Audio Ease Altiverb 6

Audio Ease Altiverb 6

Altiverb 67 offers a simple, but effective, floating panel for mastering with precision.


Altiverb 6 is a plug-in for music production that creates reverb based on real samples of real spaces. Put simply, you can record your mumblings and guitar noodling, then apply an effect that makes it sound like you recorded them in the Sydney Opera House. For anyone mastering music for specific settings - studio or nightclub engineers, for example - Altiverb 6 is a formidable tool to have on your Mac.


Audio Ease, the app’s developer, has traveled the world from its base in Holland, echo-sounding hundreds of rooms, halls, warehouses, and bathrooms. What it has created with these recordings is a series of impulse responses (IRs) - scientific captures of what happens to sound in that space. When a violinist plays in a concert hall, the notes are the impulse, while the response is what the room does to that sound through a series of reverberations and reflections. By removing the initial impulse, it’s possible to capture the sound of any atmosphere or room, and then apply that same algorithm to a sound by using “real reverb” processing.


From the Amsterdam Concertgebouw to the Cathedral at Notre Dame, from the Antwerp sports stadium to a Dutch former brothel, Altiverb would appear to represent over and above the special requirements of just about any situation you can think of - and Audio Ease also offers a tantalizing track record of frequently releasing new IRs on its website. Suddenly, you’ve got the chance to apply the acoustic effect of what it would sound like in Cello Studios in Los Angeles, one of 20 car interiors, a forest, a cave, or even a jumbo jet’s cockpit.


The results are nothing less than extraordinary. A piano solo can be placed on a soundstage with the dramatic warmth and scale of the greatest concert halls on the planet, or an acoustic guitar can sound like it’s being played in a bathroom. But of course, for many musicians, it’s about removing the reverb, making the sound intimate and up-front. By selecting the IR of a classroom, for example, a voice, a snap of percussion, or an aural effect can sound as if it’s right next to the listener’s ear.


Apply the program’s IRs to a well-recorded, effect-free sound or solo, and the world is at your fingertips. And incredibly, the effect doesn’t feel pasted-on or synthetic. It feels as real as you could ever hope to imagine, achieving the same effect as hardware that costs 10 times as much.


Favoring a clean (and somewhat 1970s-looking) brushed-metal interface, the choice of preset IRs can be accessed from a list, or, imaginatively, from the Google Earth mapping software. Reverb can be previewed instantly - whizzing through the list and trying them out is effortless. Plus, the effects are tweakable through the finer adjustments of low-, mid-, and high-damp adjustment, EQ, early reference, and tail.


For a program that’s so complete, Altiverb has a clear and simple interface with little extraneous detail, and Audio Ease has clearly latched on to the fact that the best way to explain something is through pictures. Not only is there a panel showing you the concert hall in question, but you can also choose to view the reverb effect through either a multichannel waveform or a waterfall time frequency, creating an invaluable snapshot of what your sound will do and what tweaks you’ll want.


Altiverb 6 is the first version of the software to run on Intel Macs, and the transition seems flawless. We ran the software on a 2GHz Intel Core Duo iMac with Logic Pro, and while the processor was certainly challenged, there were few protestations. Some latency was evident, but there was far less than we expected, even when handling the vast soundscapes of the Vienna Concert Hall and the Sydney Opera House.


The bottom line. Altiverb’s effects will totally change your music and sound, delivering realistic effects and a true sense of space.


COMPANY: Audio Ease


PRICE: $595

REQUIREMENTS: Mac OS 10.3.9 or later, music-production software with support for MAS, Audio Units, RTAS, and AudioSuite plug-ins

Outstanding design. A bargain relative to comparable hardware. Realistic soundstage placement. New IRs added frequently. Universal binary.

Nothing, really.





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