denise audio Perfect Plate XL Review

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The Perfect Plate XL by denise audio (intentional lowercase per brand’s style guideline) goes above and beyond your standard reverb units, offering plenty of creative depth and scope for some weird and wacky sounds.

To sell producers and musicians yet another reverb, the Perfect Plate XL needs to rock something that they haven’t seen or heard before, right?!

Perfect Plate XL promises to tick that box. It’s actually a reverb unit crossed with a multi-FX generator; the tagline states it can “manipulate your tracks in supernatural ways with supernatural sound quality.”

At first glance, it checks out as a pretty basic reverb, but across the middle of the no-frills UI are five FX modules.

These modules put some secret sauce on your plate compared to other standard ‘verb units, but are they spicy enough?

Perfect Plate XL – A Clean Plate Reverb

At its core, the Perfect Plate XL is a plate reverb modeled on the old-school mechanical plate reverbs of the 60s and 70s.

Contrasting to room or chamber reverbs, plate reverbs create artificial reverb tones that simulate supernatural, sci-fi, twisted space-like, or otherwise weird and unearthly sounds.

The Perfect Plate XL is a modern plate reverb unit and it has a clear but rich tone, but still borrows plenty of concepts from the original plate reverbs.

It’s also worth noting that the Perfect Plate XL plugin uses the same TXVerb™ reverb algorithm as the well-regarded Denise Perfect Room reverb and it sounds awesome with default settings.

There are plenty of reverbs out there that come stacked with extra FX and innovative settings, but many simply don’t sound great and are likely let down by their reverb algorithm. There’s no such problem here.

A Flexible Standard Plate Reverb

All your usual reverb settings are represented e.g. pre-delay, HPF and LPF, width, and tail length. You can select different reverb characters along the top bar, (e.g. natural, dark, or bright) and also set the reverb decay.

There’s a 6-band EQ that lets you intuitively dial in your reverb tone, very useful if you just want to add some high-end glisten or sparkle to percussion or vocals while leaving the body in-tact or similar.

If the Perfect Plate XL’s features stopped here then you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s just another reverb, right?

Lucky, there’s a lot more!

The Secret Sauce on the Side of the Plate

The secret sauce on the side of the Perfect Plate XL comes in the form of five FX modules, namely:

  • Reso
  • Drive
  • Rotate
  • Detune
  • Ducker

This is where the magic happens, these controls go above and beyond your standard reverb unit and offer some pretty unique sound design opportunities.

Reso

The resonator unit is the main workhorse of the FX modules and I could immediately see how you can quickly implement this into productions.

Three resonator units allow you to create synth-like sounds that can be tuned to your track. With a big, wet reverb, you can use this to create some pretty wicked spacey parallel FX when added to a bus.

A closer look at Perfect Plate XL's interface.

A closer look at Perfect Plate XL’s interface.

Anything ranging from drums to vocals and basslines can be turned into a funky tunable synth with this module. Very cool for adding instantaneous harmonic interest to your tracks.

It could even take the place of a synth. By adding the Reso to say, a drum beat, you can create the illusion that you have two tracks playing side-by-side – a beat and a synth – when in reality it’s just a beat with this reverb on the insert.

Drive

Drive is pretty straightforward, allowing you to drive the reverb signal and add distortion. There are 4 different distortion parameters; bite, buzz, warp, and tape.

Rotate

Rotate and reso are a brilliant combination. I suggest selecting the Synth – Lush and Dreamy preset and messing about with the Time and Feels settings to create interesting syncopated synth sounds that can be tuned to your track with the Reso module.

Detune

Detune adds vibrato and more tremolo effects. The Shake setting is cool for adding some tension to the reverb.

Ducker

Another FX module that helps you create movement, the ducker can be used to exaggerate the in-out motion of the resonator and rotator.

Sugar, Spice, and All Things Nice

The Perfect Plate XL achieves a rare fusion of ingredients.

Fundamentally, this is a great-sounding, flexible reverb unit. You don’t need to use the FX modules to get the most out of it. You can easily dial in most of your classic reverb settings for drums, vocals, synths, basslines, and more. The 6-band EQ makes life easier.

The Dark reverb character is thick and atmospheric, the Natural setting does what it says on the win and involves minimal coloration whereas Bright is best-suited for glassy effects – they tick all the boxes.

FX modules can be used to totally redefine and redesign your sounds. You could replace LFOs, vibrato, and tremolo units with this one plugin AND use it for reverb too. Combining some of these effects with reverb in the one plugin works really well.

The Low Down

When it comes to reverb, I always try and focus on two things:

  • Does the reverb actually sound good?
  • What else can I get out of it?

Because the Perfect Plate XL is a very competent reverb unit that comes with 5 FX modules, it definitely offers something that the vast majority of reverbs don’t.

The FX modules really add value to the unit because they sound great. If they were grainy, bitty, or otherwise nasty-sounding then it’d be a different story, but they sound wicked, which makes them very usable.

Overall, this is a really interesting reverb unit that you can squeeze creative use out of almost immediately.

I’m already adding it to some of my drum busses and tuning those resonators to my synth melodies!

More info: Perfect Plate XL (€99.00)

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Perfect Place XL Review

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Because the Perfect Plate XL is a very competent reverb unit that comes with 5 FX modules, it definitely offers something that the vast majority of reverbs don’t.

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  • Performance
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  • Design
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About Author

Sam is a drummer, audio producer, and writer from London, UK. Often found nodding his head to funky beats and jazzy riddims.

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