Valhalla DSP is a new plug-in company consisting of Sean (coding) and Kristin (graphics, marketing) Costello, who together run a small and efficient operation. There are a few things that make Valhalla unique. One: They only make reverb and delay plug-ins. Sean seems a bit obsessed with reverb, to be honest. I hope he has another outlet of some sorts, but I guess we're the beneficiaries of his obsession, so I won't complain. Two: Word of mouth on these plug-ins is growing. I first heard of them via two of my engineers, Chris Woodhouse and Scott McDowell. They were both raving about how good Valhalla plug-ins sounded. Three: The graphics are really cool. I love my Fairchild 660 plug-in, as well as my other vintage emulations, but designing plug-ins to look like old gear - complete with scratched faceplates and virtual knobs that require turning - is a bit backward. When the GUI is not done well, trying to move the knobs with a mouse is a pain. Our web dude Dave Middleton disdains these skeuomorphisms (a big word I learned from Dave). Valhalla has moved into the present with super-clean, easy-to- navigate flat-design graphics that look cool and already seem timeless. Four: The plug-ins cost $50 each, and you get multiple installations per license, without having to pay recurring subscription or support fees. Uh, those are waves I'm pretty happy to catch, especially as the plug-ins sound really good. There are six different time-based plug- ins in total. One of them (Freq Echo) is a free download, and the rest you can download and try (with demo limitations) before you make your final purchase decisions. Here's a brief rundown:
ÜberMod is a multi-tap delay and modulation effect. Think choruses, delays, and bucket-brigade device (BBD) effects. Freq Echo can do some freaky effects by combining a Bode frequency shifter with analog echo and feedback. Shimmer is a reverb with the ability to pitch-shift the feedback signal for classic Eno/Lanois-style "shimmer" effects. Room focuses on high- quality room simulation reverbs with 12 different algorithms for rooms, chambers, and more. VintageVerb emulates the classic digital reverbs from the '70s and '80s with 15 algorithms, while three different "Color" modes implement the reduced bandwidth of earlier digital reverbs, up through the "Now" setting for full- bandwidth, artifact-free operation. Finally, Plate is the latest Valhalla reverb, and it emulates plates both classic and not yet heard; different metals can even be chosen for the virtual plate, including "Unobtanium."
If you have yet to buy your first reverb plug-in, you could do well with any of these from Valhalla as your first foray into ambience effects. And, if you've got an ambience addiction already, $250 will set you up with all the plug-ins and a vast array of sonic possibilities. We've been using these plug-ins at The Dock and Panoramic House for the last few months, and everyone is really stoked on them.
$50 each direct; www.valhalladsp.com