- Beautiful Reverb that fits ideally in any mix
- Three effects modules that push this plugin into creative territory
- Wish I could resize the GUI
- Preset menu could use a dropdown on the preset name.
- I'd like a saturation module
The Harbinger of Room
Most run-of-the-mill algorithmic reverb plugins use a series of short delays with feedback to recreate the sound of a room. Although this is a novel approach to creating space, it comes with setbacks. The two big ones are spikes in frequency response and that metallic “plinking” sound you sometimes hear in reverb tails. Sure, we can use EQ to cut the highs, but that results in loss of the “halo” that top-end reverb can have on some tracks.
Perfect Room doesn’t have any of these peculiarities. The Denise team took the “you can’t have metallic reverbs if you don’t have delays” approach and created TXVerb Technology. This all-new approach to reverb results in a smoother response with no weird spikes or tinny resonance. How does TXVerb Technology work? Well, they don’t say, but the results need to be heard, not read in a review. Before we get to that part, let’s look at some of the more unorthodox controls.
Following their minimalist aesthetic, Perfect Room lays out all of the controls exquisitely. I simply like this user interface. Everything is just right there—no BS, no fluff. It just feels right.
The top section hosts the main reverb type controls. These parameters are going to have the most substantial impact on your sound. The middle section houses the spectrum analyzer and special effects. Lastly, the bottom area is a multi-purpose section. Mainly it contains the standard reverb controls, but when the SHIMMER, DETUNE, and DUCKER effects are selected, the lower part transforms into the particular effect’s controls (see image below).
An enabled control will display in pink. For instance, if the Flip or Split is turned on, the dot next to each control will turn pink. Likewise, if any of the three effects under the spectrum analyzer are enabled, the speaker to the right of each name will be pink.
Speaking of the analyzer, here is how it works: the gray spectrum is your input signal. This color will be the only display with the reverb mix as 0%. As you turn the mix control up, you will see a pink spectrum start appearing. That is your reverb. As your mix control creeps past 50%, the pink spectrum will begin to overtake the gray, with the gray disappearing totally the closer to 100% wet reverb.
Legion of Room
Since this is not your ordinary reverb plugin, we don’t have the usual controls.
At the top left corner of the plugin window is your room type. This menu controls the Style of the room’s response.
- Natural decays logarithmically over time for the perfect room response.
- Triangle doesn’t decay linearly for longer, tight reverbs.
- Square doesn’t decay at all and drops off instantly for a more gated sound.
To complement the different Room Types, Perfect Room has five Tone Response settings. These are preset EQ curves that represent the overall tone of the reverb. This of it as a stepped tilt EQ setting.
- Flat has a perfectly flat frequency response
- Bright and Bright XL bring out the highs
- Dark and Dark XL accentuate the lows
Each of these settings is very powerful and completely transforms the reverb sound. These five controls make dialing in the exact sound you hear in your head very fast.
Put My Thing Down Flip it and Reverse it
Who knew a reverb would have something in common with a Missy Elliott song? The Flip control actually does precisely what the song does and reverses your reverb tail. Just next to the Flip control is the Split. This can take a mono signal and create a true stereo reverb. Enable the Split and use the Width control at the bottom to tweak just how far on the edges of your mix you want the reverb.
The Usual Suspects
Just because a plugin is unique, doesn’t mean it won’t have the standard lineup of controls. Perfect Room is no different from the rest with its usual set of knobs that every reverb plugin needs. We have an input and output trim, mix, high and low pass filtering, pre-delay, and reverb tail. These all work like any other plugin. Where this plugin breaks free from the pack is just above these controls.
The Big Three
Effects in reverb have been a trick that many pros have used for quite some time but now you don’t have to stack inserts on your bus to get the unique vibe you’re going for. Perfect Room has three right at your fingertips. To engage, click the speaker icon on the right of the name. To expand the controls, click on the name. Finally, turning up the effect is as easy as clicking on the name a dragging up. Let’s get into what each effect does.
SHIMMER is a pitch shifter that can add an octave above and below into your reverb.
- Source controls how much of the original reverb goes into the SHIMMER effect
- Lo and Hi Octave add more of each respectively.
DETUNE adds random pitch modulations to the reverb
- Wow is a slow detune
- Shake is a fast detune
- Speed controls both Wow and Shake speed
DUCKER hides the reverb behind the source. It uses basic compression controls to creatively make the reverb “pump” or just tuck slightly behind a vocal. It’s an extremely powerful tool that has been a secret weapon for many top engineers. The typical, Threshold, Ratio, Attack, and Release controls work just like any other compressor. The Hold feature is the only unorthodox control and stabilizes the gain reduction of the reverb for more precise ducking.
Lastly, we come to the very bottom of the plugin with the presets section. This area contains your basic preset browser, forward and back arrow, and preset name. The presets they’ve curated are very versatile and span from subtle to outright madness.
This is the reverb I’ve been looking for. While most plugins are trying to be one thing specific, they were always missing that certain something that makes the space behind the mix gel into the song. Yes, I’ve been able to create good reverbs… with other plugins stacked in front and behind, but rarely do I see one that can do it right out of the box.
Perfect Room lives up to the name. I love how this plugin handles low end. Putting reverb on a kick is usually a chore. You have to stack plugins and filter very carefully to keep the space from taking over the whole mix. Perfect Room does it in a few mouse clicks.
Complaints? Nothing substantial. Although the interface is incredibly intuitive, I do wish I could resize it. Also, I found myself clicking the preset name to bring up a drop-down menu. Eventually, I figured out you have to press the folder icon to open presets. This is a little outdated but since it doesn’t affect the quality of sound, I can deal with using the previous, next, and open folder icons. Now that I think about it, you don’t really need presets because the workflow of the interface is so quick. The only other thing I wanted to see was one more effects module under the spectral graph – a saturation module. Sure, this can be remedied by either buying one of their incredible distortion or saturation plugins, but I like having all of these existing effects in the window, I just want one more!
Perfect Room has a permanent spot in my template. The versatility, quality, and ease of use make this a “desert island” reverb. If there’s any reverb plugin you buy this year, buy Perfect Room