Review of RP Verb 2 reverb effect by Rob Papen

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Introduction

ECHT, THE NETHERLANDS: virtual instrument and effect plug-in developer Rob Papen Soundware is proud to announce availability of RP-VERB 2 —updating its original RP-VERB effect plug-in, a firm favourite amongst many famous producers globally and a go-to reverb for many not-so-famous users, to boldly go where no reverb has gone before.

RP-VERB 2 can be purchased in a boxed edition — as an AAX (32-/64-bit), AU (32-/64-bit), VST (32-/64-bit) compatible audio software plug-in for Mac OS X (10.6 or higher) and Windows (Vista, 7, 8, and 10) — from authorised Rob Papen dealers worldwide or as a download directly from Rob Papen for €149.00 EUR/$149.00 USD from here (Owners of RP-VERB are eligible to upgrade to RP-VERB 2 for €39.00 EUR/$39.00 USD, while RP-VERB 2 is included in eXplorer4, the latest incarnation of Rob Papen’s all-encompassing software bundle, so owners of eXplorer4 can download the RP-VERB 2 installer for free.)

For more in-depth information, please visit the dedicated RP-VERB 2 product webpage here

RP-VERB 2 can be seen and heard in this informative introductory video here

Verdict

In summary, RP Verb 2 is a superb reverb effect. It comes with a number of banks and presets which you can use as is or as a solid basis to create your own sounds. The sound quality of the reverb itself is superb, whether you want small, medium or large spaces or the infiniteness of the space orbits. However, there is so much more to RP Verb 2, it’s a creative reverb or even reverb on steroids. The additional modules allow great creativity – distortion can add a great edge to your sound; EQ allows further shaping of the sound; Ensemble adds a great quality for some sounds; the superb reverser easily adds a brilliant element; there are superb modulation possibilities too.

Demo songs

I’ve created a demo album which is embedded above. I’ve used multiple instances of RP Verb 2 to demonstrate many of the different modules and sounds that it can produce. The album was created virtually exclusively using Rob Papen synths with RP Verb 2 and RP Delay, ‘lured away’ also uses glitch samples and groove steps in Hollyhock 3; vocals are from Function Loops. The songs were created and arranged in Sensomusic Usine Hollyhock 3 and mastered in MuLab 7 using bx_console E (Brainworx) and Stage (Fiedler Audio).

Detailed review

The GUI is clean, well laid out and easy to navigate. The first thing you notice is that this isn’t a typical reverb. It has a number of additional features and controls.

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The top section contains the presets list. There are global parameters including orig and edit which lets you switch between the stored preset and edits you’ve made; access to the user the manual; ECS (External Controller Setup) to use a midi controller to control RP Verb 2 parameters; effect bypass; a handy option to reset all audio buffers. There are also VU meters and dry/wet controls in this section.

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The next row contains the ensemble, early reflections, reverb and late reflections.

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The next row contains distortion, EQ and the reverse section.

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The bottom row is a multi-page section with envelope follower, envelope and LFO/mod/trigger.

It’s worth bearing in mind that the default signal routing is not linear as shown on the modules of the GUI but rather as shown below.

A number of these modules can affect the signal flow and these are described in more detail below.

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The EQ is 3 band with the low band fixed to 80Hz and the high band fixed to 12kHz. The mid band is parametric and has frequency, bandwidth and level controls. The EQ can be placed either pre- or post reverb effect.

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The ensemble effect uses multiple chorus units with slight variations in their parameters to give the impression of several copies of the sound playing simultaneously. There is a volume control and speed control which sets the frequency of LFO modulation. The ensemble can be placed before the source signal reaches the reverb or fed to the output directly as well as the reverb.

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The reverb is the heart of the plugin. There are 10 different reverb models:

Hall Clean: A clean hall sound based on a rectangular space with hard surface walls of traditionally built halls.

Hall Cave: this type of reverb displays more movement, since caves are more irregularly shaped

Hall Warm: warm sounding hall

Room Cold: clean room sound with hard surface square walls

Room Edge: represents an irregularly shaped room

Room Storm: inspired by the overhead recorded room sound

Vintage 1: classic reverb sound with limited reverb length (like a reverb plate)

Vintage 2: classic reverb sound with an irregular space and limited reverb length (close to a reverb plate)

Space Orbit 1: ‘Orbit’ is an unlimited space

Space Orbit 2: a few more galaxies are reflected in this one…

These reverb models have length and size which is determined by the chosen reverb model. There are also volume, damping, high pass filter, low pass filter and pre-delay controls. An additional unique feature is the pre-delay disorder which gives a different build up of reflections at the start of the reverb.

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Early Reflections are a set of complex delays caused by hard surface reflections in certain room types and spaces. They are audible before the full dense reverb part sets in. The volume, pattern and positioning of the Early Reflections depends on listener position,

room geometry and surface material of the reflecting walls and ceilings in the simulated room.

Early reflections are normally output direct but there is an option to send them into the reverb. There are controls for volume, length, damping and feedback. The side control determines the amount of sideways reflections between the two earliest delays and the cross control determines the amount of cross-over reflections between the left and right delays.

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Late Reflection adds a longer delay reflection which can be heard in certain spaces or room types. It depends on the listener’s position whether the Late Reflection is audible.

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Reverse is a very cool feature. It records the reverb signal and plays it back in reverse to easily create reversed reverbs. The display shows the reversed or input signal and allows you to monitor the appropriate settings for its parameters.

