Breverb - High Quality Modeled Reverberation
Jun 23, 2008Breverb claims to model some of the industry's most acclaimed classic reverb hardware, and though they do not mention what exact devices they are I doubt I would be far off the mark to say that the name Lexicon would be right at the top of the list. In fact the sounds remind me very much of Lexicon's now defunct Lexiverb but without the heavy CPU hit that made it available only for digidesign TDM users – certainly not the case for Breverb. With 20 stereo instances at 44.1/24 bit on my Pro Tools HD Accel rig my G5's CPU usage was quite a bit under the halfway mark. With a 96k/24 bit session I was able to get 16 stereo instances before reaching just under the halfway mark for CPU usage. Of course I could have added more instances but why? Do you really need 20 great sounding stereo reverbs? If so then this is your plug-in, but seriously would one really need that many? I doubt it, but still the fact that you can do it if you need to is very impressive.
|Example 1: Looking Closer…|
There are four algorithms to choose from, Hall, Room, Plate and Inverse, all of which sound quite realistic, offering an impressive collection of the more popular reverb sounds you've heard on records, err, uh, CDs for many years now. Each algorithm has a wide assortment of adjustable parameters easily accessed via a hardware-like GUI, allowing user-definable control of virtually any parameter by mapping them to any of six assignable faders. A choice of basic (see Example 1) or advanced view (see Example 2) modes allows you to work as you like, plus the advanced mode can be customized to show from 1 to 6 faders which can be displayed at the bottom, or off the right side of the main window (a linear choice only, meaning 1, 2, 3. etc., but currently no option to just show faders 1, 5 and 6). External MIDI control is offered for Input Level, Dry Level, the 6 definable sliders, and Wet Level, definitely a handy option to have available.
Breverb's advanced GUI (see Example 3) offers a very effective control arrangement, making it quite easy for just about anyone to immediately start working right away. Harking back to Lexicon, Breverb's advanced GUI reminds me very much of their Larc controller used with the 960L digital effects system, now I wonder if that is by design or just a coincidence?
Each algorithm also has an EQ section featuring a parametric two-band equalizer that lets you set the Gain, Frequency and Q (resonance) of each of the 2 bands, plus you can easily bypass the EQ altogether if need be. A GATE section is also included (also with bypass) that can be set up to automatically mute the effect sound for creating those great late 80's gated drum sounds.
A simple set of definable preferences rounds things out allowing four choices: Set master controls at preset loading: allows a preset to either load the current Master Control settings (Dry, Wet, pan, etc.) or not to load them, thereby having no effect.
Show factory preset: controls whether the Factory presets are shown with User presets or a separate folder in the preset menu.
Sensitivity: controls the mouse sensitivity for knobs or faders.
Save slider associations: allows for faders settings (Advanced mode) to be recalled when loading a preset containing user defined faders settings.
Breverb installed with ease though it took me a few extra minutes as I first wanted to download the latest version from the Overloud website. You'll need an iLok dongle to get it authorized and be sure you have the latest iLok drivers. My tests were done primarily on an Apple 2 gHz G5 running OS X 10.4.11 with Pro Tools HD 7.4cs2 and 3.5 gigs of SDRAM. I tested both 44.1/24bit and 96K/24bit Pro Tools sessions finding no serious problems at either sample rate. I also tested on my 17" MacBook Pro running OS X 10.4.11 with 2 gigs of memory and Pro Tools LE 7.4cs2 plus a variety of native based host programs such as Logic 8, Bias Peak 5.2, WireTap Studio and Apple's WaveBurner using both AU and VST plug-ins.
As with most software products these days (and especially reverb) I'd suggest downloading their demo and trying it out on your own system before you buy.
If you are looking for a great sounding reverb that won't break the bank, Breverb is hard to beat. If you're a fan of Lexicon reverbs you'll find much to like about Breverb as the sound is very dimensional and rich. But if you're looking for a large variety of realistic sounding concert halls and spaces from around the world, this is not the plug-in for you. Much more than a simple utilitarian reverb, Breverb offers a simple easy to use interface, a great sounding reverb, and one of the lightest hits to a CPU I've yet seen making it effortless to use on multiple tracks without running into the usual problems associated with high quality reverb plug-ins.
|Breverb Review Update 1.1.2 Addendum|
In the section of my review above I mention some minor graphic issues in the "What is not so great about it?" which included "Minor graphic anomalieswith Pro Tools 7.4; some host applications don't display the extended GUIproperly;"
I am happy to report that Overloud's brand new Breverb 1.1.2 update correctsthe graphic issues plus adds Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard compatibility and a bonusof new additional factory presets. Happily the update is free for all registered users and you can find it in the Overloud page.