In keeping with the Nostromo/Narcissus/Sulaco tradition, this is a deep dark space verb. It is kind of a cross between Nostromo and Narcissus, but with a far higher earlier echo density than either of those reverb. LV-426 has a slower attack than the other reverb modes, and a lush, diffuse random modulation that produces beautiful long decays.
The LATE LowMult/Xover and LATE HighMult/Xover filters have been moved to a location where they act as tone controls.
Values of LowMult less than 1.0 allow you to dial in reverbs with less low frequency energy.
The LowXover control can be used to adjust the crossover freq of the low cut/boost.
64-bit VST for OSX. ValhallaRoom is now fully 32 and 64-bit compatible for both Windows and OSX.
Optimized CPU for Windows RTAS and VST32
Fixed mono->stereo bypass bug in RTAS
Window resizing bug fixed in Digital Performer
Update links have been sent to all ValhallaRoom customers, and new demo versions are available for testing at the ValhallaRoom page.
Dan McMullen has recently posted a tutorial on the Reaper forums, detailing a few techniques on how to map a standard MIDI control to a limited range of the much higher resolution Pitch bend control, in order to get precise control over the ValhallaRoom DECAY slider (and other sliders). You can see the post here.
Last Friday, I updated ValhallaRoom to version 1.0.9. Apart from a few bug fixes (Pro Tools issues, some weird noises that could be heard with certain Early Mod settings) and a smoothed Mix slider, the big change with version 1.0.9 was the addition of a new reverb mode, Sulaco:
Like its similarly named fellow modes, Nostromo and Narcissus, Sulaco is Dark. In this case, “Dark” means that the top octave is gone – no audible energy above 1/4 the sampling rate. There probably is some energy if you look at a spectrogram, but it will be at least -100 dB down, so “gone” is a good way of describing things.
Sulaco is also light. Not necessarily in sound, but in CPU. It is probably the 2nd lowest mode CPU wise, with Narcissus still leading in terms of thriftiness.
The original goal of Sulaco was to produce a smaller room sound. This can be achieved by setting Late Size to a smaller setting. In general, this control has a lot more range in Sulaco than in some of the other more room-ish VRoom modes (Large Room, Large Chamber, Dark Chamber, Dark Space). Turn the Late Size control up, and discrete early reflections can be heard. Use Early Send to smooth these out, or leave them as is according to your own tastes.
Sulaco has a LOT of modulation going on inside of it, of the “detuning” variety.
The stereo image in Sulaco is somewhat different than the other reverb modes. The Late Cross control will affect the stereo imaging of the output, with higher values resulting in a more “mixed” stereo image of the initial Late output (in the other modes, Late Cross affects the decay, but not the initial stereo image). This can help in producing a more “solid” stereo image, which can work well with drums and other percussive instruments.
We’ve been working hard here at Valhalla DSP towers [i.e. I've been working hard typing in code on my laptop while sitting at the dining room table]. One of the fruits of this labor:
ValhallaRoom has been updated to version 1.0.8. The newest features:
Resizable GUI. When ValhallaRoom was first released, I received several complaints that the GUI was too big. Version 1.0.8 has been updated. Now the GUI can get much, much bigger. It can also get smaller, if that is your thing.
Two new reverb modes, Nostromo and Narcissus. The new reverb modes both have a sparser initial echo density than most of the ValhallaRoom modes, and take longer to build in echo density. This, combined with the high frequency attenuation, random modulation, and deliberately noisy delay interpolation, can be used to create grainy emulations of vintage reverbs, as well as denser decays that have a wide spatial image.
Nostromo is the biggest sounding reverb in ValhallaRoom, with audible echos at the largest size settings that slowly evolve into a rich decay.
Narcissus is Nostromo’s little sibling, with an initial denser decay. Narcissus is also the “lightest” reverb mode in ValhallaRoom, with a very low CPU hit.
Simon Stockhausen has some beautiful demos using the new ValhallaRoom reverb modes on his Soundcloud page. The first example uses Stockhausen’s amazing soprano sax playing, processed by Nostromo:
The next example uses Symplant through Narcissus:
The final example utilizes a ring modulated sound from Alchemy, and runs it through Narcissus:
Update links have been sent out to all VRoom customers, and demos of the GUI resizing and new modes can be found on the webpage.
A couple of great sounding examples of the new reverb modes in ValhallaRoom, Dark Chamber and Dark Space, have been posted on SoundCloud. The first is from Elan Hickler, and goes from a distorted explosion noise storm to beautiful cinematic ambient, all processed with the new Dark Space mode in ValhallaRoom:
There’s a Lexicon influence evident and we were able to achieve similar results to both Lexicon’s PCM Native Reverb Plug-in Bundle and SSL’s classy X-Verb. This is especially impressive taking into account the enormous price difference.