The Display Length sets the time that is visualised in the Reverser display. The default is Dynamic Mode which automatically reflects the length of the reverb.

Sync synchronises the length of the reversed signal to the DAW tempo and by default is on. This makes it very easy to fit the reverse sound in your music piece but can be switched off to allow you to experiment with manual time settings.

Reverb only is on by default which means the reverser uses the Reverb signal only. You can switch it off to include other modules such as Ensemble, Early Reflections and Late Reflections. When this control is off, the reverse effect is applied as the last component in the audio chain and everything will be reversed, not just the Reverb.

Trigger level sets the volume when the reverb signal starts the reverser. The reverse then records the reverb for the set

reverse time, and replays the recorded reverb backwards. It is shown in the display by the line with the T. The type of signal will determine the optimal setting so the Trigger Level may need reducing until the Reverser catches.

Offset can be used as a pre-delay before recording starts. It is shown in the display by the line marked by O.

Hold Time creates a pause between triggering of the reverser to prevent repeated retriggering. The hold time must exceed the Reverse time. When the reverser is retriggered, the audio buffer is cleared and starts recording. It is shown in the display by a

line marked with a H. You need to consider the hold time along with the reverse time. For instance, if you use a 1 bar Reverse Time it takes 1 bar to record the reverse time. So this whole process will take 2 bars. Therefore, if you want a repeating reverse at 1 bar you need to set the Hold Time to 2 bars.

Reverse Time sets the length of the reversed audio. It is displayed by a line marked with an R. In the graphic display, you see the arrow move until it hits the point R. This is the recorded part. Once it hits this R marker, the reverse playback starts.

The Attack control creates an Attack Envelope at the start of the reversed output to fade-in the reversed sound.

The Decay control creates a Decay Envelope at the end of the reversed output to fade-out the reversed sound.

Mix sets the balance between the reversed and normal output. A fully counter-clockwise position gives you the normal reverb sound. Fully clockwise gives you the Reversed sound. The Mix parameter adds a lot of dynamic and creative options to the reverb effect. Control it directly from your host DAW, by recording this parameter, or use the Envelope follower, Envelope or LFO.

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Distortion has four different modes, each of which have two controls. Amount 1 always sets the amount of distortion whilst amount 2 varies depending on the distortion setting: foldover – it sets the balance between the clipping of the negative and

positive peaks of the waveform signal; fuzz – it controls the frequency of the fuzz distortion; power – it sets the balance between the distortion of the negative and positive peaks of the waveform signal; saturation – it sets the balance between the saturation of the negative and positive peaks of the waveform signal.

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The Envelope Follower tracks the input volume and generates a modulation signal, which can be used to drive RP-VERB 2’s controls.

With Sync On, the Envelope Follower Attack, Hold and Release times are synchronised to the DAW tempo.

The envelope follower input is controlled by a mono signal. Use the Mono switch when the input signal is panned in a stereo field, but you would like an equal response of the envelope for both sides the input signal.

When the envelope follower is latched, it reaches its maximum level and stays there until the input volume returns to zero.

Envelope Follower Attack Time determines how quickly the Envelope Follower reaches its maximum value when triggered.

Hold determines how long the Envelope Follower stays at its maximum level. (Ignored in Latch Mode)

In Latch Mode, Release controls how quickly the Envelope Follower decays to zero when the input volume reaches zero. In Normal Mode it controls the release time after the Hold time has expired.

The Audio Control sets to which extent the Envelope Follower controls the volume of the reverb.

Amount / Destination 1 & 2 are two assignable modulation slots for the Envelope Follower. These let you directly control any of RP-VERB 2’s parameters via the Envelope Follower. Destination is the modulation target, and Amount sets the strength of the modulation path.

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The Envelope generates a modulation signal, which can be used to drive RP-VERB 2’s controls.

With Sync On, the Envelope Attack, Hold and Release times are synchronised to the DAW tempo.

When MIDI Trigger is enabled, incoming Midi messages trigger the Envelope.

The Loop function repeats the Envelope cycle. The Envelope runs through its stages – Attack, Hold and Release – and starts again when the Release stage is completed.

Envelope Trigger sets the volume level that is required to trigger the Envelope. When the input volume exceeds the Trigger level, the Envelope starts

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The LFO / MOD / Trigger tab has an LFO which can be used as a modulation source for any of RP-VERB 2’s parameters.

There are three modulation slots and trigger settings for the Envelope and the LFO.

With Sync On, the LFO Speed is synchronised to the DAW tempo.

The LFO is triggered by the LFO MIDI Trigger when Midi Trigger is On. The LFO is freerunning otherwise.

LFO Wave is a drop-down menu to select the LFO’s waveform for its modulation signal.

LFO Speed sets the frequency of the LFO.

The three modulation slots each have their own Source, Destination and Amount settings.

Source selects which modulation source is used to change the RP-VERB 2 controls. Options for sources include MIDI CC controls (Modulation Wheel etc.), MIDI Note values (Note and Velocity), a constant Offset, plus the Envelope Follower, the Envelope and the LFO.

The destination is the target parameter for the modulation slot. Amount sets the strength of the modulation path.

The Trigger menus select the type of Midi Message that is used to trigger the LFO and Envelope. You may choose from MIDI CC, MIDI Notes or the host status to trigger either the Envelope or LFO.

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