Reverb—we often set it and forget it. Perhaps we alter a parameter or two using automation, but rarely do we exploit its full potential. (Most products don’t even give us the option.) But spend a few minutes with the Make Noise Erbe-Verb ($489) and the way you think about reverb will be changed forever.
Rather than rely on preset algorithms that model spaces of various sizes, the Erbe-Verb gives you independent control over every variable of your virtual environment. The DSP was programmed by the module’s namesake, Tom Erbe, the developer behind soundhack and the Make Noise Echophon. His research into reverb algorithms took him back to seminal designs of the ’70s, which helped him devise a unique approach to a common effect.
Rather than rely on preset algorithms that model spaces of various sizes, the Erbe-Verb offers independent control over every variable of your virtual environment. The results will free you from “in the box” thinking by giving you the tools to use reverb-based parameters compositionally: Rather than putting the module at the end of a patch to simulate an arbitrary room, the Erbe-Verb can be integrated into a patch to add pitch, timbre, and timing variations ranging from subtle to extreme.
Here, traditional reverb elements such as size, decay, predelay, depth, and output mix are enhanced with Absorb (diffusion and damping characteristics), Tilt (low/high-frequency boost at the output), Reverse, and internal modulation capabilities, all of which are under independent CV control (often, with an associated attenuator). Yet the overall layout of the module remains easy to understand and use.
The Size parameter simulates environments ranging from 35 to 9.3 million cubic feet—great for creating effects from resonators to sustained drones. You can modulate the Size parameter in real time using its CV input and attenuator.
Predelay works independently of the Size setting, giving you the ability to add single echoes or create environments that couldn’t exist in nature. An associated CV input is also available for modulation.
The Predelay knob interacts with the module’s Tempo and Reverse features, as well. Feed a pulse into the Tempo input and the Predelay control now acts as a quantizer of sorts, dividing or multiplying the response in relation to the input signal—great for creating delay-like sounds. Press the Reverse button (or send a gate signal to its CV input) and the Predelay knob will set the amount of input that is reversed in the wet output. (The dry signal stays in the analog domain, and the Mix level is voltage controllable.)
The internal modulation’s Speed and Depth controls can be used to add pitch movement and wobble, to smooth out resonance, or to impart metallic coloration. You can significantly increase the Speed’s range by sending a CV to the Tempo input.
Self-oscillation using the Decay control is one of the Erbe-Verb's particularly exciting capabilities. Crank up the Decay parameter, then patch the module’s CV output (its level is based on the average energy of the reverb) to the Decay’s CV input in order to tame the feedback. To get lovely bowed cymbal timbres, unplug your audio input, turn the Decay to about 4 o’clock, and sweep the Tilt CV with a slow LFO. Set or modulate the Absorb control to further shape the Decay’s behavior.
The processing and modulation capabilities of the Erbe-Verb are so powerful and inviting, you’ll have to remind yourself to use it as a stereo reverb once in awhile! This is one module you’re likely to use in every patch.