Low cost impulse reverb from Syberdelix. Some serious bang for the buck...
A little history
Some of you may not be familiar with the convolution reverb, so I'll give you a little bit of background on what it is and how it works.
Convolution reverb works by using a .wav or .aiff file which is a recorded file of any space you can imagine. The file is generated in one of three ways. The more intricate and difficult is to use a full tone sweep of the space. This method however does require a bit more work to deconvolve the actual sample that will become the IR file. The second and less accurate, but still very good is the use of a starter type pistol and recording the shot. This method will give you the IR file straight away with little added file editing involved. The files can be either stereo, mono and I have now seen quad samples as well. The final method is to use an IR editor or creator. This method is the longest and most involved but can yield some of the most extravagant IR files you will hear. This is the preferred method used by Syverb in designing their IR's.
These files are then loaded into the convolution reverb of choice and will replicate the space they were recorded in, or designed to replicate. This includes not only the space itself, but the tonal quality as well. So they go much deeper then just being a big room, small room, cavern or a stadium. The reverb itself can have little or no extra controls, or have an extreme set of editing controls to alter and trim the IR to an exact fit for your required space and tone. Here are a couple choices on Syverb's links page.
Why Syverb came to be, and why their IR's are so much less expensive then their competition. They are a group of musicians and producers. After spending a bundle on the software reverb itself, they wondered why spend even more on the IR's to use it when they can create their own. More so to experiment on how far they can go in creating their own library of IR's. Since the delivery is digital (downloadable) it is much cheaper for them to offer to the public. And they were already creating it for their own use, so why not let their creations benefit others.
The libraries are mostly synthetic, or created using an impulse modeling software. This gave Syverb the freedom to stretch the creative power of the convolution reverb. And having gone through 3 of the 4 libraries available I would say they have done just that. I had a fairly good sized library of IR's to begin with, most of which are of the more expensive variety, and created using the tone sweep method. I have to say after running these through a variety of uses I am very impressed with the results they have gotten with their designs. The libraries are done in wave format at 24bit 48k, works better then some of the IR's that were more expensive but at lower quality.
Volume 1: Raw Spaces
Contains 253 files 10 categories. Ambiance, Chamber, Delay, Gated, Halls, Off Axis, Outside, Rooms, Stadiums and Weird.
There is no additional processing on these files, although some go much further then just giving you a standard reverb. In the Weird folder the Digi Redo sample gave an overtone similar to a Didgeridoo. It was interesting using it on drums as well as some bass samples. The same kind of effect was gotten using the Wood Digi Noise file, but not as rhythmic sounding. Got a snare that just won't come out and snap on a kit that needs a light touch of reverb. Try the Dry Hi Mid Space in the Ambiance folder on the entire drum mix, it gives a nice crisp presence to the snare and brass. Want the band to sound like their playing in the parking lot of the local 711. It's in the outside folder titled of course, 711 Parking Lot. That folder also contains a great Nose Bleed Seats file as well with a huge natural delay in it. This volume contains everything from simple spaces to some pretty out there effects. Raw spaces would be a great starting point to test the IR water as it contains a very wide variety to cover any studio need for reverb type effects for either single tracks to an entire mix.
Volume 2: FX Fantasy Verbs
Contains 300 files in 10 categories. Bassy, Delay, Extreme, Hall FX, No FX, Off Axis, Reverse, Room FX, Tones and Waves.
They claim this collection is not for the faint of heart, and I will have to agree with them. Working in sound design I have twisted many sounds into oblivion over the years. These guys went the extra mile here with the IR's in this collection. Using a lot of outboard processing to alter the IR wave and come up with some unique and interesting creations. The Bassy folder is exactly that, lots of IR's designed to really use the bottom end to create some interesting bits of sonic mayhem. If you're into the subsonic sounds that folder is calling your name. The Delay folder inspired several Industrial sounding loops as I toddled through its contents, and marked it for a return trip very soon. Watery Grave and Wide Stereo Mod were two of my favorites in that folder for their rhythmic effects. My favorite was the Extreme folder, again containing some interesting IR's to create some very cool rhythmic effects. Big Loud Weird was a good one as well as Huge Loud Sweeps and Its All Over. Alien Trousers in the Reverse folder was another interesting effect. Room FX Tones and Waves all contained some excellent reverbs right out of the box. And they all lend themselves to tweaking to attain some out there effects. There is a lot of inspiring stuff in this volume if you ever get stuck for an interesting beat. Just fire up a boring loop and start pecking through some of these IR's and you will definitely find something interesting.
Volume 3: Mono Match
This volume contains mono files some of which are tweaks of files from other volumes. These files can save you some CPU cycles on a tight processing budget. Or they can be combined in multiple reverbs to create some very interesting layers of reverb. Load one IR for left and another for right and see what you can come up with. There are 20 folders containing about 711 IR files in all the previous categories from Vol. 1 and vol. 2. I found a lot of uses for the single track that needed a little life added to it. As in Vol. 2 there are a lot of post processed reverbs that can be used almost anywhere. I found a ton of uses for many of the IR's in this volume and am sure there are many more I quickly scanned over and didn't really have time to experiment with.
They as well have a Volume 4 which I did not get to try out. But it looks like it would be very interesting as well with many uses in all aspects of your mixes. It's called Stack It Up and combines different IR's together, doubled and tripled in one IR to create some even bigger sounds then the single IR would. This volume contains over 500 IR's they say. Looks like I'll be ordering this one up soon, and soon they will be releasing Volume 5, this one is directed toward the 5.1 surround sound market. This should be an interesting addition and will be one I will surely add to the collection.
Overall, I found each of these pretty unique without to much repeat in the types of reverb. With this many IR's you will surely find something to fill your need. From big to small and calm to extreme these IR's will fill out any collection for the person who just wants to grab one and go, instead of spending hours tweaking a lowly old school reverb trying to get just that perfect sound. You can download the SIR convolution reverb for free, and for $13.95 per volume for these libraries you can't possibly go wrong in my book.
For the record, I used SIR, IR-1 and Perfect Space convolution reverbs to test all these IR's and they worked perfectly in all. And I would imagine they will work in any Convolution reverb that will accept .wav files. Honestly I would easily compare these to the higher dollar libraries I have without hesitation.
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