The fact that ValhallaRoom contains four different algorithms and is so competitively priced makes it a steal for anyone after a versatile reverb or something to complement their convolution collection.
VahallaRoom uses an algorithmic, rather than convolution, reverb. The reverb marketplace has many fine competitors both in software and hardware, and so many of them sound really great. But I have not heard anything short of upper-tier plug-ins like Avid’s Revibe perform such excellent sounding room reverbs.
The impression one gets when hearing them is a sound very much like the Lexicon classic reverbs––specifically the 224X/XL, the 300 and the 480L. If this plug-in is piped into an upmixer, it would hold its own against anything out there regardless of price.
Costello’s first plug-in, Vahalla Shimmer, is similarly noteworthy. Its focus is more about surreal reverbs and spaces, and it has a good deal of fun capabilities that can get you creating David Lynch-ian soundscapes in quite literally seconds.
All of the above is in the public discourse, and stands alongside all the positive forum posts and private emails that I have received from Valhalla DSP customers. I appreciate your support! I feel very lucky that I am able to get my algorithms in the hands of musicians, and I am very grateful for all of Valhalla DSP’s customers.
I have just released version 1.0.6 of ValhallaRoom. You can download the demos from the usual place, and all current ValhallaRoom customers should have received a link to the updates (send me an email if you haven’t received your links yet).
In addition to a few bug fixes, version 1.0.6 introduces a new reverb mode to ValhallaRoom: Dark Room. This new reverb departs from the high fidelity path taken by the other 4 reverb modes in ValhallaRoom. It is deliberately low-fi, with noisy interpolation, no high frequencies above 11 kHz, and a late reverb that can have a low initial echo density. It also has a wide stereo image, a clear decay with lush randomized chorusing, and sits in a mix quite nicely. An added bonus is that the CPU is significantly lower than the other ValhallaRoom reverb modes.
Why add a lo-fi reverb mode to ValhallaRoom? I’m not really sure. After doing this for about 12 years, I’ve learned to follow my instincts on this stuff, even if it takes me in strange directions. Plus, I wanted to add something new to ValhallaRoom, as a way of saying thanks to all of the customers who have supported my work.
I was also inspired by some recent studies of the Lexicon 224, the EMT250, and other vintage reverbs. These early digital machines often had very noisy interpolation, sparse initial echo density (at least by modern standards), and sampling rates that seem primitive today. They also were useful for creating a “larger-than-life” sound, that is described to this day as warm and spacious. I noticed that a lot of these classic reverbs had a very limited frequency response, so I figured it would be worth adapting some of these old-school limitations to the more modern algorithm architectures found in ValhallaRoom.
Dark Room has identical controls to the other reverb modes, but produces a noticeably different initial sound. With Early Send set to 0, the Late Decay can have a marked amount of initial “flutter” or “grain,” similar to the 224 Concert Hall with the Diffusion control set low. A few usage tips:
The Late Size control can be used to adjust the speed of the “flutter,” with larger sizes corresponding to more obvious and slower echos.
By setting Early Send to 1.0, and adjusting the Early Size to 40 msec or later (depending on the Late Size), the flutter in the Late reverb can be totally eliminated. This is similar to how the Diffusion control works in older Lexicons, but with the advantage that the Early reverb has far less coloration than the series allpasses used for the diffusors in many “classic” reverbs. The Late Size can then be adjusted to get the desired stereo width – this can get really big.
Setting DEPTH to 1.0 results in the most “vintage” sound, while values less than 1.0 allow the user to dial in some early reflections.
With Early Send set to 1.0, and using larger Early Size values (>100 msec), the Late Reverb will have a slower initial attack. This is similar to how the Depth control worked on the 224 and 224X/L, as well as the Shape and Spread controls on the 480L and later reverbs.
The Late High Mult and Late High Xover have an effect on the initial tone of the late decay, similar to the Concert Hall algorithm on the 224XL and the Small/Large Concert Hall B on the 224. By setting High Mult to 0.1X, the user can simulate the -6dB/octave filters used on these older boxes.
Turn up the Early and Late Mod Depth when using Dark Room. The older algorithms used a LOT of pitch modulation to avoid metallic decays. The Dark Room algorithm uses a different architecture that is less prone to sounding metallic, but if you want that big, lush, spacey decay, modulation is a must.
