Until recently, I didn’t know what a convolution reverb was. It works by digitally simulating the reverberation of a physical or virtual space. It does this by using a pre-recorded audio sample of the impulse response of the space being modeled and a bit of maths. Ok, a lot of maths. The result is that you can precisely control the reverb response, rather than having to guess with damp, room size, early reflection settings etc meaning you can have a cathedral, cavern, bouncing ball or tiny speaker response precisely, every time. I got a copy of Reverberate CM by Liquid Sonics from Computer Music Magazine which is such a convolution reverb vst and downloaded some free responses from Bedroomproducersblog and Rekkerd and got some great results. Incidentally, if you don’t know these two sites they are excellent resources, definitely worth checking out.
Fog Convolver offers similar functionality but where it really excels is that it offers much more control and a lot of impulse responses built-in with the option to load others that you already have. It should be noted that this review was done using the demo version of Fog Convolver which has some pretty hefty limitations compared to the full version, namely: The plug-in outputs silence for 3 seconds every 30 seconds; No save and import function available; Demo features only 26 of the 250+ IRs from the Factory Bank.
That said, it enables you to get a really good idea of what it can do. I really like the way that you can control the start and end points, fade in and fade out and there is a high pass and low pass filter which is an excellent feature. And it’s very easy to use, just drop the VST onto your audio track. Not only that, I was using 5 instances and this had very little impact on CPU usage.
The demo track below shows some of the presets on two different samples – a camel groan and a vocal sample. For each of these, the sample is played clean and then four different effects have been applied.
So this gives you the opportunity to apply different types of reverb, but where this effect gets really interesting is when you start stretching the sample, adjusting the end point and only outputting the wet signal. The same 2 samples have been used in the same configuration as above outputting only the wet signal. (One of the camel sounds is silenced due to limitations of the demo version)
I’m really impressed with the demo version, despite the limitations it offers the opportunity to get an idea of what the effect is capable of. It’s fundamentally a really capable reverb effect but offers so much more, especially when you use some of the more unusual impulse responses.
These two demo tracks were created using only Fog Convolver, no other effects were applied. I think that where Fog Convolver really shines is when you combine it with other effects. I’ve taken demo track 2 and run the output from each of the Fog Convolver instances through Tal Dub III and Subvert by Glitchmachines. If you like mangling sounds, this should give you some idea of how you can use Fog Convolver to create drones and soundscapes but there are many, many more possibilities. Personally, I can’t wait to try out the full range of impulse responses in the full version which is available from AudioThing’s website.