u-he has announced the release of Protoverb, an experimental reverb effect plugin based on the idea of a “room simulator”.
While most algorithmic reverbs try to avoid resonances or model the reflections of sound from a rooms walls, Protoverb does the opposite. It builds up as many room resonances as possible, modeling the body of air in the room.
The result is a very natural sounding reverbration with some interesting features: Long standing frequencies resonate louder, as if the air takes some time to get excited. Multiple instruments don’t mash into a diffuse mud, they stay distinct. If you play a short melody, the room seems to repeat a ghost echo of that melody. Those properties are indeed found in churches and large halls, but they’re rarely found in conventional algorithmic reverbs.
Protoverb is a data mining concept. It is shared as freeware to the music community, which in turn will create and share settings and thoughts on the internet. At some point, u-he promises some prizes, the winners will be drawn from the submissions (details to be announced in January 2016).
As you see in the figure above, Protoverb has a small text box at the bottom, with two random buttons. The first button is “Model”- once clicked it sets random values for network structure, spatial layout and distribution of delay taps, etc. The second random button is “Delays”, a seed for a pseudo-random number generator which is used to find various parameters, such as average delay length, which prime number to chose (if any) and so on. To generate presets, you can either double click/edit the text box and enter your own values, or use the two random buttons below it.
Protoverb is a great surprise from u-he, although is simplistic, it promises to grow through community involvement. Same time do not forget that it comes from a great team of developers, creators of popular synthesizers and effects which defined electronic music of this decade.
Protoverb is now available for free download in Windows and Mac versions (32 and 64-bit/ AAX, AU & VST). It comes preloaded with 15 factory presets, but I am sure you will spend some time exploring the possibilities of this reverb.