Looking for a great reverb?
Here are my impressions of all these high end reverbs.
Altiverb 5 - Spectacular and smooth. For classical music, it is a must and nothing touches it for realism. Highly recommended. My favorite patch is Mechanics Hall -- since I recorded there once with their Steinway German D - I literally just basked in the reverb sound there - absolutely stunning!
Lexicon PCM 91 - you know, all of these convolution reverbs sound great but they really don't do as well on pop Vocals in comparison to the Lexicon PCM 91. This unit adds a chorus type reverb - very LUSH. HOWEVER, on most programs it will detune a piano recording. So, great for pop vocals --- not great on piano. Plus no processing power needed! It does take a second to lead a patch - something that always annoyed me. Still it takes a lot less time than loading up a convolution software reverb by far. Highly recomended. I say KEEP YOUR HARDWARE units. You pay for them once and they never crash - they just work.
Waves IR1 - it sounds good. But the patches never sound as good as the Altiverb 5. Plus it takes about 20-25% more processing power than Altiverb. So, it will never get used by me when I can get better sounds from Altiverb with less processing power. The Israelis have some tweeking to do --- plus they need to get more samples of nice European and American halls - many of the rooms are Israeli concert halls which I find less than pleasing. Then there is dealing with Waves authorization - the biggest headache of all authorizations I've ever encountered. Gotta give them credit though... I could get a hold of Waves tech support and they were VERY friendly and stayed on the phone with me for almost an hour getting me set up - that's great service! Still, the authorization process is painfull and knowing Waves you will never stop paying them for the use of the plug ins.
Next is Logic's Space Designer convolution reverb. This is a good sounding reverb although some of the reverb tails are not as smooth as the Altiverb. I found it more pleasing than the Waves set which had a more metalic sound (all are quite usable though). Space Designer takes about the same processing power as Altiverb.
All four reverbs are quite spectacular.
However, Altiverb 5 and the Lexicon PCM91 hardware unit are the clear winners for me - especially considering that Waves IR1 takes more processing power and Space Designer takes the same processing power as Altiverb but does not sound as nice.
Hope this helps anyone out there.