SSL Duende Native Plugins: X-Verb
When Solid State Logic (SSL) developed the Duende Native plugins bundle they released their highly acclaimed signal processing expertise into the creative world of the Digital Audio Workstation. SSL’s reputation for producing the highest quality signal processing in both analogue and digital domains is well proven. So, for SSL to release a reverb processing plug-in, it needed to be something special.
What Is It?: X-Verb is an extremely versatile professional grade reverb plug-in built from the ground up for SSL’s Duende product range. It is a true Algorithm Reverberation Generator based on the unique quality of SSL HiD algorithms. While X-Verb reproduces the pristine sound of legendary hardware reverbs, it also brings something new and more creative to our contemporary DAW environments. Through its highly advanced Diffusion Engine there is a sonic realm which delivers a density, warmth, depth in such stunning detail. X-Verb combines its superior sonic quality with a completely new and innovative workflow which embraces “DAW features” such as automation, graphical parameter animation and A/B state morphing. SSL’s innovative processing design in X-Verb is so deep that it provides over 100 adjustable parameters for unlimited artistic freedom.
Presets & Morphing: X-Verb installs with a healthy collection of presets that create many a starter point for Rooms – Halls – Plates – Spaces & Ambiences and more. Presets are easily loaded by clicking the ‘Load’ button to the bottom left of the plugin interface.
The A/B function on any effect processor usually exists as a comparison tool which allows the differences between two seperate effects on the same sound source to be compared. The A/B feature in X-Verb offers precisely that plus the ability to ‘morph’ between two reverb spaces using the Morphing Slider to the right of the A/B buttons. The Morphing Slider feature in X-Verb can be fully automated in a host DAW and is an excellent way of adding washes of colour, depth and motion to the reverb effect on a sound.
Algorithms: At the top of the X-Verb interface is a series of ‘Quick Controls‘ which provide easy access to some of the plugins fundamental parameters. They combine drop down menus with parameter rotaries as a fast and easy way of speeding up the workflow when using X-Verb. First of these is an Algorithm drop down menu with four high quality Reverb Algorithms to choose from: Superior Natural = Room & Hall and Ultra Plate. There is a Hi-Def version of both algorithms which produce a smoother reverb sound with higher densities of diffusion and refraction.
Parameter Macros: The seven rotaries in the Quick Control section function as Parameter Macros. The reverb parameters assigned to these rotaries are hard-wired but represent the most commonly accessed parameters of the X-Verb reverb unit. Using the Macros section is ideal for tweaking an X-Verb preset which is close to the reverb space you want but needs a small adjustment to suit.
Mix & Imaging: The ‘Mix‘ section in X-Verb provides slick control over the output stages of the reverb. It begins with a drop down menu of presets prefixed with BUS or CH depending on whether X-Verb is loaded as an Auxillary Send effect or as an Insert effect. The two dials – ER & Dry/Wet – in the X-Verb Mix section determine the balance between the Early Reflections and of the Reverb while blending the output of the reverb effect with the original signal of the sound source.
The ‘Image‘ section in X-Verb is a quality feature which provides the plugins options for in-depth Stereo Image Control. Here you will find a drop down menu of presets providing a variety of settings that sonically position the reverb by controlling the plugins Stereo Base Width. The options vary between: L/R Stereo – Surround Processing – Mono and their respective Phase Inversions. The stereo image of X-Verb can be finely tuned with incremental adjustments using the Image rotary.
Reverb Control: There are two pages in X-Verb which control the design of a reverb space: The Early Reflection page and the Reverb Page. The interaction between the two sets of detailed parameters located within these pages represent the heart of the X-Verb plugin. The range and depth of each parameter within X-Verb is astonishing. Each page is constructed of a graph display with parameter buttons and rotaries. Notably, there is a scrollbar above the Reverb Control panel for instant access to zoom In/Out of X-Verb’s graph display.
In the Early Reflection Page – there are six Early Reflection (ER) taps – 3 Left and 3 Right. Each individual tap has a rack of adjustable parameters available which include: Delay – Level – Phase – Pan – Chorus Modulation – Low Pass filtering and Early Reflection Rebound - with the latter adding a modulated feedback loop to the delay line of a tap.
Similarly, the Reverb Page contains its very own set of dedicated parameters which include: Pre-Delay – RevLevel – RevTime – with switchable ‘Body’ – ‘Env’ and ‘Mod’ sections that offer: Size – Density – Crossfeed – Shape – Attack – RevMode – Chorus Rate & Depth. You will also find parameters to add natural sounding Random Time to refractions in the reverb’s diffusion.
Filters & Frequency Crossover: As with any high quality sound sculpturing tool you would anticipate filtering to control the early reflections and the reverb decay, tails e.t.c. The filters in X-Verb differ between the Low Pass filter of the Early Reflection Page and the Shelving filters located in the Reverb Page. The Low Pass filter in the ER Page can be seperately applied and adjusted for each of the six ER Taps. While, in the Reverb Page, there is a seperate frequency and gain rotary for both the High and the Low Shelf filters. These, in turn, are complimented with a Frequency Crossover that adjusts the frequency range and time between the Low, Mids & Highs of the X-Verb reverb.
Output: Finally, there are gain stages to be considered within X-Verb particularly specific to the Taps and Level rotaries of the Early Reflection & Reverb Pages. Signal monitoring in X-Verb, however, provides meters at both the Input and Output stages of the plugin. X-Verb’s metering reflects both Peak & RMS levels simultaneously for sample accurate monitoring of the plugins signal processing chain.
Getting to know the X-Verb is not a haul or a chore. There is a comprehensive manual that clearly disects and defines the plugin and its workflow making the learning experience seamless. The versatility of X-Verb is far reaching. It has to be one of the most detailed and feature rich reverb plugins available today. Through the manipulation of its highly impressive range of parameters X-Verb is capable of producing silky smooth reverb spaces and rich musical environments. SSL, with their new and innovative Diffusion Engine in the X-Verb, have created a high quality reverb unit which delivers superior performance with amazing sonic results.
All Duende Native Plug-ins are available for a free, fully functional initial 30 day demo AND for ongoing periodic free demos.
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