Overloud Breverb - EMusician

Overloud Breverb

I’ve always said, “You can’t be too rich, too thin, or have too many reverbs.” While the Olsen twins have made me rethink the second assertion, I stand by the third. Using different reverbs for mixing can give a strong sense of foreground and background, while positioning individual sounds in the stereo spread. Of course, good reverbs can be expensive and software versions can be CPU hogs—but that’s where Breverb comes in.
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OVERVIEW

Breverb is a plug-in modeled after “the most acclaimed hardware classics.” Overloud doesn’t say which ones, but I bet the name Lexicon came up somewhere. In fact, the classy GUI resembles the LARC remote control used with the legendary Lexicon 480L. Overloud’s thinking is that while convolution reverbs provide realistic-sounding sources, they limit tweaking—and won’t give the sounds on countless hit records made with classic hardware digital reverbs.

There are four main algorithms: Hall, Plate, Inverse, and Room, with controls for I/O levels, dry and wet amounts, and panning. In addition, you can choose presets, save your own patches, A/B sounds, and transfer modifications you come up with from A to B (or vice-versa).

Five additional pages contain more controls, and available parameters change according to the selected algorithm. The General page’s knobs set the Time, Size, Diffusion, Shape, and Spread. Size acts as the usual master control for the space’s apparent size; once set, Spread and Shape adjust the initial reverb envelope’s duration and shape. The Predelay page contains tempo sync-able Predelay, Regeneration, Motion (modulation) and Depth controls. The Freq section offers Hi and Low frequency controls, as well as damping and a Low Cut knob; there’s also an EQ page with two full parametric equalizers. A Gate section (with tempo sync-able Release) modulates Threshold, Shape, Slope, and Hold parameters.

Most of us have a few “go-to” controls. To avoid a lot of page scrolling, Breverb’s Advanced interface mode adds an expanded long-throw fader pane, where you can add up to six faders. These are assignable to all the main parameters from a pull-down menu, or by dragging-and-dropping a specific parameter knob onto them.

As expected, Breverb offers full automation through host sequencers, and realtime MIDI control of most parameters through the faders and knobs.

IN USE

Breverb uses iLok protection (spoiler alert: You will want to take this plug-in to other studios), and installed and authorized easily. I used it in Ableton Live 7 and Pro Tools 7.4 sessions—Breverb supports AU, RTAS and VST plug-in formats.

The claims of low CPU usage are fully justified: I installed ten instances in Live, and the CPU meter read a mere 24% with the buffer at only 256 samples. Even a bona-fide reverb freak like yours truly can’t conceive of using ten different reverbs on a session, but I could use even more if I wanted.

And, it sounds great too—Breverb gave professional, musical-sounding effects on drums, strings, guitars, shakers, handclaps, and vocals. The presets were a great place to start; Breverb’s names like “A Capella Vox,” “80s Percussion Space,” and “Alt Guitar Space” are a great improvement over the often obscure, abstract musings of some manufacturer presets.

Long tails were distortion-free, and at extremely wet settings you can tame any digital graininess (this is, after all, a model and not a recorded sample) with the impressive EQ options. Smaller halls and rooms, and even larger spaces mixed into the track, sound so natural you might mistake them as being generated by convolution techniques.

Many of the sounds explicitly recalled the ambient character of past (and present) radio hits, by everyone from Journey to Madonna. Syncing the Gate to the host’s tempo instantly summoned up the ghost of Phil Collins past, while the Inverse (“reverse”) algorithm conjured up some awesome sounds of the future.

CONCLUSIONS

Breverb will let you hear gorgeous plates and luscious halls even during the recording process, when you have to keep the buffer low to minimize latency. If, like me, you love the added emotional resonance that the right reverb can add to a track, but get frustrated when your software reverbs start eating up precious CPU, Breverb is a must-have—while offering classic sounds that are difficult to obtain otherwise.

PRODUCT TYPE: Reverb plug-in that models classic hardware units.
TARGET MARKET: Fans of hardware reverbs looking for a CPU-friendly software solution.
STRENGTHS: Rich, musical reverbs. Low CPU usage. Easy to use.
LIMITATIONS: Not for convolution reverb lovers.
LIST PRICE: $399
CONTACT: www.ilio.com, www.overloud.com