stand alone FX

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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Echo Pad – UPDATED Review V1.4.8

UPDATED REVIEW: 8-22-13

EchoPad V1.4.8 Will arrive with a whole new set of features, improvements, and tools.
I have had the pleasure of beta testing this app and watch it grow into what’s become a very capable Echo effects app. It started out great, but this new version is pretty much a whole new app.
Some of what you can expect to see (pending Apple Review, in a week or two) in includes:
The “Meazzi Echomatic 2” inspired multi-tap function of up to 6 individual delay taps!
Individual Multi-Tap delay controls for Time and Volume.
Manual control of master delay times with a max up to 3 seconds.
Tape Hiss and Tone Sliders.
Added. Tap, Sync and manual BPM controls.
For guitarists a new summed mono output for guitarists (tap the WHITE control ring to toggle summed mono output on/off).

Lots of cool new features. The Multi-Taps are a real blast. Great for creating some crazy effects and or beats. I learned of the beats by accident while experimenting with Multi-Taps.
There’s a lot going on and plenty that can be done with these new Multi-Tap tools. It can take a bit to figure out. No problem, there is also a new video tutorial to explain it HERE

The AudioBus control panel is loaded with options. Something we see little of with most FX apps. This really makes things much easier when using EchoPad in the FX slot. Easily select presets 1&2, mute, record etc. among others. There’s only so much room on the Audiobus remote, and some may think its too much, but I really appreciate the additional controls. Less time spent swapping back and forth between apps. All FX apps should take note.

EchoPad has really matured even further. Not to suggest it wasn’t mature to begin with but, clearly a lot of careful development has been done to add to its stunning capabilities. A lot of which came from end users input.
Not just features, bug fixes, and stability but also its appearance has seen lots of polish.

At the end of this updated, and the below original review are some new screen shots showing what’s new. Take a look at the Cassini Synth shot with EchoPads Audiobus remote on the right side.

With more and more stand alone FX apps coming lately its easy to forget about the existing ones. Don’t make the mistake of forgetting EchoPad. If you’ve enjoyed it as I have since its initial launch you’ll love what’s coming up. If for some reason you passed on this fine app, now would be a great time to take another look.

“Echo Pad was born out of love for tape echoes, sound on sound loopers and noisy, dirty analog delay pedals. Echo Pad excels at hands on warping delay tones and controlled feedback, and is not afraid to get loud.”
Echo Pad offers an array of creative options to create some unique delay effects in real-time on your iOS device. Initially I didn’t really consider just how useful an app like this could be. Nearly all iOS music apps have some form of delay, so why buy a separate unit? The answer for me is that this provides a dedicated environment to apply layers of sound specific to an echo, or delay effect. It’s not just one of a collection of effects, everything here is all about echos. Your entire device screen is a X/Y playground to apply the desired effect.
Record audio with the built-in device mic, iRig Mic, as well as several professional USB audio interfaces. Import and export via audio copy/paste, direct link to AudioShare, and iTunes File Share rounds out the many sharing options.

Getting started with Echo Pad is a snap. It’s a clean interface and very intuitive. If you find a need for more info, visit Holderness Media and you will find links to several helpful video tutorials.
“Who needs another whack, sterile digital delay to strum generic radio rock riffs with? No one.”
With 5 delay types; Tape/analog echo, 8-Bit, Rise, Fall, and Reverse you’ll have no shortage of unique delay effects. Add some LFO to the delay time to make cool modulated echoes. All the pieces can be individually controlled such as delay time, feedback, echo high and low pass filter via simple left to right sliders. Additionally there are slider controls for reverb decay and level. Layer on the delays, and modulations with the sound on sound looper quick and easy.
Along with the main looper are two “Scratch Loopers”. You control these two virtual turn tables with the same touch and drag input on the screen impacting audio playbacks speed and direction. It makes a neat scratching effect, and routes back through the FX.
You can imagine there are a lot of possibilities to make some very nice delays. The Fall echo type is a new addition ( along with the scratch loopers ) that makes a cascading echo that drops in pitch with each echo. Opposite of that is Rise echo, and just as cool.
This is not your run of the mill delay found in many of the apps effects suites. There is nothing wrong with those, but this is so deep with specialized delays you wont find anywhere else. I have been really happy with the results after many hours getting to know Echo Pad. I’ve come to appreciate its great use of multi-touch (with more gestures in the pipe line) control promoting a very hands on approach to crafting effects however you wish. You just wont find this much control over your delay effects anywhere else.
I cant help but wonder if this might start off a new type of specialized effects apps? Maybe a separate reverb app? I am sure many people have an opinion on this, what would you like to see?
Echo Pad is so innovative all around. I never knew just how much I needed this until I had it in my hands. I recommend giving it a try.
Buy Echo Pad HERE in iTunes
Universal app (will run on iPad 1, iPhone 3gs, and 3rd gen iPod touch but iPhone 4/iPad 2 and higher recommended)

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