QuickPick: Overloud Breverb 1.1.2 (Mac/Win)

Overloud Breverb ($399) is an algorithmic reverb plug-in designed to emulate high-end hardware processors of the past. Like many of the models it emulates,
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Delivering more than 100 rewritable presets and a hardwarelike interface, Breverb is a plug-in that captures the sound of reverb processors from days gone by.

Overloud Breverb ($399) is an algorithmic reverb plug-in designed to emulate high-end hardware processors of the past. Like many of the models it emulates, Breverb offers four basic algorithms: Hall, Room, Plate, and Inverse. It provides more than 100 presets ranging from bread-and-butter effects to enhancers for thickening up vocals, guitars, or snare drums. Navigating the interface is easy and intuitive.

Breverb 1.1.2 is available in AU, VST, and RTAS versions, all requiring iLok authorization. I ran it as a VST plug-in on a dual-Xenon workstation in Magix Sequoia 10 and Steinberg Nuendo 4. Breverb is very light on CPU usage. Even users with relatively modest machines should be able to open several instantiations before noticing a real hit to their processors.

UP AGAINST THE WALL

During the review period, I compared Breverb with several hardware and software reverbs. It more than measured up to the standard reverb plug-ins that accompany DAW software packages. Breverb's sound was markedly deeper and denser, and overall more believable. Many more parameters are available for customization, ranging from Attack and Decay to Diffusion and Width. Especially nice are Breverb's 2-band EQ and multifunctional gate. Either EQ band can sweep the entire audio range, and you can set it to shelving or peak curves. The EQ can also act as a highpass or lowpass filter. The gate allows you to shape the reverb tails and generate some rather unusual sounds.

Breverb also fared quite well when I compared it with my rackmount Zoom 9200, one of the better-sounding digital reverb processors of the early 1990s. Breverb's Room algorithm, for example, sounded much more realistic. However, when I compared Breverb with a Lexicon PCM91, the Lexicon unit had a more live sound than the plug-in. On the other hand, the PCM91 costs about five times as much as Breverb and is limited to stereo processing. When you consider that you can instantiate several instances of Breverb on even a modest processor, the comparison becomes even more lopsided.

Although I don't currently have a plate reverb, I've owned and used them extensively in the past. Breverb's Plate algorithm sounds deep and resonant, making it one of the best algorithmic plug-in versions I've heard.

ROOM TO GROW

The graphical user interface bears more than a slight resemblance to the Lexicon LARC, a dedicated controller for Lexicon's high-end hardware units. A nice thing about Breverb's interface is that you can move the fader pod's location from the bottom to the side and determine how many of the six faders appear. You can also determine which of the 41 parameters are assigned to the faders. I stuck with the default settings (Dry, Wet, Time, Low, High, and Diffusion) most of the time, though I appreciated being able to adjust the panning of the wet signal on the fly.

I noticed that the dry signal's slider defaulted to zero whenever I changed presets. When using Breverb as an insert effect, though, I wanted to change presets without having to reset that control each time. I discovered a setting in the Preferences window that allowed me to specify whether I wanted the slider to reset when I loaded a preset or keep its previous value. Other nice touches include Undo and Redo buttons and two buttons dedicated to making A/B comparisons.

Breverb was at its best when I needed a reverb to create an effect, rather than to simulate the sound of a real room. For brash-sounding late-'80s and early-'90s snare drums, Breverb's Gated Snare Hall preset was just the ticket. Depeche Mode-like vocals were just a click away courtesy of the Odd Vocal Verb preset. The included presets furnish a wide range of usable sounds you can easily customize.

REAL OR UNREAL?

Breverb offers the flavor of a vintage reverb, and its intuitive interface allows plenty of customization. Although it doesn't provide the sense of “you are there” that a convolution reverb can, it does succeed in mimicking the sound of hardware reverbs. If you crave the sound of '80s and '90s hardware, you'll probably love Breverb. If you already have an iLok, visit Overloud's Web site to take advantage of a fully functional 14-day demo.

Value (1 through 5): 3
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