If I had to pick one desert island reverb, this would be it. Either as a plug-in if I had a DAW in my luggage, or as a standalone application running on a laptop if I somehow salvaged a great console and tape machine from the shipwreck. What's so special about WizooVerb? Well, on one hand, it's a fantastic-sounding convolution reverb that uses Wizoo's advanced High Definition Impulse Response (HDIR) samples. On the other hand, it's a fantastic-sounding algorithmic reverb using Wizoo's real-time Acoustic Impulse Rendition (AIR) process for resynthesizing select portions of impulse responses. You can combine the two styles of reverb generation to create some truly unique sonic signatures. And there's a whole lot of very intuitive tweakability. For example, you can combine the early reflections of a sampled chamber with the tail of a plate and adjust the amplitude envelope to create a killer vocal reverb. Like many reverbs, there are controls for pre-delay and EQ. But you can also adjust Directivity to attenuate the initial milliseconds of the reverb's response to reduce smearing when mixed with the dry signal and Spread to "squeeze" early reflections closer together. For rendered reverbs, there are also controls for Room Size, depth of the source in the room (Ambience), low and high frequency damping (Low/High Time), diffusion (Density), and tonal quality (Color), among others.

There are also input and output Width controls that are always available. I like how these are very mono-compatible-the reverb folds down nicely to mono even if the Width is cranked. My favorite snare reverb is a tweak of the Modern Studio preset, which utilizes the Studio Large impulse response for early reflections and an AIR rendered tail. I lengthened the reverb time, increased room size, and reduced Directivity to duck some of the wet attack below the dry transient. It adds sheen and depth without losing realism, and it doesn't get in the way of the rest of the mix. If I had to generalize on the "sound" of WizooVerb (if you can say it has a sonic character), it's incredibly lush while being very believable. In other words, it sounds great. And you can load your own (or third-party) impulse responses into it (although they may not sound as wonderfully complex as the included HDIR samples). It doesn't have a lot of presets, but what it does come with are all quite usable (including some great '80s reverse/gated effects!). And don't forget you can fully tweak all of them; you'll soon end up with hundreds of your own presets. The WizooVerb plug-in is VST2 and RTAS compatible on both MacOS and Windows, and AU too on Mac. The standalone application supports ASIO and Core Audio drivers. ($249.95 MSRP; www.m-audio.com)

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

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