U-He has released Protoverb, a free experimental reverb effect in VST/AU/AAX plugin formats for Windows and Mac OS based digital audio workstations.
Protoverb is based on an interesting concept of emulating the sound of a room by modeling the resonances and the early reflections instead of trying to avoid them. The plugin creates as many room resonances as possible, resulting in a very natural sounding reverb, at least in theory. In practice, since this is a very complex process, it is quite easy end up with not that great sounding results. The trick is to tweak the plugin’s large number of parallel, serial and networked delays so that the resulting reverb sounds just right.
The idea behind Protoverb is to put the power in the users’ hands and let them create some nice sounding presets using the plugin’s reverberation engine. It will take some trial and error, or a bit of luck and patience when playing around with randomized settings, but it is quite certain that the audio community will come up with some great sounding patches. U-He will accept user-submitted preset ideas and reward the best ones in January next year (more info about the available prizes will be announced soon).
So, how do you emulate different rooms using Protoverb?
There are two ways to do it. The first way is to press one of the two available RND buttons and pretty much hope for the best (the first button will randomize the reverb’s sonic character and the second one will randomize the delay structure). The second method is to enter the values manually by double-clicking the text box and entering your own text string. In practice, it seems that the best way to create new presets is to play around with randomization until you come up with something that sounds good and then use manual input to adjust the reverb to your liking. We’ve noticed that pressing the ENTER button on the keyboard doesn’t input the new text string (you’ll need to click the OK button with the mouse instead), which is something that we’d like see changed in a future update in order to speed up the preset making workflow.
To send your preset to U-He, press the SEND CODE button in the bottom-right part of the GUI and fill out the form. You can either choose to send your best reverb settings, or let them know about the worst possible settings and/or bugs. Have fun! :)
Protoverb is available for free download via U-He (6.79 MB download size, ZIP archive containing EXE installer, 32-bit & 64-bit VST/AU/AAX plugin format for Windows & Mac OS).