Old 10-26-2010, 02:46 PM   #1
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Default For the reverb junkies: true stereo test

After discovering the wonders of true stereo I've grown increasingly curious as to which verbs have true stereo processing and which do not. So I decided to do a true stereo test on all the reverbs in my plugins folder.

The test was not overly scientific and I would need to repeat it to make sure I didn't make any mistakes. I loaded a side stick sample into ReaSamplomatic, routed it to a reverb bus, soloed the reverb channel and set the reverbs to 100% wet while panning the sample hard left and right.

My findings are frankly quite surprising and I'm wondering whether I actually went about it the right way. If nothing else because I find it hard to believe that Aether is a mono-to-stereo reverb, although that was what it sounded like. Demo limitation or pilot error? I don't know. It's also weird that Reaverbate was the only parallell stereo verb of the bunch, so take all this with a grain of salt.

TS = true stereo
M2S = mono-to-stereo
PS = parallell stereo
? = undefinable, i.e. I couldn't make sense of what the plugin was actually doing with the signal
- = not working

Code:
REVERB				TYPE	DEVELOPER		LICENSE

Aether (demo)			TS	2CAudio			Commercial
Ambience			TS	Smartelectronix 	Free
ArtsAcoustic Reverb (demo)	TS	ArtsAcoustic		Commercial
Breverb (demo)			TS	Overloud		Commercial
Classic Reverb			?	Kjaerhus Audio		Free
CSR (demo)			TS	IK Multimedia 		Commercial
DuckVerb			M2S	MDSP 			Free	
DXReverb Light			M2S	Anwida			Free
epicVerb			?	Variety of Sound 	Free
Freeverb3 NReverb		M2S	Teru Kamogashira	Free
FreeverbToo			M2S	Sinus			Free
Fusionfield (demo)		TS	QuikQuak 		Commercial
Glaceverb			M2S	DaSample 		Free
Karma FX Reverb			M2S	Karma FX		Free
KR-Reverb FS			TS	KResearch		Free
M30				TS	TC Electronic 		Commercial
Mechaverb			?	Atom Splitter Audio	Free
Mo' Verb			?	Rhythm-Lab		Donationware
Modern FlashVerb		M2S	Antress 		Free
Modern Spacer			M2S	Antress			Free
MReverb (demo)			TS	MeldaProductions 	Commercial
MVerb				M2S	Martin Eastwood 	Free
Oldschool Reverb		PS	Voxengo 		Free
Omniverb			M2S	Jeroen Breebart		Free
PSP Easyverb (demo)		M2S	PSP			Commercial
R2 (demo)			M2S	Silverspike		Commercial	
ReaVerbate			PS	Cockos			Free
Redline Reverb (demo)		TS	112db 			Commercial
Reverbering			TS	NuSofting		Free
Sanford Reverb			TS	Leslie Sanford		Commercial
SH-1				M2S	Sweetboy 		Free
Spatialverb			-	ExperimentalScene 	Free
SR Reverb			M2S	Freddymusic		Free
StudioVerb			TS	NBM			Free
Toraverb (demo) 		-	D16 Group		Commercial
UniRoomLE			?	miniSoftMusik		Free
V90				?	EVM Synths		Free
ValhallaShimmer 		TS 	ValhallaDSP 		Commercial
Verbiage			TS	Stillwell Audio 	Commercial
If anyone knows for certain that any of the above is dead wrong, please let me know. It means I made som mistake with the routing and/or the settings for the reverbs.
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Old 10-26-2010, 03:19 PM   #2
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What's the difference between true stereo and parallel stereo ?
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Old 10-26-2010, 03:24 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nofish View Post
What's the difference between true stereo and parallel stereo ?
True stereo processes each input channel in stereo, parallell processes each input channel in mono.

Better explanation here. (edit: that doc talks about convolution, but the same thing applies for algo verbs)
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Old 10-26-2010, 03:53 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cerendir View Post
My findings are frankly quite surprising and I'm wondering whether I actually went about it the right way.
I suspect you probably did the test more or less right, and that the results are just a sad indication of the state of knowledge in DSP and psychoacoustics as well as lack of actual sound listening and appreciation done in the plugin developer community.

For example, I'd guess most of the plugin reverbs around are based on the same code/algorithm that has been floating around for many many years, developers thinking it is a good algorithm. It is not.
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Old 10-26-2010, 03:59 PM   #5
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Yesterday I was running aether (full version) on a parent track with two guitar tracks panned L and R as children. Soloing each child had the reverb come from aether on the side as expected, although it looks like they are sending some reflections to the opposite side as there was signal over there as well, maybe at around 30% or so. I couldn't find an option to stop it from sending to the opposite side.

