A few weeks ago dutch plugin masters FabFilter surprised us all with the release of PRO -R, the R stands for reverb as you probably already guessed. A clean sound and modern GUI’s in their own style and is their trademark. And as usual they delivered in spades.
The very top row is reserved for the presets menu, A/B functionality, help menu and the box icon that blows the gui up to full screen. The presets are top notch and are labeled clearly so that you know what it is that you’re going for.
The next row is the main panel. First knob is brightness, the Brightness knob adjusts the clarity and high/low frequency balance of the reverb. With lower brightness values you get a softer sound like in a room with more absorption on the walls. This is the case in most of the rooms and results in a more natural sounding reverb.
Second knob is Character, This knob is a pretty special one since it can alter the entire character of the reverb. Starting At 0%, the reverb is transparent, but gradually turning the knob up to 50% introduces some modulation and more noticeable early reflections. From 50% and up, the reverb is going up into a more chorus-like effect at 100%. Great for a more lush verb sound.
3rd knob is Distance,this knob is meant to make the reverb more upfront or the total opposite far away in the back of the mix. At 0% it’s clear in the front containing more high frequencies and bright early reflections. And turning the the knob clockwise it’s moving into the distance, resulting in a longer build up of the reverb and by growing into a more diffuse tail. The illusion of distance in the mix is sculpted this way.
4th knob is the big one in the middle and that is the Space knob.
FabFilter created an algorithm that smoothly and without any zipper noises can transform from the smalles spaces to the largest cathedrals.
This knob combines the room model and the decay time at once. At 0% we have the smallest room and at 100% you find cathedral like halls etc.
You can scroll with the knob to find your sweet-spot or click directly on 1 of the dots if you know what you are looking for. The yellow time label lets you see the decay time of reverb.
5th knob is Decay rate, this one is to alter the decay rate of the selected space setting, that way you can fine tune and tailor the space selection to your own needs.
6th knob is Stereo width. The Stereo Width knob adjusts the width of the reverb sound. It does not just mix the output signal to mono, but also controls internal stereo linking and channel cross-feeding. Starting at 0% (mono), increasing the stereo width slowly makes the reverb true stereo. At 50%, channel cross-feeding is at its maximum: a sound that originates in one input channel, reverberates with an equal amount in both channels. Increasing the value from 50% up, slowly re-introduces stereo placement, up to a 100% where channels operate completely independent (i.e. multi-mono). Above 100%, the side signal is amplified creating more width.
7th knob is Mix, this handles the dry/wet signal 0% is dry and 100% is fully wet. When you use Pro-R as a send effect it is advised to use it fully wet.
The small lock mix button is there to lock your dry wet balance setting on a preset. So when you compare other presets the dry wet setting stays the same.
The main space in the GUI is for the reverb display. Here you can see what the effect of your settings is in realtime. An analyzer, Decay rate eq and post eq are visible in the field. A novelty that Pro-R brings to the table is that you can alter Decay rate eq, Represented by a blue line, and by clicking and dragging up to six bell,High/Low-shelf and notch curves can be used to carve out your own character on the decay rate. This function can radically alter the sound of your reverb. Experiment is key here.
The yellow line is the post eq and this is a more traditional way of eq-ing the end result of your reverb signal. Clicking and dragging lets you add points that you can adjust to your own taste.
The white line represents the real time analyzed signal and especially when you start changing parameters in character and distance etc you will see that the tail of reverb grows more diffuse showing exactly what you are dialing in at that moment. In the bottom bar, you can customize what the spectrum analyzer is showing. You can choose between Reverb+Post (default), Pre+Post or Off.
In the bottom row is the pre-delay setting. Pre-Delay is used to offset the start of the reverb. A little trick to keep sounds clean is to add a little pre-delay so that the signal comes through clean and the reverb doesn’t swamp the initial sound. Great for plucks etc. Also pre-delay is used to give the illusion of distance, the greater the pre-delay time the farther away the sound is in the mix.
Fabfilter have made a very clean and easy to use reverb with Pro-R. All the spaces are well chosen and don’t cloud a mix. The added feature of eq-ing the decay rate is very nice that way you can sculpt your reverb in ways that are not so easy to replicate in other reverb units. Because of the fact that they kept artifacts to an absolute minimum this reverb is not for people who like analogies reverbs with dirty tails etc. Pro-R is great at setting a sound in a space while not trampling over the sound itself.