Have you ever tried to get realistic sounds from a digital reverb, and been disappointed at how granular or “digital” they can sound? Well, I want to introduce you to the reverb that changed all that for me! It’s called Altiverb, from a European company called Audio Ease.
It’s not just any reverb, it’s a convolution reverb, which means that the reverb algorithms are based on actual sample recordings of real spaces. These guys travel the world to bring you real world spaces in which you can place your audio. In addition, they’ve given you the ability to record your own IRs (Impulse Responses) so that you can recreate the room sound from anywhere to use with audio recorded somewhere else. <<I will DEFINITELY post more detail on this topic in the future, but for today I will focus simply on the incredible effect that one of its presets can have on a piece of music.>>
Reverb 101: Quite often the way you use a reverb, like many time-based effects, is to send the dry (original signal) to the input of the reverb and bring the “wet” or reverberated signal back to be mixed with the original (“dry”). You essentially control the “wet/dry” mix by deciding how much of the reverberated signal you want to mix with the original. This determines the amount of the effect and the perceived distance between the source and the listener.
How is Altiverb different? Well, Altiverb is different in many ways, but today I’m focused on how you might use it. Altiverb sounds so good, that most of the time, I use Altiverb as an insert (entire signal passes through the device and wet/dry is controlled in the plugin) on either an individual track or a submix.
I was working on a piece of music with Tanya Ostrovsky, an amazing musician and composer, where we needed to come up with a pirate theme. Her music was perfect, but I wanted to make it sound as if we had hired musicians and played in an incredible concert hall.
I routed all my strings to a submix and inserted Altiverb. I chose the Concertgebouw Concert Hall in Amsterdam, Netherlands. I adjusted the wet/dry mix to taste, and… amazing! It sounded so good, I sent the percussion and flute to the same sub and renamed it “orchestra” instead of “strings”. It’s essentially my entire mix running through this reverb. If you’ve ever used reverb this way (which, typically you shouldn’t), you may have used a wet/dry mix of anywhere from 6% to 20%, but in this case I am using over 30% wet/dry. It would be extremely rare that I would use that much reverb in this type of application with any other plugin. Listen to my example below.
Comments? Find me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MichaelAudio