I had aether set to 100% wet. Not sure if that made a difference.

I'm not sure how this translates to your testing results.

Thanks for sharing your findings. This is very interesting.
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Old 10-26-2010, 05:08 PM   #6
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Isn't reverberate able to do all?
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Old 10-26-2010, 05:15 PM   #7
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That's good stuff cerendir, thanks.

I just started using the Bricasti true stereo technique written about elsewhere in this forum and it's made a huge difference. I wonder how many other free ways there are to get a true stereo reverb?
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Old 10-26-2010, 05:43 PM   #8
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For ReaVerb vote here: http://forum.cockos.com/project.php?issueid=1843
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Old 10-26-2010, 05:50 PM   #9
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I just voted, thanks for the heads up.

I've found out that you have to be damn careful mixing in the box. You thought your stereo reverb was actually stereo? Ha, think again! And what about out of polarity impulses?

It goes on, all these "small" things not working the way I think they should, conspiring to thin my mix.
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Old 10-26-2010, 06:29 PM   #10
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great thread, thanks!
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Old 10-26-2010, 08:32 PM   #11
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Could someone test Breverb? Thought about taking that dive recently...
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Old 10-26-2010, 09:10 PM   #12
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More true stereo notes: http://www.rogernichols.com/EQ/EQ_97-08.html
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Old 10-26-2010, 09:25 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisharbin View Post
Isn't reverberate able to do all?
To clarify, there is a setting on reverberate that can be any of those options. Trying to understand why it would only be parallel...maybe I don't understand the test??
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Old 10-26-2010, 11:13 PM   #14
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What, no Verbiage??? I'm hurt, you hear me? Hurt.



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Old 10-26-2010, 11:46 PM   #15
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I'm sure it was a typo.

So, is Verbiage "True Stereo"?
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Old 10-27-2010, 12:38 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Xenakios View Post
I suspect you probably did the test more or less right, and that the results are just a sad indication of the state of knowledge in DSP and psychoacoustics as well as lack of actual sound listening and appreciation done in the plugin developer community.
I know, it's kind of disappointing if these results are actually correct. It certainly explains why I've always had trouble getting epicVerb to sound good in a mix, despite being a hi-quality reverb in terms of denseness and timbre. I honestly don't understand why a developer would choose NOT to make a reverb true stereo. More complex coding?

Also, most people won't be able to tell the difference if no one points it out to them so I guess there's no great pressure on developers to make their reverbs more complex than neccessary.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kindafishy View Post
Yesterday I was running aether (full version) on a parent track with two guitar tracks panned L and R as children. Soloing each child had the reverb come from aether on the side as expected, although it looks like they are sending some reflections to the opposite side as there was signal over there as well, maybe at around 30% or so. I couldn't find an option to stop it from sending to the opposite side.

I had aether set to 100% wet. Not sure if that made a difference.

I'm not sure how this translates to your testing results.

Thanks for sharing your findings. This is very interesting.
I really need to test Aether again. It should be mentioned that the demo I have installed is not the latest version, I remember seeing some news about an update not long ago. Or maybe it has a switch for m2s/ts operation or something? Aether has a headache-inducing GUI and I didn't explore it to any great extent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JHughes View Post
That's good stuff cerendir, thanks.

I just started using the Bricasti true stereo technique written about elsewhere in this forum and it's made a huge difference. I wonder how many other free ways there are to get a true stereo reverb?
Actually I'm not sure if the technique discussed in a couple of threads here actually gives you the same results as a real true stereo convo verb. I kept experimenting with it for a long while but I was never happy with the way it sounded so I ended up buying Reverberate instead, which gives me a lot more predictable results when using true stereo IR's.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JHughes View Post
I've found out that you have to be damn careful mixing in the box. You thought your stereo reverb was actually stereo? Ha, think again! And what about out of polarity impulses?
I know what you mean. Learning about these different processing techniques was a real eye opener for me. I mean sure, I've always been able to tell that some reverbs sound wider and more natural than others but I've never known exactly why.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisharbin View Post
To clarify, there is a setting on reverberate that can be any of those options. Trying to understand why it would only be parallel...maybe I don't understand the test??
ReaVerbate, not Reverberate.


Quote:
Originally Posted by sstillwell View Post
What, no Verbiage??? I'm hurt, you hear me? Hurt.
Sorry. If the evaluation version is uncrippled (i.e. no loud bursts of noise that will bust my hearing) I'd be happy to test it and add it to the list. OTOH, couldn't you just tell us if it's true stereo or not?

