Price Seventh Heaven: £50, Seventh Heaven Professional: £230
LiquidSonics’ Cinematic Rooms and Lustrous Plates reverb plug-ins have appeared in our previous two issues, respectively. This month, we’re going back to the plug-in that has perhaps done the most to put the UK company’s name on everyone’s lips when it comes to high-quality spatial treatments: Seventh Heaven.
Available in two forms – standard (simply entitled Seventh Heaven) and Professional – this plug-in attempts the seemingly impossible, which is to bring the coveted character of the Bricasti M7 hardware reverb unit to life as a software plug-in. It’s the Professional version we’re looking at here.
Next level capture
Before we can start assessing Seventh Heaven Professional’s sound, we need to better acquaint ourselves with the M7 hardware itself. This streamlined single-rack unit looks unassuming enough but it’s now a modern classic, finding popularity among a diverse range of audio professionals, from pop and film score mix engineers to those in post-production facilities and more. Why? Natural, lush, smooth, transparent, effortless. The M7 somehow manages to be a perfect spatial fit for all kinds of productions.
It’s not tough to find M7 impulse responses online, which can be loaded into convolution reverbs to provide a flavour of the hardware’s capabilities. So why would you need Seventh Heaven? Because a single snapshot of a processor’s possible sonic footprint is never going to provide an evolving, deep, rich and truly satisfying experience. In that regard, Seventh Heaven shoots for the sky.
As LiquidSonics explains on its website, you can think of capturing an impulse response as the equivalent of taking a still from a film. It’s a detailed image of a moment in time but not necessarily representative of the story it’s taken from. To tackle this issue, LiquidSonics developed Fusion-IR, a proprietary technology to track the behaviour of a reverb through its early reflections into its true reverb stage. All of which adds up to a detailed and, crucially, evolving reverb.
Rolls Royce reverb
One of the M7’s most popular features is its stripped-back workflow. Seventh Heaven tackles this neatly by presenting an interface that provides a rapid software equivalent: pick a reverb algorithm type and then a specific preset within that category. As the Fusion-IR impulse responses are large files, LiquidSonics provides a starter collection of presets in each category, with a much larger collection available via two separate downloads.
However, Seventh Heaven Professional’s interface goes much further, with a panel at the bottom providing control of all the parameters you’d expect from an algorithmic reverb: early reflection patterns, tempo-syncable pre-delay, roll-off frequency dials for reflections and reverb stages, and independent frequency and decay time controls for low and high frequencies.
There’s also a dedicated master equaliser with low and high cuts and a three-band EQ in between. It all results in a sumptuous sound. It’s no surprise that Seventh Heaven has gained so many plaudits; it’s just an effortlessly wonderful-sounding reverb. Its plates wrap beautifully around vocals, placing them into a mix with no fuss, while the halls are glorious, providing the perfect treatments for orchestral elements or lusher, more epic mix elements such as leads and pads. The non-linear algorithms provide an AMS RMX16-style gated snap, while the ambience and chamber parameters lend punch, power and depth to drums. This is heaven by both name and nature.
- Windows 7, OS X / macOS 10.9 and above
- VST 2.4, VST3, Audio Unit and AAX Native plug-in formats
- 64-bit DAWs
- More than 230 multi-sampled Fusion-IR presets
- 32 selectable distinct early reflection patterns
- Precise decay time control
Seventh Heaven is a reverb to fall in love with, so why wouldn’t you want the original? The price tag is perhaps the biggest inhibitor but if your pockets are deep, nothing beats the real thing.
Part of the reason the M7 is so coveted is that it’s effectively many reverbs in one. With that in mind, no single plug-in is a ready replacement for it. A suite of them? Getting closer. A suite of Lexicon’s quality? Closer still.