I.R.

Audio Reverb – App Review

Audio Reverb
Developer: VirSyn
Available in iTunes App Store

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VirSyn is no newcomer to high quality music software development, yet I was still caught by surprise when I saw they released a new stand alone Reverb effects app. Interesting timing. We just saw two others very recently.
Audio Reverb is very different. Most reverbs are algorithmic types that emulate various spaces and whatnot. In this case we have an Impulse Response type that is from real recordings of natural acoustic reverberations. Additionally classical algorithms are included to recreate their acoustical properties.
The combination makes for some of the most amazing and most natural-sounding reverberation effects. This is currently the very best sounding of the stand alone reverb app types.

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Audio Reverb is packed with a well designed collection of the most important adjustable parameters allowing massive design potential. VirSyn understands the importance of “Early Reflection” and full user control. Our ears perceive these early reflections and basically translate to our brain what sort of room is being heard. Is it big or small, or made of wood or concrete etc.
From those room sizes, and how frequencies are absorbed, to even discerning the materials in the walls of said rooms.
This is pretty dang important and if done right (as I believe VirSyn has here) is what separates good from great to the spectacular Reverb units.
How you adjust the “Early Reflection” parameters will have a big effect on the overall sound being recreated, and with much variety.
It can be complex stuff, and even subtle adjustments can impact what’s heard. With the quality of this app’s design, there are numerous possibilities to stumble upon, or seek out specifically. As complex as this is, don’t sweat it this app has hundreds of very carefully crafted presets to suit most any need ready for you.

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In addition to thoughtful attention to early reflection parameter details, Audio Reverb also contains a sophisticated Tail Equalizer. The “Tail Equalizer” controls frequencies contained in the early reflections and the reverberation tail. This is where you set “color” or “temperature” to a room. It does not filter the direct signal.
With the Hi/Lo shelving filters, and the LoMid & HiMid frequency peaking filters, including gain and resonance controls you can have any “color” or “temperature” you like. These types of filters are relatively common among reverb units, but there is something special about what VirSyn has given us in this app. It makes a difference you can really hear.

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It all comes together and becomes cohesive with the “Room Parameter” section of controls.
Often other iOS reverbs ignore things found in this section. In order to define the reverberation effect best, a well made selection of parameters to basically recreate a room or space is needed.
Tail Delay is directly related to the room size being simulated.
Room Size essentially moves the walls of the room in or outward. Setting the distance between the walls.
The Diffusion parameter controls the density of echos from the reverberated sound and the adjustable range is very effective.
The higher the setting, the more dense the echo is, and will lend to a more natural sound.
The often forgotten Absorption parameter is very welcome. It simulates the surface and air absorption of high frequencies. More absorption affects high frequencies making them shorter than low frequencies. A higher sound will die out faster as this is increased.
Tail Stereo and Reverb Time set the tail stereo width, and the overall length of decay from the initial sound entering the simulated room. An astonishing 100 seconds is the maximum time setting. Sometimes its like the sound just keeps going on and on further and further away. It doesn’t just end (unless you want it to and set a short time) or suddenly peter out in a coarse halt. Its super smooth, and natural. It is as if the sound continues infinitely beyond what you can hear. It’s a quality that adds a feeling of the sound being timeless, figuratively speaking. Really this sounds the most natural of all stand alone reverb options by a wide margin.

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Audio Reverb is of course Audiobus supported at the FX and Output slots. You can record directly to the app through your device mic or iRig Mic (any compatible mic), and is also complete with AudioCopy/Paste. iTunes File Share (Just being a little sarcastic)is also supported for some reason. Furthermore recordings can be uploaded straight to your SoundCloud.

Another cool feature of Audio Reverb is you can play your own music from your iTunes Library. Add some reverb effect to any song. Try Pink Floyd’s “GoodBye Blue Sky” with a cathedral setting. Nice!

