AD 480 Pro – Reverb App Review

AD 480 Pro

Developed By: Fiedler Audio

Available in iTunes App Store

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They said you can’t get a high quality reverb on iOS. They said you can’t do a lot of things with iOS. They were right to some extent, but that was a while ago. Now of course a very large number of high quality tools & options exist for making professional quality music productions.
iOS Reverb options had been difficult to defend and honestly refer to as “professional” or “high quality” for a while. With increased device power (still relatively underpowered) and evolving development, the past several months have seen a boom in high powered music apps of all sorts.
Now AD480 Pro has come along to offer us a very nice quality stand alone reverb app. This is not your Grandmas “FreeVerb”.

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You probably know by now that I love Reverb. If you didn’t, well, now you do. Reverb is a powerful effect giving most any sound a boost in warmth, depth, and wideness. Its very useful, and found nearly everywhere in music. It is a power hungry effect. Which is why early iOS music apps could never really deliver a high quality option. There was even a time when professionals would laugh at the idea of a digital reverb emulation ever being possible. Of course computers have rapidly moved forward and had numerous digital Reverb options at a very high quality standard for years. iOS however is just beginning to join the party.

AD480 Pro is the first high end, stand alone reverb app to hit the App Store, but not the very first high quality or professional reverb option (See my Auria – Plug Ins & FX review series) available to iOS musicians. But, this is about stand alone FX apps, so I’ll stay on track.
This really does sound amazing!
AD480 Pro is a unique algorithm created by Future Audio, inspired by legendary reverb units such as “Lexicon” and the likes. They wanted to develop a reverb that can reproduce any acoustic space imaginable. Furthermore they wanted to make it easy to use with a bevy of adjustable parameters and routing options for the user to manipulate to their liking.
I think they were successful on all counts with AD480 Pro.

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AD480 Pro has a great sound. A really great sound! It is fully Audiobus compatible supporting “Input”, “Effects” and “Output” slots.
It is easy to use in any situation such as playing live, in the studio, a park or practically anywhere. There’s no shortage of possibilities to create a wide margin of reverberation effects.
Having control over Hi/Lo filter frequencies, levels, dampness, cutoffs, spread, mix, and many more parameters will offer you a multitude of sound types. With 108 presets covering a wide spectrum of sounds, there’s plenty of stuff ready to go and or build off of. Create and save your own patches and banks for easy use another time.
The cross feed parameters have a powerful effect, but may not always be necessary. I had been experimenting with these and hearing some added metallic sounds I wanted no part of.
So I asked Future Audio about it and here is what they said:
“The cross feed parameter group was introduced to allow a well defined behavior of the reverb for stereo signals which are not located in the middle of the panorama but much more on the left or right statically. If you have a sound like a nice broad stereo pad or similar things you actually don’t need that parameter group unless you intend to produce some special effect.”

That was a helpful explanation. It made so much sense to me that I felt silly asking the question.
It goes to show you that they are very proud of AD480 Pro and eager to help.

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There’s no shortage of routing options for MIDI uses, and under the hood is a mighty engine. Here are some additional features at a glance:
24 input and output channel routing matrix.
Internal/ external USB class compliant audio interfaces supported.
Full MIDI communication support via network, & USB-MIDI & internal (virtual) MIDI.
Super low latency from 64 samples up.
Sample rate support for 44.1 to 96 kHz
Low Light Mode – Looks pretty cool by the way.
And more.

