There is already a huge variety of reverbs available that simulate different environments, but what if you could actually specify your own virtual ‘space’. That’s exactly what HoRNet have done with Spaces. By allowing you to enter the length, width and height of a room, Spaces uses these measurements to mathematically generate your own tailored reverb. This is a great concept and I can see some uses and benefits, but how ‘real’ or how ‘musical’ are the results?
HoRNet Spaces Reverb Plug-in
There are known values for resonances found in rooms, called modes. Anyone that’s built their own studio space is likely to have come across the maths at play here, using the numbers to calculate ideal room sizes or the appropriate acoustic treatment required. From this point of view, I highly respect the developers of this new plug-in and find it interesting we haven’t seen anything quite like this before. Technically, it’s very cool.
Immediately there are two uses that I can see for this plug-in. Firstly, film audio post production specialists could use this plug-in to generate similar reflections on a dubbed/ADR voice recording, as there might have been in the very room the footage was shot. Secondly, if for example you recorded a band in a live room, then at the mixing stage you could simulate a reverb that was coherent to the original recording space.
On a really technical level, I can see another benefit to working with the Spaces concept. By adjusting the room size and viewing the modal frequencies, you could potentially avoid or purposely hit certain target frequencies. These frequencies could potentially relate to the key in which your track is. I assume this would give rise to the possibility of making space in a mix, or allowing a reverb to work with the musical content.
In the real world however, I worry that there are minimal uses and potentially even flaws. Spaces does offer diffusion, absorption and dampening settings in an attempt to sound ‘real’, but there is a limit to the reverb it can produce. It will inevitably have it’s own sound. After all, not all rooms are square, and what if the walls were corrugated iron, brick or wood? There are other plug-ins and software packages available for simulating spaces using convolution technology – some of which are excellent. This is great concept and I look forward to hearing it, but I don’t see it as replacement for any of my usual reverb tools. Irregularity is beautiful.
The best piece of news with this release, is the price! Like many of HoRNet’s products, it’s cheap compared to other manufacturer reverbs. However, I wonder how many times you would actually use this plug-in? Spaces will only set you back 15.99 EUR, which is at least tempting to have as an alternative reverb in your arsenal. The plug-in is suitable for Mac and Windows systems in AAX, AU and VST formats. For more information and trial download, visit the Spaces webpage.