Like I said, I just tested the stuff I had installed. And in case anyone is wondering what the heck I'm doing with that many reverbs, I was thinking about writing a "free reverb shootout" some months ago and downloaded a whole bunch of them. I eventually gave up on the idea because reverb is very much a matter of taste and I couldn't think of a good way of comparing them with each other.
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Old 10-27-2010, 01:03 AM   #17
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Tested Aether again. As far as I can tell it seems my findings are correct; it is not true stereo. At least I don't see how something could be set up wrong considering that the true stereo reverbs I've tried all work as expected (i.e. I can hear the reverberated signal move across the stereo field when panning it).

Hall 1 preset, stereo switch set to "SS" (Stereo to stereo?):

Center
Left
Right

Aside from the center being somewhat louder, I hear absolutely no difference between these three.
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Old 10-27-2010, 01:04 AM   #18
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You're going to make me buy the $75 Reverberate. I'm pissed that I've been using the reverbs I have because I heard the Bricasti impulses and heard the difference. I use delays over reverb when I can, but sometimes you have to have a reverb. I've been using up to three reverbs lately to get a compelling sound on one track, but since Reverberate can use a second pair of true stereo impulses to modulate the first IIRC, I can imagine how thick and sweet that would sound.

I mean, assuming I know the fundamentals about masking, HAAS effect, subtractive EQ, etc., what's left? A damn good sounding reverb is a good place to start!

Anyway, thanks again for this topic. It's extremely important because it delineates one of the reasons a pro mix sounds better than a regular mix. It's about knowledge of the details, what the hell is ACTUALLY happening on that track.

It's like the difference between polarity and phase <koff>. How many people only THINK they have stereo going on in their track, when in fact their stereo has been radically compromised? Fake stereo is similar, and indeed sometimes preferred to real stereo, but the engineer should make that decision on purpose, not on accident through ignorance.

<edit> PS, None of the Stillwell stuff is crippled. Just like Reaper, it only has a nag screen when the plugin is instantiated.
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Old 10-27-2010, 01:30 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cerendir View Post
ReaVerbate, not Reverberate.


doh again!
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Old 10-27-2010, 01:54 AM   #20
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melda productions multiband convolution claims true stereo
http://www.meldaproduction.com/mcrea...onvolution.php
I like this plugin a lot, but haven't tested the truth of their claims. Their free ring modlulator is also great
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Old 10-27-2010, 02:49 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JHughes View Post
You're going to make me buy the $75 Reverberate. I'm pissed that I've been using the reverbs I have because I heard the Bricasti impulses and heard the difference. I use delays over reverb when I can, but sometimes you have to have a reverb. I've been using up to three reverbs lately to get a compelling sound on one track, but since Reverberate can use a second pair of true stereo impulses to modulate the first IIRC, I can imagine how thick and sweet that would sound.
It's $75 now? I got it for less than half of that but even at $75 it's a steal considering how powerful it is. I haven't really experimented with using double true stereo impulses yet (I have a hunch it might be a ton of work making them sit well together) but it is indeed a powerful feature. It might even be unique.

Still, as great as Reverberate may be it's not an end-all reverb solution IMO. It's not a true substitute for a really good algorithmic reverb, partly because it still has some of that typical convolution "deadness" and partly because it's not always easy getting the sounds you want out of it. So while I heartily recommend it, have a look at some good true stereo algo verbs as well. Sanford Reverb maybe? Not exactly an M7 but great bang for the buck.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JHughes View Post
Anyway, thanks again for this topic. It's extremely important because it delineates one of the reasons a pro mix sounds better than a regular mix. It's about knowledge of the details, what the hell is ACTUALLY happening on that track.
I'm glad you found it useful. Like I said though, the test wasn't overly scientific and be careful about taking any of my findings as absolute truths.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 70srocker View Post
There is a plug named Reverberate. I use the LE version of it. The paid version claims Dual True Stereo.
http://www.liquidsonics.com/software_reverberate.htm
Yes, I'm quite familiar with it, as mentioned earlier in this thread

However, convo verb developers are usually very clear on whether their plugs are true stereo or not. This is not the case for algo reverbs, and that's what prompted me to do this test.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 70srocker View Post
Rhythm-Lab Mo Verb ?