There are plenty of functions and parameters available to explore the world of reverb.
Nothing fancy like modulations, tuning, or springs etc, but plenty to make excellent sounding reverb space effects. Space, as in a space like a room, not deep space. You can however create deep space reverb sound effects though. Imagine a star destroyers massive hanger bay after all the fighters departed. Vast! It can be done as big or small, cold or warm as you want.
I had no instances where I felt I was unable to achieve the sound I was looking for. When I wanted a warm feel or a deep space chill, it was no problem. I never felt like I was using some old cheap sounding FreeVerb algorithm. What I’ve been hearing from AD480 Pro has been very satisfying and truly professional sounding. I’ve not experienced any crashing even when using Audiobus with this, an input and an output app. Its been stable on both my iPads 3&4.
My only complaints are there’s no recording function, & no AudioCopy/Paste. That dings the convenience factor in my opinion. My other stand alone reverb app is much better for recording directly into it, and or importing and exporting samples between other apps without having to rely on Audiobus or bounce around from app to app.
I was also a little disappointed in the lack of a chorus or other modulation parameters considering the price. Some modulation options might be added, and more presets at a later time, but as IAPs.
I get the IAP for modulation, but for presets? The following in this paragraph alone has been edited with additional content Maybe its because I do my own sound design, and find the parameters of this app to be pretty strait forward, but selling presets in this case just seems silly to me. Just my opinion. Maybe its a great idea to offer professionally designed presets via IAP? Could it be a good value for folks who either don’t feel comfortable trying to make their own, or just don’t want to spend the time? What do you think? Leave a comment, Id love to hear your thoughts, and I think the developer might appreciate it as well?

Minor gripes aside, its about the quality of the app and AD480 Pro oozes quality. Considering that a comparable desktop plug in would cost many times more than this, AD480 is a good value. Just a little inconvenient in certain situations.

Recommended.

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17 comments

  1. I am watching this one with interest. Bought AUFX:Space last week because it was the same price and I didn’t like the “Basic” label on AD480 at that price level, and I am not ready yet to pay $20 for the “Pro” version. With three levels like this I cannot help feeling I am being herded towards the big pay option. Now with VirSyn offering a “Studio Quality” Reverb for $10 I will probably not avoiding AD480

      1. Good point. The VirSyn Audio Reverb actually has the best sound of the 3 currently available. It uses Impulse Recordings. It’s an “algorithmic generation of the reverb tail + early reflection modelling with the modelling parameter extracted from a real IR.” quoting VirSyn. And it’s got a very high end quality sound. Not saying AD480Pro doesn’t sound great, but it’s over priced considering the VirSyn competition.

  2. Continuing our Twitter conv here, I think it makes sense to sell anything for money if it takes time / effort to create and is valuable enough that someone would want to pay for it. I’m not a sound design expert so for me, a high-end reverb app is only as useful as the quality of its presets. Therefore I’d spend money on good reverb presets. On the flip side there are some simple apps I might consider not buying if I feel I can make them myself (though then I start thinking about how much time it’d take, and end up buying them anyway).

    More generally, when a category of thing becomes more monetizable, the quality of things in that category increases. A simple example: if all apps were expected to be free (and without IAPs), we wouldn’t have too many high-quality apps. If all teachers were expected to work on minimum wage, we wouldn’t have too many high-quality teachers. Similarly, sound design noobs like me will find it hard to find high-quality reverb presets if IAP presets are disallowed / discouraged, as the incentive for making good presets goes away.

    One huge problem with IAPs is that they don’t have the same level of information available as apps. Every app has ratings and reviews right there on the App Store, which helps separate the gems from the duds. IAPs don’t have this, so you never know if a particular IAP is worth buying. In this environment, community blogs / sites like this one (and discchord, palm sounds, ios mars etc) play a huge role in helping people figure out what they should buy. I’d love to see the community further embrace IAPs by having more reviews & ratings of IAPs.

    That said, I do think it doesn’t make much sense to sell preset IAPs in the “Pro” version of the AD 480 app, since the customers of this app are probably comfortable enough with sound design to not consider presets worth paying for. IMO the developer would do better throwing in those presets for free in the Pro version but selling them as IAPs in the lower-end versions of this app.

    1. Yes, that’s exactly the kind of thoughtful input I was hoping to see. Excellent points. I totally agree that selling presets to “Pro” users is inappropriate. It makes a lot more sense for the non -Pro version of AD480.

    2. I don’t have a problem with IAPs generally, it depends on the functionality of the original App without the IAPs and the cost of that App. My big (and oft repeated) objection to Auria is that it is expensive and the built-in functionality (in terms of FX at least) is (to my ear) very poor, meaning I had spent $50 on an app that was useless to me without spending at least another $50-75 on IAPs, and as Rhism pointed out there is no way to judge the IAP before buying.

