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Topic: Just not happy with reverb...advice??

  1. #1

    Just not happy with reverb...advice??


    I just realized that no matter what software based reverb I use, the end product is noticeably artificial to my ears to the point of being a distraction. It sounds like I am listening to music with plastic cups over my ears the way the sound stage feels narrowed and restricted. I’ve used Acoustic Mirror since it can reproduce sound characteristics of concert halls, but this is not what concert halls sound like.

    I just purchased the San Francisco Symphony\'s recording of Mahler\'s 3rd Symphony recorded live at Davies Symphony Hall. Listen to the precision, distinction, clarity, ambience, and accuracy of the performance. It is entirely crystal clear – so much so to me, that it has become a reference point of what good acoustic environments should sound like. Am I aiming too high to expect computer based reverb to approach not just realistic quality, but superb quality?

    Does anyone have a suggestion on getting software based reverb to not have such a restricted sound stage? How do we get more stage presence? Perhaps my parameter settings do not accurately reflect what the reverb software can do. I have been using gigastudio\'s NFX1, then switched to Acoustic Mirror, now a free VST reverb that got good recommendations.

    Are any of you able to get realistic reproduction from software based reverb allowing the feel of a spacious acoustic environment with precision, detail, ambience, etc., or should I not set the realism bar so high?


  2. #2

    Re: Just not happy with reverb...advice??

    Check out:


    click on Reverb Impulses

  3. #3

    Re: Just not happy with reverb...advice??

    Altiverb. www.audio-ease.com

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    69 Lois Lane, Metropolis

    Re: Just not happy with reverb...advice??

    I hate to say it, but if you can\'t get a decent sounding reverb with Acoustic Modeller, it aint the software...it\'s the person using it. Believe me...I have the same problem! I\'ve heard some pieces from composers on this forum that sound great even using the NFX. It\'s not the software reverb that stinks, it\'s how you\'re using it.
    Adding reverb is not as simple as you\'d think. You have to experiment more with the wet/dry ratios, instrument panning, EQ, etc...and as far as software goes, Acoustic Modeller should be all you need. Work on your technique!

  5. #5

    Re: Just not happy with reverb...advice??

    You\'re asking the MILLION DOLLAR QUESTION. Verb affects everything. It can change the whole character of the sampled instrument(s)or material you\'re using. It can make a bad piano sample sound good, and a good piano sample sound terrible. A cheezy verb, like Cakewalk verb (now packaged with Home Studio, and other Cake products) can actually do an amazing job, again, depending on the nature of the sample, you\'re headphones, and your speakers.

    You\'re absolutely right that the ambience of a good live recording can\'t be matched (yet) by a soft verb (that I\'m aware of). Some live piano recordings, like Keith Jarrett\'s Handel Suites, are just so perfect in the tone and ambience department they make us folks in the sampled piano business (or hobby, which is even more time-consuming) want to throw the perverbial towel in.

    Still, having said that, you CAN get close, but only with real good headphones and speakers. AB your material with some kind of reference (at least that\'s what I do) and see where it goes. Piano samples like the Post Bos include ambient or reverberent samples, but even here, when you put that amazing sample to work, you\'ve got to do additional tinkering afterwards.

    I used to think Waves Ren verb was at the top, but I\'m sure it\'s been superceded by now. The Cake verb I mentioned, which comes packaged with their stuff, seems to me just as good, but much, much more limited. It does one or two settings very well, and that\'s about it. I\'m using it with the Bos now, but very sparingly, and I can\'t complain about it. Timeworks, on the other hand, always struck me as adding artifacts to the original sound. I used the Audigy verb, (which is driven by the Audigy card) when I was into the Steinway B sample, but it doesn\'t seem to be of any use with the BOS. I\'m not sure why, but the sound just isn\'t right. Bruce Richardson (and other folks in the biz, no doubt) will tell you that any SBlive (Audigy) verb is going to be major cheeze; Bruce may be right, but I used it for a couple of years, and even liked it better than Ren Verb. Nobody\'s sued me yet, but perhaps they should. I\'m real interested if there have been any \"breakthroughs\" in verb technology as of late.

    J. G.

  6. #6

    Re: Just not happy with reverb...advice??

    realistic, and a good mix are two very distinct different things.

  7. #7

    Re: Just not happy with reverb...advice??

    Altiverb remains, as far as I can tell, a MAC only plugin. (tooo bad!!). Anyhow, I\'ve just completed a typical verb adjustment on Bach\'s Fugue #8 from his Well-tempered Clavier, Book 1, using midi and the BOS 8 layer / sustain wet sample. (Yup, I\'m adding just a weee bit of additional verb to an already very live sample.) I did 8 versions of this fugue, 4 with cake\'s verb and 4 with Audigy verb settings. I burned them to CD in random order. I used, of course, the sample original, untouched wav. file to begin with. I listened to all the tracks through a pair of Mackie HRs, first at twenty feet, then at five, and at different volume levels. Not knowing which verb was used on which track (a sort of \"blind\" test) I made notes on which tracks I preferred. Then I did the whole process over again with a pair of Grado SR 225 phones, again at different vol levels and listening to specific parts of the piece, high notes, low notes, soft chords, loud chords, silences, etc.,etc. The phones are really the most accurate indicator of the quality of the verb. Happily, the speakers and the phones both point to an Audigy setting as being moderately (but not distinctly) better than the cake settings I tried. I even throw in a few 192 mp3 versions too, and believe me, at that kps, music of this type (pretty much soft piano stuff) is very hard (but not impossible) to distinguish from its corresponding WAV file version. The \"winner\" in this lengthy process of getting Bach\'s Fugue 8 WTC right will be replacing the current version running at my mp3.com site. It will be up in about 3 days, but only at 128 kps, which really IS inferior sound, and which very much dulls subtle verb.


  8. #8

    Re: Just not happy with reverb...advice??

    I just received one of Ernest Cholakis\' new reverb impulse response CDs (see above link to Numerical Sound), and I must say that I\'m amazed at the quality and natural sounding results. Haven\'t had the chance to try them all, but I have played around with some short- and mid-length impulses on percussive sounds and electric guitars. The results are astounding... very clean reverb that makes the instruments sound completely different...and it\'s so easy to get a great natural sound. Can\'t wait to get some time to test the impulses on orchestral instruments and acoustic piano.

    Though the discs are rather expensive, I think you\'ll find that these impulses will solve many mix problems related to reverb and reduce significantly the hours needed to produce satisfactory results. I plan to use Cakewalk\'s FX3 plug-in to position instruments on the virtual sound stage and then add Ernest\'s impulses to blend the sound stage mix together. Thanks Ernest for a terrific product!

    Bill Cunningham

  9. #9

    Re: Just not happy with reverb...advice??

    I almost always use a combination of at least two reverbs to get top results.

  10. #10

    Re: Just not happy with reverb...advice??

    You said it, King Idiot. What I\'ve been doing a lot is compressing the Altiverb reverb returns to get the thickness I\'m used to from the Lexicon hall (NuVerb, which is the same as a 300 or PCM 90 - half a 480) I was using before this. I still use the NuVerb for plates and other things, but not halls or rooms anymore. Altiverb is just too good.

    Also, everyone knows that the most important parameter is the reverb time. But predelay comes right after that. It allows you to use a lot more reverb - which can really help samples, in my experience - without that disgusting mushy sound.

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