I have a plugin called Mo Verb made by SPL, but it is not a reverb plugin.
http://www.spl.info/index.php?id=462

It's a utility type plug that will "pull out" the reverb on a track that has reverb printed on it. They also make a de verb plugin that does the opposite.
No, I'm talking about this one. Depending on which came first, it seems either SPL or Rhythmlab didn't do their reasearch before naming the plugin...
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Old 10-27-2010, 03:08 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 70srocker View Post
I took a look at the other version of Mo Verb. It looks like a full blown reverb unit eh?
Yes, it's a pretty good reverb. But TBH I have no idea what the bottom three knobs (input stereomix, channel spread, stereo width) do and how they interact with each other. It would appear that input stereomix controls whether it's m2s or true stereo, but even at "100% Dir" it doesn't sound like real true stereo. I get a faint reverb signal in the opposite channel but it doesn't sound like actual reflections. More like an attenuated version of the same reverb signal.
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Old 10-27-2010, 03:11 AM   #23
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maybe you should bump 'epicverb' out to '?'. it looks like it IS processing L and R differently, but it sorta mushes them up together. weirdly, the stuff on R is smushier than the stuff on L. weird.

the just-released valhalla shimmer plugin (which is a combination reverb and pitch shifter) has mono and parallel stereo modes, btw.
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Old 10-27-2010, 03:14 AM   #24
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also btw, you can make any mono plug stereo in reaper by putting two of them on a track and mucking about with the plugin pin connectors (the thing that says "2-in 2-out" in the plugin windows) so that the first one just processes L to L and the second one just processes R to R.
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Old 10-27-2010, 03:25 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dub3000 View Post
maybe you should bump 'epicverb' out to '?'. it looks like it IS processing L and R differently, but it sorta mushes them up together. weirdly, the stuff on R is smushier than the stuff on L. weird.
I think you're right, there appears to be some VERY subtle difference in sound when panning the signal. So subtle that to all intents and purposes it could be considered m2s, as nuances like that won't be heard in a mix anyway. And it certainly isn't true stereo as I can't pinpoint a change of direction, just a slightly different timbre. But you have a point, "undefinable" is a better description. Will fix it.

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the just-released valhalla shimmer plugin (which is a combination reverb and pitch shifter) has mono and parallel stereo modes, btw.
Thanks for letting me know, I've been thinking of trying that plugin.
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Old 10-27-2010, 03:45 AM   #26
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i have reverberate and also the m7 IR's. love the sound. but i often find these reverbs stops very abruptly. has anyone else experienced this?

thanks for doing the tests, cerendir!
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Old 10-27-2010, 04:07 AM   #27
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i have reverberate and also the m7 IR's. love the sound. but i often find these reverbs stops very abruptly. has anyone else experienced this?
Not really no, and I've been using the same combo a lot though admittedly I haven't tried every single IR in the library. Could you give an example of an IR that has this issue?

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Originally Posted by Rabiang View Post
thanks for doing the tests, cerendir!
No problem, I'm happy to see that I'm not the only one who finds this interesting.
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Old 10-27-2010, 04:17 AM   #28
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I forgot to mention that I'm open to suggestions if you want to see additional reverbs on this list -- free or commercial, provided of course that the commercial ones have fully functional demos available.

I also deliberately skipped testing a few reverbs I had on my system. For example Ariesverb, which I don't consider to be a real reverb at all, more like an sfx plugin, and whether it's true stereo or not seems unimportant. I also didn't test any plate or spring reverbs because true stereo is only useful for something that attempts to simulate a real space... right? Not really into plates/springs so correct me if I'm wrong here.
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Old 10-27-2010, 04:36 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cerendir View Post
I forgot to mention that I'm open to suggestions if you want to see additional reverbs on this list -- free or commercial, provided of course that the commercial ones have fully functional demos available.
ArtsAcoustic Reverb should be true stereo too: http://artsacoustic.com/artsacoustic_reverb.php
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Old 10-27-2010, 06:11 AM   #30
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maybe the problem is that i had the gain in reverberate set too low. i noticed just now that it seems to have a default very low, around -20db or more on some patches. do you usually push this up a lot?

i was about to buy aether, but will hold off a bit and wait for this thread to develop further. i am also interested in a test of arts acoustic.
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Old 10-27-2010, 07:20 AM   #31
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Aether is true stereo, but you can choose for it not to be. The mono to stereo, dual mono and stereo to stereo behaviours are available. Crossfeed controls are available for for the early reflections and late reflections.

There's a lot to control in this unit. Check out the manual for details.
http://www.2caudio.com/products/aeth...her_Manual.pdf

There are some true stereo convolution reverbs as well, such as Waves IR. They require four channels of impulse responses.
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Old 10-27-2010, 08:34 AM   #32
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Thx for this test Cerendir, useful stuff.

