To discuss a plug-in dedicated to the creation of reflections, I first will talk about the lack of them. Without echoes and fluctuations in volume, we as a species, and many others would not be able to figure out the distance between us and the source of a noise without visual cues, and thus, probably wouldn’t last very long in the grand scale of things.
It is these fluctuations or amplitude modulations in volume that give our brains the information it needs to process distance. When it comes to reverberation, it is this ability to process distance, coupled with our own human experience that translates to perceived space surrounding a sound.
Why does this matter?
Well, in my personal opinion, disregarding the science aspect and focusing on the artistic temperament, the emotional feel of a composition can be enhanced or culled by the perceived space that it is trying to occupy. For example, a powerful, vocally led, coming of age masterpiece will sound imprisoned inside a wrong acoustic space if the chosen reflections are of that which does not suit the feel.
To truly have your sounds expand through the aural cosmos that is the mind of the listener, you need a module that can create said infinite expanses to suit.
If this was a movie about space travel, FabFilter’s Pro-R reverb plug-in is the devilishly good looking starring role. Upon opening the module, it was the GUI design that captivated me instantly!
The display has this futuristic feel to it, akin to what you would see in the background of some Hollywood sci-fi movie. The color scheme, the layout everything is very gentle on the eye, but so crisp and prominent where it needs to be.
I have said before the importance of the visual aspect of a plug-in and this embodies the correct method of design and palette choice. The control dials for the different characteristics of the reverb don’t need an eight-week course in waveform physics to understand. They are elementary, yet surgically precise in what the parameters control.
Without looking at the manual (in all honesty, who does when they get a new toy) I dove right in, putting this as the only insert effect on the likes of Xfer’s “Serum”, SoftTube’s “Modular” and Project Sam’s “Symphobia” to try and experiment with a large range sounds.
The first thing I noticed was how clear and crisp the reverb was. With some reverb plug-ins I have used, it almost seems like the high end of the decay is somewhat muted, but this was the aural version of when the film “The wizard of Oz” goes from black and white to vibrant color.
I must add, I am using Adam A7X monitors, which in my opinion have one of the clearest mid/high-frequency output of monitors in their price range, and the wash of sound cascading out of them is second to none.
The best way I can describe this plug-in is that it is the David Copperfield or Penn and Teller of reverb plug-ins!
You know that the sound source is not in a church or a hundred mile long cavern, but the magic, the illusion that is unfolding in your ear canals is convincing you otherwise.
FabFilter also makes the Pro-Q 2 (review link), which is one of the most sought after EQs in production today, and this, in relation to the plug-in, is also nestled inside this reverberation coliseum.
A decay rate EQ (this allows precise adjustment of the decay time over the frequency spectrum) and a post-EQ allow for precision sculpting of sound on sound, so the great expanse you have created with this does not conflict with the overall project at hand. This also allows for the construction of your own custom tuned or colored spaces that add an additional layer of pristine obfuscation to the fact that the music is not in the space you claim it to be.
FabFilter Pro-R on the surface looks simple. The lack of technical terms on the parameter controls, the dual tone color scheme, almost everything about it says “I am easy to use”, and, this is very much the case. But is this ease, coupled with the near impossibility of getting a sub-pristine result that echoes its true power as probably the only reverb effect you would ever need.
Now, I will add, the only thing that it cannot do when it comes to reverb is load impulse responses for convolution reverb, (For those that don’t know, convolution reverb is a process used for digitally simulating the reverberation of a physical or virtual space) but it doesn’t need to, ever.
Also, there is no surround sound options, but unless you are scoring for a major motion picture, this should be a non-issue for the majority of users.
Pro-R gets professional, top quality results straight off the mark. In the time you would spend scrolling through potential IRs, you would have the perfect reverb done for 20 tracks with this.
At this point of writing this review, I have been stuck for words to more detail what it can do. I have typed, deleted and typed again, but the only constant of my trying to describe the sounds is my inability to do so. The results have to be heard to truly do it justice, as any text, in pixelated or printed form, does not.
FabFilter Pro-R reverb plug-in is available in VST, VST3, Audio Units, AAX Native and AudioSuite formats (all both 64-bit and 32-bit), as well as RTAS (32-bit only).
More Details / Buy Link: PRO-R
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