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Plugin Alliance bx_rooMS Reverb Plug-In

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Plugin Alliance bx_rooMS Reverb Plug-In
 Plugin Alliance bx_rooMS Reverb Plug-In 
From Plugin Alliance and Fielder Audio comes bx_rooMS, Brainworx's brand new reverb plug-in that incorporates Mid/Side processing within their TrueSpace multi-algorithm. Immediately, I liked the intuitive GUI that offers fast selection and editing of any of over 200 included presets. Divided into Types or Environments, the five reverb starting points are: Ambiences, Rooms, Plates, Hall, and Churches. Each type has three size options quickly set using the Small, Medium, and Large buttons.

I installed in Pro Tools 12.7.1 HDX and got to work mixing a new Pop song. For this project I was looking for a collection of unique time-based effects--reverbs, delays, and pitch changers that I tend to use for Pop music mixes. With bx_rooMS, it's easy to alter the geometry of virtual spaces or the nature of the mechanical reverbs using the TrueSpace technology with its continuous gradation of algorithms.

bx_rooMS reverb is, in reality, two mono reverbs that allow for some unusual set ups. Pre-Delay is adjustable up to 200ms, Wet/Dry balance, Input and Output Gain controls, and Bypass buttons for both the output and the input signal so reverb tails continue after muting the input signal. There are also very good low and high frequency damping controls using parametric shelving filters with Off to -12db of gain and 20Hz to 20kHz frequency ranges for both.

It gets more interesting over in the two-section proportional Q equalizer section for 'carving' either the Mid signal only, the Side or both together as an M/S encoded signal. Interestingly, you may elect to apply the EQ to the Dry signal coming in and/or the Mono Maker Section.

The Mono Maker section is an adjustable high-pass filter adjustable from Off to 22kHz that collapses bass frequencies in the wet signal to the center. Besides removing possible 'mud' buildup in the center, I found an increased definition of the center of the reverb and therefore more clarity and separation of the dry source itself. In addition, the hard-panned L/R reverb wet returns gain focus. Mono Maker works exactly like the mono compatible filter used in disc cutting master lacquers.

In Play

I had a double-tracked acoustic guitar rhythm part that played throughout the entire song and I wanted to create a special space that was big sounding but not just "washed out" in long reverb since the tempo was fast and the part busy. I left the 2nd, double-tracked acoustic guitar track dry and panned to the center of the mix. For the main acoustic I went with a Small Room and increased the Reverb Time to 62. Reverb Time, Room Size and Room Shape Geometry parameters are given as two-digit numbers and that's fine with me.

The Source Distance control will move the dry source signal farther in and out of the virtual room although this is hard to hear because of the very short RT60 decay time of this particular small room. When I listened only to the 100% Wet reverb return, Source Distance is easier to hear. With longer reverbs, Source Distance is essential to setting up just the right amount of the source's presence versus the reverb's size and level.

The Directivity control adjusts how much each side of a stereo input signal is fed into the left and/or right reverb channels. I did automate this control to go from Sum, where it is fed equally to both L/R channels, to anywhere from Rev (reversed) to True where your stereo send's L/R pan position follows bx_rooMS correctly. Although a subtle mix touch I found in later mix situations, Directivity will correct reverb sent from mid-panned sources so that the reverb return can be a little louder right on top of the source at its panned position in the mix.

The main reason I want to use this reverb is for its M/S manipulation, the Mono Maker and the Pan M control. Pan M allows the Mid channel to be moved--panned to correct for an imbalanced stereo stage. Along with adjusting Directivity, Pan M is like stereo imaging surgery and simply awesome!

M/S Control

Since my main acoustic guitar was recorded in X/Y stereo with two microphones, I wanted to see if I could widen the stereo ambience I was adding. The Stereo Width control will adjust the reverb return from mono to super-wide stereo and listening just to the stereo reverb in mono on my monitor controller, I can tell you there were no level shift or phase issues at all.

Amazingly, the same holds true when using bx_rooMS as an inserted reverb on the source track. Adjusting stereo width anywhere from mono to super-wide stereo is a great mixing tool with as much sonic impact as dynamic processing. Building mixes with increased width and depth adds a 3D sound quality to my mixes.

I found this plug-in to use minimal CPU so I may start doing more inserted reverbs for very specialized treatments. Lastly, another feature I have not seen on other reverb plug-ins is the Quantize function that changes the reverb's wet signal (only) between 8, 12, 16 or 24-bit (default) resolutions. I could approximate the sound of quirky old vintage digital reverbs using the 12-bit position.

What A Beautiful Sound!

I tried bx_rooMS on orchestral instruments such as strings, bells, glockenspiel and brass. In a word: lovely! I tried setting up the Modulation section for reverb on a vibraphone track (sample) to add the sound of the motor-driven butterfly valves on that instrument that produce a tremolo or vibrato effect when spinning.

I inserted bx_rooMS running a preset called "Rave Club". (See Screen Shot Above) I put the Modulation speed at 1.0Hz with 20% amount. Reverb Time: 59, Room Size: 83, Room Shape: 61. I did use 186% Stereo Width and about 76% on Wet/Dry; Source Distance was at 52. I ended up folding the pan pots inward on the stereo source track and that helped to make the vibraphone denser as it was playing melody in the chorus.

Definitely a unique and fresh reverb for stereo mixing, I am highly recommending Plugin Alliance's bx_rooMS reverb. It tackles reverberation in a modern and near scientific way for the best possible effect. Like all Brainworx plugins and all Plugin Alliance products, bx_rooMS comes in AAX native, VST and AU formats for Mac OS 10.8 through 10.11 and Windows 7 through 10.

You can download fully functional 14-day demos at Plugin-Alliance.com. It sells for $199 downloadable from www.plugin-alliance.com/en/products/bx_rooms.html.



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