Valhalla DSP Press and Accolades

ValhallaRoom was recently reviewed by Computer Music Magazine. A few choice quotes:

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.

A review of both ValhallaRoom and ValhallaShimmer has been posted to the Motion Pictures Editors Guild website. Some quotes:

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.

Finally, BT had some nice things to say about ValhallaRoom in a recent tweet:

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.

ValhallaShimmer used in cool PSA

Brian Trifon, one of the users of ValhallaShimmer, sent me a link to a PSA that uses Shimmer as part of the soundtrack:

The PSA is for the Mauli Ola Foundation, which exists to introduce surfing as a natural treatment to people with genetics disorders. The soundtrack was composed by Brian for Everstudio. Brian has his own blog that features electronic music production tips, so go check it out!

Some more ValhallaShimmer examples

A few people have posted examples of ValhallaShimmer in action on Soundcloud. The first example, by Paul Mimlitsch, uses a greatbass recorder through Shimmer, set to a long reverb with no pitch shifting:

The next example, from Simon Stockhausen, uses a solo euphonium, automating the sends to 5 differently tuned instances of Shimmer. The results are very Wagnerian:

The final example, from Bronto Scorpio, uses a Wavestation through 2 instances of ValhallaShimmer:

Happy New Year

Just a quick note of thanks to all of the readers of this blog, and all the people who supported Valhalla DSP during 2010. I love doing this work, and am thankful for everyone who bought ValhallaShimmer. I look forward to creating new tools for you in 2011. Have a safe and happy New Year!

As a token of my appreciation, I humbly submit my nomination for the Rick Roll of 2011. Thanks to some anonymous KVR poster for polluting my brain.

Giving the gift of ValhallaShimmer this holiday season

I’ve had a few requests, asking how to buy ValhallaShimmer for a friend, loved one, etc. It’s really easy:

  • Click on the PayPal button on the ValhallaShimmer page.
  • Click the “Add special instructions to the seller” button, and write the first and last name (or user name, or company, or whatever) of the person you want to send the plugin to, as well as an email address for that person.
  • Once I have that info, I can make out the keyfile to that person.

Hope y’all are having a happy holiday season. Here’s Drunk Orson Welles:

Rock Me Tonite

ValhallaShimmer just got a nice review from AudioNewsRoom:

http://www.audionewsroom.net/2010/12/valhalla-shimmer-review-thinking-of-eno.html

Not much more in terms of news or deep thoughts right now. I’m in coding mode, so I don’t have many interesting topics to write about. I could finish up that post I was working on back in June, that discussed how vuvuzelas and orchestras both share the characteristics that the individual partials are transformed into noise bands centered around the original partials, and that this relates to Mark Dolson’s Ph.D thesis on creating ensemble effects using the phase vocoder. However, I wouldn’t call vuvuzelas a “fresh” topic. So, here’s some videos.

ValhallaShimmer Tips and Tricks: Chorus

ValhallaShimmer was primarily designed as a reverberator. However, it can also get some cool chorus sounds. The Chorus preset is a good place to start. Some general tips:

  • Set Size as low as possible. This will keep the reverberant quality to a minimum
  • Use one of the smaller reverbMode settings. The Chorus preset uses smallStereo, but mediumStereo can be used for a more diffuse, washy chorus.
  • Set Diffusion up around halfway to start with, and go from there. Too high of a Diffusion setting will result in more of a small room sound, but this might be what you are looking for.
  • modDepth should be set to about 0.5 for starters, and modRate should be adjusted to taste.
  • Note that higher settings of Diffusion result in more pitch change for given settings of modRate/modDepth, so you may want to turn down Diffusion and/or modDepth if things get out of hand.
  • The bright colorMode will result in a full-bandwidth chorus signal, while the dark colorMode will be closer to the older BBD based choruses.
  • Use highCut to control the overall brightness.
  • lowCut can be used to shave away the low frequencies, which can add clarity to a chorused signal.
  • Feedback should be left at 0 for standard chorusing. Turning it up with the above settings will result in a very metallic sound, which, again, might be exactly what you are looking for.

ValhallaShimmer Tips and Tricks: Using Diffusion instead of predelay

A number of users have asked why there is no pre-delay parameter in ValhallaShimmer. I decided to exclude a predelay parameter, partly due to the desire to keep the UI as simple as possible, but mainly because I feel that the Diffusion parameter can be used to serve a similar function: to create a sense of separation between the source signal and the reverbed signal.

Here’s a quick tutorial in adjusting Diffusion to create the proper separation/blending between dry and wet signals:

  • Create the desired reverb “size” and decay, through the use of ReverbMode, Size, Diffusion, and Feedback, as described in an earlier tips and tricks entry.
  • Gradually back down on the value of Diffusion. Remember that a value of 0.9 and above will result in a fast attack for the reverb envelope, while a Diffusion value of 0.5-0.618 will result in the reverb fading in very slowly. Setting the value somewhere in between will create an attack that isn’t instantaneous, and that will sit behind the dry signal in a way that is similar to how predelay is often used in reverbs.
  • Listen to the decay after adjusting Diffusion. If it is shorter than desired, turn up Feedback to get the desired decay rate. You can also adjust Size, but this will also affect the fade-in rate.

ValhallaShimmer Tips and Tricks: Shimmering

ValhallaShimmer was designed to get a variety of big reverb sounds, with the option of adding pitch shifted feedback to the decay. The “Shimmer” in the title refers to the classic shimmer effect, as used by U2, Brian Eno, Daniel Lanois, Coldplay, etc. There are a few presets that ship with ValhallaShimmer which reproduce this effect, but if you want to dial in your own version, here’s some tips:

  • Use the mediumStereo or bigStereo reverb modes for the smoothest shimmer sounds. The mono reverb mode will have a stronger sense of pitch shifting in the feedback signal, while the other modes have a gentler onset of the pitch shifting.
  • Set the Feedback control for the desired amount of pitch shift in the output signal, and then use the Size control to dial in the decay.
  • The Pitch control should be at +12 semitones.
  • Diffusion works best at around 0.9 for reverberant sounds. If you set Diffusion < 0.5, it will sound closer to a pitch shifted echo, which is another cool sound.
  • The different pitch shift modes have different levels of “smoothness”:
    • The single and dual pitch shift modes have more noisiness in their decay. This is better for emulating the orchestral sounds as heard in “Deep Blue Day.”
    • The singleReverse and dualReverse pitch shift modes are much smoother, and are better for organ-esque sounds.
  • colorMode should be set to dark. This produces a natural roll-off of high frequencies, which eliminates almost all of the aliasing noise in the feedback path of the pitch shifter.
  • Set the modDepth control to a fairly low value at first, as the pitch shifting provides its own random modulation to the signal.