Here’s a preset that can be used as a good starting point for the Dark Room reverb mode:
The 1.0.4 version of ValhallaRoom added a set of Cathedral presets, that were dialed in from published acoustic measurements of various Italian cathedrals. A few hints in dialing in a cathedral sound:
Turn DECAY up to correspond to the midrange decay rate. Gothic cathedrals can have decays up to 12 seconds long, while cathedrals from other eras tend to be smaller and have shorter decay times.
Late Size should be set to a high setting, to reflect the high modal density of these spaces.
The Early Size control should be used to generate a bit of a “fade-in” for the decay. Due to the large size of cathedrals, it takes a fair amount of time for the energy to build up in the space, which translates to a slow attack for the decay time. A good rule of thumb is to use an Early Size setting of 1/20th of the decay time (up to 500 msec or so for truly large cathedrals).
In order to get the “fade-in” effect from Early Size, set Early Send to 1.0, and DEPTH to 100%.
The Late High Mult should be set to a low value, such as 0.1x. The sheer volume of air contained in a cathedral adds a huge amount of high energy loss.
Set the HIGH CUT and Late High Xover to get the required amount of brightness in the sound. Lower frequencies would be more realistic, but higher frequencies might be better for that “heavenly” sound.
For a realistic sound, leave the Early Mod Depth low, but don’t be afraid to turn up the Late Mod Depth. In order to properly capture the modal density of a cathedral, a digital reverberator would have to use several minutes of delay memory, which would put the CPU and memory consumption well outside of the real-time range for any modern computer. Modulated delays are a good way of creating the impression of higher modal densities. Plus, they sound purty.
In one of my previous posts, I described the characteristics of “real-world” concert halls, and how to emulate them with ValhallaRoom. In general, real concert halls have a fairly fast onset of reverberation, a decay time between 1.6 and 2.1 seconds, and a somewhat longer decay time at low frequencies than at mid-frequencies. A realistic emulation would use subtle amounts of modulation, in order to create the perception of a high modal density without pitch change.
This is all fine and dandy for real concert halls, but what about unrealistic concert halls? The earliest commercial reverbs, the EMT250 and the Lexicon 224, were both created in order to emulate concert halls. With the limited amount of memory available for delay lines, both of these reverbs turned to large amounts of time variation in order to avoid metallic decays. The sonic results were big, washy, chorused decays that could stretch to 70 seconds and beyond. No “real” concert hall sounds like this – but it is a great sound. In addition, hardware units like the 224, 224XL and 480L had the ability to artificially elongate the attack portion of the reverb, such that the reverb sound would “fade in” to a much greater degree than a real hall. Not realistic, but useful for creating a bit of separation between an input signal and the reverb.
Fortunately, ValhallaRoom excels at unnatural halls, in addition to emulating the “real thing.” A few tips for dialing in an unnatural, vintage digital hall sound:
Set DECAY to whatever feels right. Many of the “Concert Hall” presets of classic digital reverbs have decay times of 6 seconds and up.
Use the LATE Bass Mult to dial in the required clarity of the decay. Setting this <1.0X will result in a reverb that gets more trebly as it decays, which can be a nice sound.
Turn up the modulation depth! Both Early Mod Depth and Late Mod Depth can be cranked up for that seasick decay. For less obvious detunings, use lower Mod Depth settings, but higher Mod Rates.
The Bright Hall reverb mode can get much deeper and random modulations than the other modes.
Set Early Send to 100%, Early Size to >100 msec, and DEPTH to 100%. The Depth control in early Lexicon reverbs, and the Shape/Spread controls in later Lexicons, allowed the user to dial in a slow attack on the reverb. By running the Early reverb into the Late reverb and using a large Early Size setting, you can create a reverb that fades in at the rate determined by the Early Size.
The Early Diffusion control can be set to lower values, to emulate the grainy sound that many of the early reverbs had during the initial attack phase.
Set HIGH CUT to somewhere between 5000 and 8000 Hz to simulate the dark sound of early, low-sampling rate reverbs.
The following preset implements a big digital hall sound:
A simple electric guitar phrase (which was used on Gearslutz to test many reverb algorithms) through ValhallaRoom with the above settings:
UPDATE 1/2012: I just reread this blog post from last year (thanks to a link-back from an interesting blog post at The DIY Recordist). It is worth noting that ValhallaRoom has several new reverb modes that are well suited for emulating vintage digital halls. DarkRoom, Nostromo and Narcissus are reverb modes that are designed to have the “dark” coloration of the older reverbs, as well as a more gradual onset of echo density, noisier interpolation (to emulate the reduced bit width coefficients of the older boxes), and heavy randomized modulation.