Reverb Module

 

Nectar 2’s completely revamped Reverb Module models the classic EMT 140ST Stereo Plate Reverb giving your vocals timeless space and character.  Lacking early reflections of rooms and halls, Plate Reverb can add a dimension to your vocal tracks without making them muddy.

EMT 140 History

Invented in 1957 by Elektro-Mess-Technik the 140 plate reverb unit was composed of a thin metal plate suspended within a 8x4’ sound-resistant wooden enclosure (weighing 600 pounds).  A speaker-like transducer on one end of the plate reproduced the input signal causing the plate to vibrate while two microphone like transducers received the signal at the opposite end creating a stereo reverb effect (the stereo unit wasn’t introduced until 1961).  The reverb time of the unit was affected by a damping pad which pressed against the plate.  The unit was considered small at the time and was an option for smaller studios without an echo chamber.  While the sound of the plate was unlike the natural reverb that occurs in physical spaces, its warm and dense sound made it the preference of engineers at both Abbey Road studios and RCA Studio B in Nashville and was featured on records from Pink Floyd and the Beatles.  Today the EMT 140 remains a mainstay of recording and is still very much in demand. 

Modeling the EMT 140

In order to authentically recreate the sound of the EMT 140, iZotope first located an original unit that was still in good working order (sadly many have fallen into disrepair).  Then by running sine sweeps through the unit at many damping settings we were able to generate impulse responses that accurately captured the sound of the particular plate.  Rather than just use pure convolution, we’ve used a hybrid DSP algorithm which utilizes both convolution and algorithmic methods of generating reverb.  Convolution is used to accurately generate the early reflections of the plate while an algorithm has been written to synthetically generate the late tails of the reverb.  Using this sort of hybrid DSP provides continuous control of parameters like the damping in real-time, which isn’t possible with pure convolution.  Additionally, this hybrid DSP is significantly more CPU efficient than pure convolution. 

 

Controls

 

Pre-delay (ms)

This determines the amount of time the processed (wet) signal is delayed from being output. This can help to keep the wet vocals from sounding on top of the dry vocals increasing clarity in the overall vocal track with a greater sense of space.  While the EMT 140 didn’t offer any pre-delay, it is present in Nectar 2 to give you added control of the plate reverb.

 

Decay

The Decay control corresponds to the physical damper present in the EMT 140 that pressed against the plate in order to affect the decay time.  While not an explicit control of reverb time as often seen in digital reverbs, this damping effect will affect decay time though it is not constant across all frequencies.

 

Width

The width control affects the stereo spread of the reverb module.  The default (100%) setting accurately represents the sound of a mono signal through the stereo version of the EMT 140, which was first offered as a mono unit, then stereo was later added, however explicit control of the spread was never offered.  This control is only available in stereo and mono to stereo instantiations of the plug-in.

 

Saturation

The saturation control allows you to add subtle harmonics to the wet (reverberated) signal.  The EMT 140’s original preamp was known to add subtle distortion to the signal when levels were pushed.  The saturation control allows you to recreate this effect.

 

Low and High Cutoff

Housed in the mini-spectrum window at the top of the module, these filters control the amount of low and high frequency material that is sent through the reverb. The High Cutoff control will filter out the high frequencies of the wet signal resulting in an overall darker reverb sound while the Low Cutoff control which filters out the lower frequencies of the wet signal resulting in a brighter reverb sound.

 

Dry

The dry control affects how much dry (unprocessed signal) is output from the reverb module.

 

Wet

The wet control affects how much wet (reverberated signal) is output from the reverb module.

 

Visuals

Mini-spectrum Display

Each module of Nectar features a display of the frequency spectrum at the top for reference while making changes to your audio within the module.  The Reverb module’s Mini-spectrum display also includes the high and low cutoff filters mentioned above.

 

Reverb Decay Plot

The Reverb Decay Plot displays a graph that illustrates the decay characteristics of the reverb signal over time given the settings you have selected.  This display can help you visualize how different settings affect the overall character of the reverb signal.