But can you elaborate more on Ariesverb and why you don't view it as a real reverb?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cerendir View Post
I also deliberately skipped testing a few reverbs I had on my system. For example Ariesverb, which I don't consider to be a real reverb at all, more like an sfx plugin, and whether it's true stereo or not seems unimportant.
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Old 10-27-2010, 09:42 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by airon View Post
Aether is true stereo, but you can choose for it not to be. The mono to stereo, dual mono and stereo to stereo behaviours are available. Crossfeed controls are available for for the early reflections and late reflections.
Thanks airon, it seems I need to test this reverb further. The stereo to stereo operation doesn't appear to be *true* stereo though, but maybe I'm missing something. Is there a factory preset that uses the true stereo feature?

Quote:
Originally Posted by V'ger View Post
Thx for this test Cerendir, useful stuff.

But can you elaborate more on Ariesverb and why you don't view it as a real reverb?
The main reason is that it doesn't sound like one. I remember trying it in the past and I was never able to dial something in that resembled actual *reverb*. For infinite barrages of echoes it might be useful, for creating a virtual space, not so much. But please note that I'm talking about the free version, not the much newer commercial Ariesverb which I have no experience with.
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Old 10-27-2010, 10:22 AM   #34
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I have the free version only too and think it's great for those superlong tails, but I take it that's just echoes as such?

Btw, on this page's a piece I made using only Ariesverb for reverb. (competition site where only freeware was allowed, and before Ambience stopped being donationware and became freeware)
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Old 10-27-2010, 10:34 AM   #35
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I assumed the new Lexicon Native Reverb Bundle and the Sonnox were all true stereo, am I mistaken?
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Old 10-27-2010, 10:35 AM   #36
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http://www.kvraudio.com/news/15271.html

I want!
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Old 10-27-2010, 10:51 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cerendir View Post
I forgot to mention that I'm open to suggestions if you want to see additional reverbs on this list -- free or commercial, provided of course that the commercial ones have fully functional demos available.
I'd be interested to know about the IK CSR suite, which has a free demo.

http://ikmultimedia.com/csr/features/

Liquidsonics Reverberate and the IK CSR suite are my go to reverbs.

Pete

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Old 10-27-2010, 11:03 AM   #38
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Quote:
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the just-released valhalla shimmer plugin (which is a combination reverb and pitch shifter) has mono and parallel stereo modes, btw.
ValhallaShimmer has mono, parallel stereo, and "true stereo," depending on how the parameters are set:

- The mono reverb mode sums left and right inputs to mono, and then "stereoizes" the output.
- The stereo modes, with no feedback applied, are parallel stereo. A signal injected into one channel will only come out of that channel.
- Turn up the feedback in the stereo reverb modes, and the algorithm becomes true stereo. A signal injected in one channel will first be heard in that channel's output, then the other channel's output, then the first channel, and so on. Kind of like a ping-pong delay. With the diffusion turned up, the ping pong effect goes away, and the result is reverb that retains the initial spatial balance of the input signal, but spreads between the two channels.

I never thought of things in that way - I just wrote the algorithms to sound good with stereo signals. The original reverb mode was mono, but this resulted in issues with things that used stereo miking.

Another thing to consider is how quickly the energy spreads between the channels in true stereo algorithms. Some true stereo reverbs have an almost instantaneous mixing of left and right energy in the output. The "stereo" nature of these algorithms is more about avoiding cancellations when feeding stereo inputs into the algorithm, and less about retaining the spatial image of the sound during the initial decay. Other true stereo algorithms take longer to fully mix the energy of left and right channels, which can help preserve the spatial imaging. For example, the 224/XL Concert Hall algorithms take a fairly long time to mix the left and right signals together, while the Rich Chamber algorithms from the 224XL and onward have an almost instantaneous mixing of left and right.

Sean Costello
Valhalla DSP, LLC
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Old 10-27-2010, 12:03 PM   #39
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I have updated the first post with a bunch of additional reverbs (my plugins folder is getting REALLY cluttered now) and made the list a bit clearer. Interestingly, I've noticed that some reverbs have directional early reflections while the late reflections are centered, creating a kind of pseudo-true stereo. I have still labeled these m2s as that is basically what they are. Reverbs labeled with "-" were not possible to test as they either crash REAPER (Spatialverb) or do not make any sound (Toraverb).

Once again, a disclaimer: take these tests with a grain of salt and don't hesitate to speak up if you spot something that appears to be wrong. If you doubt my findings, it's quite easy to test this yourself.
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Old 10-27-2010, 12:06 PM   #40
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If you doubt my findings, it's quite easy to test this yourself.

Can you give us a step by step walkthrough on how to perform & setup this reverb test? I'm curious to have a go at it

Thanks!
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