Softube TSAR-1 Reverb
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Softube's TSAR-1 or True Stereo Algorithmic Reverb Model 1 (Native plug-in for AU, RTAS, VST in Macs and PCs) uses four engines to produce a true stereo reverb--that's a stereo processor for each of the left and right input channels. An algorithm-based reverb processor generates space and ambience without changing the source it is placed on and is more programmable because, unlike a convolution reverb, it is not based on a static measurement of a room's impulse response.
Lots of science and technology under the hood is somehow made simple and usable by way of the interface in TSAR-1--it has just eleven parameter controls and switches to adjust. For a reverb this good sounding and configurable, this is amazing compared to other reverbs with many sub menus and dozens of parameters to drill through just to modify it for your own use.
I found that the 42 presets, the manual's excellent tutorial presentation, and recommended reverb applications got me started quickly with appropriate (or Not!) reverbs. All the parameters are explained in an easy-to-understand way so you'll be able to tweak a preset in a smart way instead of just stepping through the preset list and living with something close to what you were hearing. I easily got anything from small boxy rooms to plates to large halls and chambers. I had no problem getting exactly the right reverb for songs ranging from hard, in your face Rock to smoother ballads and dreamy instrumentals.
In my Pro Tools 9 mixing, I found TSAR-1's DSP usage light (for a reverb) and I liked all the extremely wide range of parameter settings. Diffusion controls how much the reverb tail "smears" over the mix and is the opposite of sonic immediacy and clarity. Using high diffusion values, reverb tails can muddy the overall mix.
Density is a measure of "thickness" or the number of reflections in a reverb--a denser reverb imparts the feeling of being in a smaller room and lower density implies a larger space such as a big hall.
Especially good for getting reverbs tweaked just right were the pre delay time (up to a full second) and reverb time (up to 15 seconds long!) TSAR-1 is capable of easily creating credible-sounding impossibly large spaces--the hardest job for all digital reverb systems.
TSAR-1's reverbs sit in the track well without being overly loud and taking up a lot of space and level. I found loads of uses on every song I've mixed with it so far. I liked the EMT Plate and Drum Room presets a lot.
Softube's TSAR-1 sells for $329 MSRP and is available in boxed or direct download at: www.softube.com/tsar1_reverb.php
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