View Full Version : Impulse vs hardware reverb

12-06-2006, 09:27 PM
I am very curious as to what others have found regarding impulse vs high end Lexicon hardware units?

12-07-2006, 10:56 AM
"Jason Edward Dudley." Now that, my friend, is a NAME. :)

I've used Altiverb, Space Designer, and the TC4000 (a stereo channel version of the S6000), but not the Lex (I do covet one though!).

I keep coming back to the TC for most things, especially if the track/sample has much ambience to begin with. Try as I might, I've never been overwhelmed with the sound of the convolution reverbs. I'll admit that I haven't spent the hours and hours with them that I have with the TC, and I could certainly get much better at using them.

But moreover, here's what's interesting: I go into a VSS4, Reverb4 etc. algorithm on the TC and start tweaking, first with the broad strokes, honing in on the sound I want. At the last, I invariably find myself on one or two final parameters, A/B'ing different settings...that vary by 1 or 2 ms from each other, or just a percentage point! And yet they yield very different sounds, and not just in the soundstage but in the character of the source itself. Want to make your strings sound warm, rich, huge like a Hollywood mix? Get a TC or a Lex and start tweaking.

This is most true with the already ambient samples, where I suppose the built-in ambience interacts with the algorithm, and things can be sent spinning in very different directions depending upon how things line up.

All to say, I think a good hardware reverb, with all its tweakability, is worth the investment. A convincing sampled orchestral piece is down to the "sound" more than we realize. I'd buy a good reverb before I'd buy a new library with more articulations. The TC 4000 has all the magic algorithms of the 6000 (which all the scoring mixers use) and is just over $2k.


12-08-2006, 01:15 AM
Interesting. I've had *very* impressive results with the convolution benchmarks I've ran. Although, I found that precision editing of decent recorded impulses are vital to the performance.

I certainly agree with hardware flexibility for doing custom environments, though I find I like having the accurate acoustical environment profiles that impulses provide. It captures the nuances of said environments and takes alot of the simulation guesswork out of it, I think.

I would think using Space Designer apps for impulses would fall further back into the synthetic simulation aspect... perhaps compromising detail and nuances of real environments in favour of flexibility and convenience.

From hardware units I've heard(including my own), they produce noticeable looped artifacting in their sound by the very nature of how they generate the reverb envelope. Impulses provide a smooth linear motion for reflection content and the overall stereo field. I find this to be a huge advancement in reverb technology.

...IMO. :)

12-08-2006, 07:42 PM
Interesting thread Jason:)

It’s all a matter of taste I suppose. Being an old timer like myself, I still prefer a great algorithmic unit to an impulse response for reverb. I’ll take a 960 or a 480L over IR any day. That being said, I love IR – but for different reasons. I love IR for instrument impulses, and for sound design. Occasionally, I will use a good IR for a particular hall or space just to have the fun of placing things in a “real” location. But, for me, being from the era of big hair and massive reverb tails, I love the Lex.:o

You have far more tweak ability with an algorithmic unit than you typically would with an IR. Up until recently, there really haven’t been any software plugs that could even come close to a real high-end hardware algo unit (IMO). This has changed. As I mentioned in another thread, IK’s CSR and the Arts Acoustic reverb are real close – real close (but you have to get your hands dirty). At this stage, I am using the Wizoo W2 for most things reverb. It is the best of both worlds. It has both Algo and IR! Between CSR, Arts Acoustic, Rayspace, and especially the W2, I am quite content with my verbs. I use IR every day – but for other things – like running a dropped coin sample through a thumped Tupperware IR.)(~


12-08-2006, 08:59 PM
I'm sure a Lexicon 960 *would* be a great unit for those who could afford it. :)
I own the Roland srv-330 and srv-3030 units. I benchmarked them against Lexicon 960 impulses and real environment impulses. I understand that my hardware verbs rank in the midrange somewhere for quality but it worked well for the price. I am assuming the Lexicon impulses are a reasonable representation of the actual hardware presets due to how very close they are to the environment impulses. Its easy to understand why the 960 has the reputation it does.

Traditionally generated software reverbs prior to the impulse method simply dont have the required real-time processing horsepower nor algorythm quality that recent hardware units have, IMO. Thats why I went straight to using hardware for effects, myself.
The *massive* number of individually produced reflections per second required for a realistic dense reverb is far better served with the dedicated hardware for quality.

I beleive that for accurate acoustic quality though, the impulse method is superior... not as tweakable but far more accurate and realistic. Alot less algorythm guesswork involved.

Interesting thread, indeed. ~|