After spending a solid amount of time with this and all other iOS reverbs, and testing extensively, I have found Audio Reverb to have the very best sound quality overall. It is flexible, reliable, and has no strange anomalies. This is exactly the kind of reverb we’ve been missing. It’s better than Auria’s Classic Reverb Pro by miles.
The added waveform graphic is not just colorful and appealing, but useful for a visual queue of what’s going on with the sound.
Instead of sounding like an effect laying on top of the sound (which of course is exactly what is happening), it seamlessly blends with it as if it were always a part of it. That’s the good stuff!
As great as this is, there’s some pretty big things missing. Notably there is no MIDI integration to be found as seen in the likes of AD480 Pro or AUFX:Space. That may present a problem to some. On the other hand if like me, you’re focused more on audio and using this through Audiobus, then no problem.
Another missing feature that I was really hoping to find upon first opening this app was no chorus or swirl type modulation. Maybe I am asking for too much, but I’d love to see something added at some point.
It could also benefit from a email option to share user presets.
Its been very stable in all my tests with iPads 3 & 4 through Audiobus, and with other demanding synth apps. This is a powerful reverb that doesn’t get in your face demanding power. I’m sure there is a way to over do it, but in regular to heavy use its not been a problem for me.
If you want a big, natural sounding reverb, don’t mind the lack of MIDI, and have $10 then you should probably get this.
I wish I had Audio Reverb a couple years ago.

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Auria FX & Plug Ins- Review part 1- Reverb

Starting here with the Auria Reverbs I will offer my thoughts on both the included, and the extra Auria FX & Plug Ins. I don’t have all of the Plug Ins yet, but I will eventually. That said there’s too many to write one huge review. Since I make ambient electronic music Reverb is a very important effect in my work. It’s an effect that has so many uses and is widely used by most musicians. A seemingly common staple in any FX library, Reverb is anything but common. It’s like Reverb is an instrument itself. Most of the Reverbs found in iOS are very limited, and low quality. That’s understandable as it is a big power hog and our devices improving as they are, still struggle with processing even very basic low to medium quality Reverbs. WaveMachine Labs with Auria and its PSP Plug Ins deliver much improved quality in the Reverbs offered rivaling ( still have a ways to go ) even some desktop versions costing tons more. I’ve tried nearly every available Reverb on iOS, including recent high profile releases like Cubasis. Incidentally having recently given Cubasis and its FX a test drive is still fresh in my mind, and its Reverb was sorely lacking. Whether old or new most iOS Reverbs left me unsatisfied. For now at least the highest quality Reverbs anywhere in iOS are living inside Auria. They are without peer.

Lets start with the ClassicVerb

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A better, basic Reverb option than most standard Reverbs in the vast majority of music apps. Simple controls for the overall effect much like what we’ve seen a lot of. It has a warmer feel with a decent tail and good stereo spread. Best used for recordings that just need a little more depth and life, nothing too dramatic. A good choice to conserve resources.

ConvolutionReverb

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This is probably the best reverb option on iOS that doesn’t cost extra. It uses high quality samples of specific types of reverberations called Impulse Response. The I.R. Library included has many very nice sounding reverbs that when used with your audio convolutes the mix. Hence the name. The “I.R. Library” installed is big enough, but you can also buy I.R library packs to further expand on your available options for an enormous (Hundreds and hundreds) variety of Reverb effects.

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The additional I.R. ( From MoReVox at $5.99 via IAP) packs each offer an expanded collection of specialized recording types to use. From short or long classic plates, warm, creamy, springs, and small rooms, to cold long hallways, Arctic, cathedrals, deep space, modulated, and tons more can be had. All high quality and original sounding. Rich and expansive. Each I.R. resembles presets for the most part somewhat making up for the limited controls. This is the reverb of choice surpassing anything else on iOS by leaps and bounds. Best used for your higher quality reverb needs to suit specific audio scenes. It should be expected that it comes at the expense of being a power hog. There is a “Low CPU” mode but that reduces the depth and quality a lot as well as reducing its burden on CPU. Freeze the track if you’re going to use it more than once as an insert.

