Dear Reality wants us to understand and use reverb thoughtfully with their EXOVERB plugin. It brings the idea of spatial audio to stereo. We tested it in the studio.
Okay, call me what you want, but every time I open a plugin that allows me to ‘play’ and use my ears (instead of my eyes) I feel like I’m making music. When you open EXOVERB, you’re instantly drawn to the Triangle Pad in the middle, rather than the controls, at least I was.
With EXOVERB, Dear Reality wants to apply the fundamentals of spatial audio technology to classic stereo reverb. EXOVERB has 50 real-sounding acoustic scenes, allowing you to think about the reverb and the space you’re in, not just mindlessly throwing reverb in and out without thinking deeper, like “How do I want this to feel?”
Turning on one of our recent Live from Happy performances, Superorganism – On & On, I was able to place the performance in a different space than it was. It was effective immediately and I felt like I could go in any direction between creative and technical. Honestly, I’ve never used a good-sounding plugin in a full mix before, so this was fun!
Moving away from the wonderful, subtle ‘Modern Hall’ sound, I wanted to see how to turn it into a ‘radio-in-a-department-store’ sound. This is where I really delved into the plugin. Using a vintage board from the category menu, I was able to get that super long, reverberant sound by adjusting the predelay, width, and depth.
I like the idea of an EQ on a reverb, if you didn’t know, EQing a reverb is pretty important and can make it feel much better in a mix/space. While this was really cool and you could ‘hear’ the reverb, I wanted to go back to the original vibe that EXOVERB provides.
Coming back to the Room Ambience sound, I found that they have created a realistic depth to the plugin. Scrolling through some other options in the menu, I soon realized that these are not presets, just room sounds.
I found this very thoughtful and it reminded me to adjust the settings to get the best sound from the space I chose. Too often, we see people choosing presets without knowing what’s really going on. Is this a lack of curiosity or a lack of imagination?
What is reverb? Why do we use it? Even since the dawn of time, reverb has played a role in the music made in these spaces: Talking Heads’ David Byrne talks about how different rooms affect different musical styles (Churches = longer music, Small Punk Rock Bars = Shorter and faster music) .
These days we use reverb to create space, depth and spaciousness. Dear Reality feels that there is a lack of real depth in the reverbs on offer. They want you to have a real sense of depth without blurring your mix. They hired spatial audio experts to fine-tune the reflections, early or late.
Using this plugin made me feel like I was in control of the reverb, not the other way around.
Oh, and special kudos to Dear Reality for making that oh-so-nice UI design of clicking and dragging the bottom corner to resize the plugin window. If you’ve been keeping up with our reviews, we love that feature.
You can get EXOVERB for $159 AUD at Dear-reality.com