Why use one reverb when you can use five at once? Alex Holmes enters the matrix with Overloud’s new plug-in…
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Minimum System Requirements PC: Windows XP and above Pentium IV 1.5GHz / Athlon XP 1.5GHz with 1GB RAM Mac: OS X 10.6 and above, Intel Core Duo 1.5GHz with 1GB of RAM
As a technology, convolution and the use of impulse responses to re-create real-world spaces and sounds has been around for quite some time now, and we’ve all become accustomed to quickly being able to place our audio into any space we desire.
Although traditional mixing techniques dictate a more limited number of reverbs across an entire track to ensure a feeling of cohesion, the act of using multiple reverbs on single sounds to create a richer and more complex sound stage is becoming more and more common.
REmatrix is a new plug-in from Overloud made in conjunction with IR specialists MoReVoX, which aims to take the hassle out of setting up multiple reverb sends by including a multilayered convolution engine within a single plug-in.
The software can run within your DAW, or alternatively in standalone mode, where it processes the input signal from your audio interface. As it’s fairly light on the CPU you’ll most likely end up using multiple instances of REmatrix to design individual tracks, and on buss sends to cover more general reverb duties.
The GUI is crisp and clear, if a little un-inspiring, with a main panel of sliders enabling you to blend together up to five impulse responses taken from libraries of Hall, Room, Plate, Early, and Special categories. Each slider has a solo and mute button, and there are also dry and wet sliders for setting up the overall balance.
As a nice touch, you have stereo pan controls on the main outputs, so you can experiment with focussing the dry signal in the centre whilst keeping the effected signal out to the sides. To the left you’ll find the broad collection of 400 presets, plus the 250 individual impulse responses created by MoReVoX.
These are mostly very good, with a range of real and effected spaces, although we found the lack of any really short rooms below 500ms, and any speaker or amp simulations, a missed opportunity. However, you can easily load in your own IR libraries, which greatly opens up possibilities.
You can also use this left-hand panel to edit each IR with two flexible EQs and controls for pan, stereo width, length and delay. This is where you can begin to craft individual layers, perhaps panning a room sound slightly to the left and giving it a pre-delay, whilst widening a hall and placing it to the right.
Once you’ve chosen, edited and blended your different impulses you can turn to the top panel, which shows each individual waveform, plus (if you choose to use all of them) the sum of all five. Rather than run each impulse in series, REmatrix actually combines each one into a single IR, where each minor tweak re-draws the wave. You can also control the overall reverb time by increasing or decreasing the length by 50%.
In addition, this section features input and output meters, plus a master effects section for further crafting the wet signal. Here you have a Mod processor for adding a little movement into the static reverb tails, a sync-able delay for adding detail, and an algorithmic reverb taken from Breverb 2 that can be used to help make the tails silky smooth. Finally, you have drive with tape- or tube-style saturation, an easy-to-use compressor, and a final two-band EQ.
Although the presets and library are decent, REmatrix is a fairly expensive proposition when many of us will already have a convolution-based reverb. It’s a flexible and easy-to-program plug-in but you don’t have the same level of editing depth for each IR as, say, Logic’s Space Designer, which enables you to change the volume and filter envelopes and reverse the waveform.
We also found little details, such as not being able to input specific values for the EQ frequency and delay time, a little frustrating, and would love to be able to use a side-chain signal to control the compressor.These things aside, designing reverbs using the sliders and controls is a unique and intuitive experience that gives excellent results. Individual instruments spring to life with a level of depth and detail that is much harder to achieve with individual plug-ins and buss sends. With a few tweaks and added features, plus the promise of more presets and impulse responses, REmatrix has the potential to become a future classic.