ClassicVerb Pro

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For $9.99 via IAP you can have a much better version of the included ClassicVerb. Is it worth it? I really think so.
It adds more controls such as HiPass, LoPass, Split, Tone, Mix, Output, Spread, Time and Pre Delay providing an excellent level of control over your sound. It has some quick presets and you can save your own tweaked concoctions. Overall it sounds better than the ClassicVerb but not as varied as the convolution reverb with its huge library of I.R. options. This is a great classic reverb option sounding much better than any other of its kind offered in any iOS music apps. A superb choice. Worth every penny.

PianoVerb2

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A unique resonant reverb effect that not only offers a high quality classic reverb spread, but also controls elements like tune, detune, modulation, and transposition of the reverberations. It has A&B alternate setting controls for “damp” and “Time” with “Freeze” for dramatic effects.
Very different from the other reverb options, PianoVerb2 (a new improved and advanced version of the original free PianoVerb) uses 12 resonant filters that behave much like piano strings. Making ghostly wide, modulated sounds with lingering effect similar to piano sustain pedals is just one of its many possibilities. You could really go wild making highly unusual detuned and transposed reverberations that the others can’t. Whatever you do with this, it will fill your ears. This is one very nice, and interesting plug in!

Not like a convolution or classic reverb, PV2 is quite capable of adding depth to relatively weak sounds but with that extra bite of resonance. It is really cool and different.
You’re robbing the Auria store by only paying $9.99 for this weird reverb. Also a bit of a power hog.
By PSP Audioware

That concludes Part 1. Just a couple notes.

The PSP PianoVerb2 in Auria is not the same as the older classic PianoVerb free version. It is a more advanced and improved version of the classic original. I know, thats obvious and clearly says “PianoVerb2” in the review but people don’t always pay attention details and are eager to correct. Comments welcome, and so are corrections, so long as they are actually correct.

All of these were tested thoroughly. The best test for Reverb is to take a mediocre sounding, single note, dry recording. Then duplicated and spaced appropriately apart to fully experience the depth and quality. Then I added more recordings to other tracks trying each of these at various settings, I.R.s etc, solo and mixed. Each of these performed uniquely well. That’s how I tested them anyway. Try your own way, nothing beats experimenting yourself.

I hope this might help or be of some use. Let me know and I’ll keep adding to the series.

Thanks for reading.

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UPDATE 1-26-13

PSP SpringVerb2

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I suspect this will happen again. I mean having to add a newly released plug in for the various categories as this goes on. A welcomed challenge for sure.
SpringVerb2 ($9.99 via IAP) arrives to expand on available Reverb options in Auria. Like PianoVerb2, SpringVerb2 offers a unique and unusual reverberation effect. SpringVerb2 is an emulation of hardware spring reverbs. The sound it makes may be what you would expect, a springy, boingy, mechanical type. It can be used just as well as a pretty nice standard reverb, but its strength is in its odd boing sound that when coupled with fast attack instruments, synths, or especially guitars brings something very different to the Reverb table. A cool effect on transients, or repeatable with a superb spread range. Controls over the musical elements of the effect such as Diffusion, HiPassFilter, Presence and more put you in the pilot seat with plenty of room to experiment. See above screen shot for all the controls.
Adjustable 2-4 springs variations, and a solid amount of controls to make soft, modest boings, to long mechanical springs reverberating in some alien spaceship machine shop. This one has its own character.

Coming up soon Part 2- Delay/Chorus. A look at all the Delay/Echo and Chorus related FX.

Special thank you to WaveMachine Labs granting me access to all these amazing tools. I am eternally grateful. Furthermore, and just as special, thank you to everyone for the private messages, posts, comments, tweets, etc, encouraging me to continue with this series. It may end up being an endless endeavor if they keep adding new things to Auria’s store. I can’t say I’d have any objections, keep ’em coming! Ill do my best to keep up.