      On the other hand Poly and Caelestis are free apps that offer good functionality and IAPs for known and recognizable extra functionality, for me this is a great model, I have downloaded and tried both in an effectively standalone mode and then, because I liked them, paid extra for MIDI/ACP/AB, and was happy to do so.

      Alchemy is my biggest IAP spend, the free app provides such good functionality and sounds, and the IAP store provides previews, that the upgrade to Pro and all the soundbanks I have added make it one of my most expensive Synths overall. Still love the thing though.

      With the case in hand though I fear AD480 may have just been unlucky with the market conditions. Yes, they are providing 3 versions of the app but AUFX coming out when it did the market suddenly seems diluted and VirSyn are providing a great sounding App with a 118 presets for a good price.

  3. As usual, this is a very good review. I agree that the virsyn app seems like a better option for the price. I also enjoyed the extra apps inside Auria. Actually it was your review that helped me decide to get them 😉

    AD480’s options for free, basic and pro would have been correct if the modulation option was standard in the pro version. I could see presets as iaps if they bring artist or better yet, producer/engineer presets.

    1. The additional presets they intend to sell are to be created by a professional sound designer. I only wish I could share my custom presets and or exchange with other users. I am a strong believer in user freedom to share anything they make with one another easily. An email patch bank or better yet share via Dropbox should be a standard function in any app with custom patch making options.
      I want to stress again, AD480 Pro is a high quality and easy to use reverb app. The only knock against it is the idea of IAPs in the Pro version for additional presets anyone could make themselves. I’m on the fence a bit regarding IAP for a modulation parameter. It seems fair to charge for that bein an additional and complex function, but then again, why have 3 app versions? At any rate none of this affects the quality and performance of this excellent app.

  4. I tested most of these Apps and the AD480 reverb tail is the most dense and natural sounding, apart from that its gives me the routing flexibility to integrate it into my studio, no other app offers me this.

  5. The Virsyn AudioReverb is indeed the best of them. The most musical sounding and the tails are smoother. Oh well, can never have too many flavours to choose from. Now, on with the echoooooosss and the delayyyyyyyyyyyyys, pleeeeeaaaassssseeeeee………

  6. I did contact AD480, and they did respond, saying it was all Apple’s fault for not allowing in-app purchases. After listening to Virsyn, and AUFX, I do feel a bit ripped off, and feel that Apple needs to initiate some sort of a refund option in cases like this where the customer is treated rather dubiously. AD480 is a great reverb, but not great enough to justify the price. In retrospect, I blew it. The fingerprint is way too big, the price too high, and I doubt I will buy anything from them again unless they try to do a little bit of their own damage control (like an apology to customers in the app store, AND some sort of offer on their next product…I am thinking FREE PRO VERSION of their next FX device to those of us who feel ripped off).

      1. Which makes me think the developer is not being entirely up front about this, as I thought earlier. Sorry for flip flopping on this, but I had to learn the hard way. I also prefer the sonic feel of Virsyn now, so live and learn. The new Kymatica Dub delay video is AMAZING. That is someone who really gets what is needed…in most case scenarios…

      2. Weird. Well, I am going to assume positive intent and say I don’t believe there was anything intentionally done by the developer to cause any misunderstanding.
        Dub is cool! I just got the beta last night and have been playing around with it a little bit. Trippy!

  7. OK, so this review has pretty much convinced me to buy Virsyn’s reverb, lol. It’s probably overkill for me since I have Auria and the IR packs within, as well as AUFX:Space… but if it sounds that good, I might have to try it 🙂

    1. Now a long string of delays will be coming along soon. Yeah! Having an arsenal of effects is mostly a good thing…App hunting, however, has become a bit of an obsession bordering on addiction for me lol, though. I did pretty good with just GB, Animoog, and Sunrizer on an iPhone about a year ago, transferring files into Logic afterwards. Now? I am arguing with myself about which reverb to plug into AB!

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