances that differ, and the sensitivity of pedals are much higher, meaning that you'll have to lower the volume of the synth, also lowering it's signal to noise ratio.

Newer pedals may have inputs that accept line level signals too, but EHX pedals I've seen and tried do not, and are often noisy.

This is why I've decided to drop pedals... too many hazzles... and are going with line level rack FX units instead.

I know that some of the newer T.C. pedals do accept line level signals though... don't know about Strymon and Eventide though... so check that out!
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Re: Reverb: Hardware or Software

Postby Paul Dither » Sat Dec 27, 2014 6:42 pm

chysn wrote:That's the big advantage over the Eventide Space, probably. Unfortunately, if I get that blue box, I won't be able to get the other blue box that I want (Evolver). So I think I'm going to try something like the EHX Holy Grail (for casual live playing) plus the Valhalla plug-in (for recording).


Oh, I thought the Eventide Space would support MIDI as well. I know that Strymon also offers a librarian for the Big Sky.

But, yeah, I completely forgot about the price. So maybe your plan B is currently the better option.
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Re: Reverb: Hardware or Software

Postby chysn » Sat Dec 27, 2014 8:45 pm

Poptones wrote:Oh, I thought the Eventide Space would support MIDI as well.


Apparently, yes, it does.
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Re: Reverb: Hardware or Software

Postby chysn » Sat Dec 27, 2014 10:07 pm

Razmo wrote:Don't forget to check pedals for their impedances...


That's a good tip, and it's usually easy to check that for major manufacturers, either in their documentation, forum posts, or Sound on Sound reviews.
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Re: Reverb: Hardware or Software

Postby dslsynth » Sat Dec 27, 2014 10:18 pm

Razmo wrote:Don't forget to check pedals for their impedances... pedals are not that easy to use with synths because of impedances that differ, and the sensitivity of pedals are much higher, meaning that you'll have to lower the volume of the synth, also lowering it's signal to noise ratio.

The Eventide Space do have a Instrument/Line level switch on its back for both input and output:
http://eventide.com/AudioDivision/Produ ... 0BACK.ashx

@chysn: I may have asked before but have you considered the Eventide H9 instead? Less knobs but can run all algorithms from all of the Eventide stompboxes and a neat iPad app lets one control it remotely.

:shock: . o O ( stage hacking )
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Re: Reverb: Hardware or Software

Postby chysn » Sat Dec 27, 2014 10:33 pm

dslsynth wrote:@chysn: I may have asked before but have you considered the Eventide H9 instead? Less knobs but can run all algorithms from all of the Eventide stompboxes and a neat iPad app lets one control it remotely.


The H9 looks cool, but I think I've settled on inexpensive hardware reverb (e.g., Holy Grail) for casual playing, and everything else will be done with software. It's clear that computer recording has come way further than I expected. My last earnest attempt at recording with computer was maybe 2006, and then it was all about compensating for latency. That barrier has now been eliminated (if not from a literal, technical, standpoint, at least from a practical standpoint). In 2006, there was a war between VST and everything else, and "all of the above" seems to have won that war. Enough has improved for computer-based DAW I'm pretty excited about getting into it.
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Re: Reverb: Hardware or Software

Postby Mefistophelees » Sun Jan 04, 2015 2:33 am

Razmo wrote:Don't forget to check pedals for their impedances... pedals are not that easy to use with synths because of impedances that differ, and the sensitivity of pedals are much higher, meaning that you'll have to lower the volume of the synth, also lowering it's signal to noise ratio.


Just get a cheap reamp box. Problem solved.

I have a modular system and a few stomp boxes, the stomp boxes tend to offer a different functionality and a different sound so they are useful.
As for level or impedance mismatches - you can use these to make different (usually distorted) sound. An MS-20 through a EH tube distorts like crazy but sounds fantastic. Synths and distortion go together much more than most people realise, certainly the sound of a Moog sweep is part overdrive, it sounds really quite bland without it.

I don't see any reason you can only use reverb once per project unless you're recording live.
I've printed reverb to a track before. OTOH I often use effects as part of a sound rather than as a thing to bolt on at the end so maybe my approach is a bit different.


BTW for reverb, Space sounds *good*.


If you're into modular the Makenoise ErbeVerb is completely bonkers.
You can modulate anything you want with it. Rather than sweeping a filter with an envelope you can sweep the room size!
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Re: Reverb: Hardware or Software

Postby chysn » Fri Jan 23, 2015 12:15 am

I finally got a TC Electronics Hall of Fame reverb. It's great for just playing, way better than the original NanoVerb that I was using. And it's in stereo so that I can run the Evolver through it, too.
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