Recently, I read about the MorphVerb plug-in and thought, “Do I need another reverb?” If you are like me, you already have a bunch of reverb plug-ins. But I decided to check it out to see if there was anything special here. I found that MorphVerb is not just another reverb at all, but a bunch of reverbs that can easily be combined to create unique sounding spaces. Before we go further, I should clarify that United Plugins is a group of independent plug-in development teams, under one umbrella, headquartered in Prague, Czech Republic. MorphVerb was created by the Muramasa team.

Back to the plug-in: The first thing you’ll notice in MorphVerb is the large control wheel. Turn the dial and get a different reverb type. But you can also set it between two reverb algorithms and morph the result. Now this isn’t the only spatial plug-in I’ve seen that can mix different models of reverb, but I did find this one to be super easy to use, and it sounded good! There are many presets available to get you started, or you can spin the wheel and dig in. One limitation here is that you can only morph reverb models that are neighbors on the wheel, but the algorithms seem to be organized in a way that’s useful because they sound well mixed together in the order they’re presented. For example, if you must have the springiest cathedral known to humankind (which probably doesn’t sound good), then you may need to look elsewhere.

MorphVerb has most of the typical settings you would expect from a reverb plug-in, but here are a few that stood out for me. If you instantiate MorphVerb on a single track, a Dry/Wet control is available, but it also has a cool Lock feature that maintains the reverb amount while you cycle through presets. I almost always need to use an EQ plug-in with other reverbs, but MorphVerb offers Low and High damping controls, a Dark/Bright Tone dial, plus high and low-pass filters (adjusted by simply sliding the bars in the spectrogram). A couple quick knob turns and done! And yes, there’s a real-time spectrogram display that visually reacts to adjustments, including Ducking effects.

The Ducking control allows you to set how much of the unaffected signal gets through before the reverb swallows it up, so you don’t lose the punch or attack of a source. I’ve always used a pre-delay setting (also adjustable in MorphVerb) for this purpose, but the result isn’t the same – the effect comes later. But by ducking, the reverb slowly ramps up to the set level. MorphVerb also has a resizable GUI window (which I always appreciate) – drag the bottom right corner. I prefer the default 3D look, but if you like a 2D look it does that too (with no change to CPU usage). Speaking of taxing the CPU, my system barely noticed MorphVerb.

I first placed it on a drum bus that I tracked for a client. Even the initial preset sounded decent, but as I spun the reverb dial and tweaked the settings, I realized how powerful this MorphVerb was. Very quickly I had a reverb setting that sat well in the track I was working on. On a rock ballad, dialing in a mix of chamber and hall algorithms gave it that long ‘80s tail the track was calling for (think glossy hair metal). On a male vocal rock track, I initially started with a typical plate setting on an aux return, but then started moving the dial toward Chamber. The reverb sound was rather large, so I used the Ducking and Predelay controls to rein it in, so that the lead vocal was still completely intelligible, even as I moved up the send fader and drenched it in reverb.

Maybe you don’t think you need another reverb plug-in, but there is something alluring about a single tool that can do almost any job. I probably won’t ditch all my other reverb plug-ins, but as I learn the ins and outs of MorphVerb, I find I’m using it more often in my sessions. A free 15-day trial is available for those who want to test before buying. Mac OS and Windows compatible. AAX native, AU, VST, and VST3. Dongle-free licensing.

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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