You may have noticed that I’ve been having a torrid love affair with Audiority plugins lately. Developer and founder of Audiority Luca Capozzi has been hammering out some of the most impressive delay based effects I’ve used in a good long while, and the hits just keep on coming. His latest brainchild XenoVerb, a versatile “multiple algorithm reverb processor” is bound to become a favorite among reverb purists everywhere.
XenoVerb has ten reverb algorithms: Room, Hall, Plate 1 and 2, Springy, Glass, Flow, Shimmer, Bode, and Formant. Each algorithm has eight basic controls, some of which are a bit different depending on which algorithm you choose. Down below, there are three switches: “Active”, a simple bypass switch, “Freeze”, creating a loop in the internal buffer, and a “Limiter” attenuating the wet signal output. Also, there’s a vintage LED display with a hidden drop-down menu that provides a list of algorithms and a knob value meter that is especially useful when fine-tuning exact pre-delay times and tone settings.
“Room” is a revised Schroeder algorithm with a few slightly more modern nip-tucks. I’ve actually studied the obligatory Schroeder algorithm back in my Reaktor builder phase, and I can assure you that “Room” produces none of the harsh artifacts attributed to Schroeder’s infamous series all-pass network. On the contrary, this might be one of the most polished Schroeder reverbs I’ve laid ears on, which is ideal for emulating small acoustic spaces or even large spaces with high ceilings that often produce splashy, boomy late reflections. I was especially impressed by the diffusion, which is surprisingly dense.
The late reflections in “Hall” are considerably smoother and more natural, even though the tail isn’t as wide as in “Plate 1”. Both plate algorithms are inspired by late ‘70s hardware processors, even though “Plate 2” is a lot denser than Plate 1, so pre-delay is especially more noticeable, which makes it a bit more suitable for vocals and drum tracks that occasionally benefit from a little “hang time”.
Usually, when reaching for a good spring reverb, I use impulse responses in convolution plugins for no other reason than digital spring reverb algorithms just plain suck…except for a scant few, which includes XenoVerb’s “Springy” algorithm. The “Chirp” parameter models the way metal springs initially resonate high-frequency content, producing that shrill chirping sound we all know and love, and with just a few knob tweaks, you can dial in a classic spring tank without breaking a sweat.
The “Glass” algorithm has a highly diffuse sound as a result of its architecture…a design known in the world of audio signal processing as a “feedback delay network” (FDN), which was originally suggested for artificial reverberation by quantum theorist / engineer Michael Gerzon during the early ‘70s and later implemented by engineers John Stautner and Miller Puckette, who published “Designing Multi-Channel Reverberators” in the Computer Music Journal a decade later in 1982. Their research inspired a whole new generation of digital reverbs with beautifully complex spatial characteristics and a tremendous sense of depth and enormity, which is also present within the “Glass” algorithm.
The “Flow” algorithm uses a complex series of all-pass blocks, similar to many rackmount processors of the ‘90s. I think this might be my personal favorite. “Flow” has a dreamy, pillow-soft tail that unfolds in a really cool way when the “Bloom” parameter is applied. There’s something special about this one. This is a pad designer’s reverb. It has other uses, of course, but it’s spot on for atmospheric applications.
“Shimmer” is similar to “Flow”, but with a dual pitch shifter in the feedback loop. Both independent pitch shifting controls have a range of plus or minus two octaves, which allows for interesting harmonies. I’ve had loads of fun with this algorithm, but try to keep in mind that the pitch shifter in the feedback loop is still active when the “Freeze” switch is engaged, so be prepared for a cascade of icy-cold feedback.
The last two algorithms, “Bode” and “Formant”, are intended for sound design purposes. “Bode” has a frequency shifter in the feedback loop producing clangy, metallic artifacts suited for ambient drones and eerie soundscapes. The “Formant” algorithm has a formant filter placed before the reverb tank, creating resonances similar to the vowel sounds produced the human vocal tract, which makes it perfect for use with epic choir libraries and vocal tracks…or maybe you just want to have fun with formant frequencies.
XenoVerb is quite possibly the most versatile reverb processor I’ve used. EVER. An exhaustive amount of research has obviously gone into the development of each algorithm, which has been lovingly coded to perfection with an attention to detail most developers skimp on. You can dial in practically any space your little heart desires in just a few seconds, and the CPU hit is so low you can use several instances in a single project without a system overload.
But most importantly: XenoVerb is, without question, one of the very best sounding reverbs on the planet. Seriously, this could rival hardware reverb processors that will easily cost you seven times as much. With that said, even if you do have a classic reverb unit within reach, you’re still gonna’ want to include XenoVerb in your reverb arsenal.
More info: Xenoverb ($50)
Audiority XenoVerb Review
XenoVerb is quite possibly the most versatile reverb processor we've ever used.