Exponential Audio Phoenix Verb Review – Audio & GUI Gallery

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After having spent many an hour on the Lexicon MPX-1 in my early days, and the luxurious times spent on the 960L after that, I’ve recently had the honor to take an early close look at version 2.0 of Phoenix Verb by Exponential Audio, a company founded by one of the brightest minds in the world of reverb. Here’s my review of Phoenix Verb 2.0 that was released a few days ago.

Phoenix Verb Review – About Exponential Audio

If you know a little about reverb, you probably know about Lexicon. If you know about Lexicon, your ears have come to know the work of Michael Carnes. His reverb algorithms have been an important part of music, television, radio and feature films for the past few decades. Michael Carnes has worked on legendary reverb hardware units like the Lexicon PCM80, the PCM90, the PCM96 and the 960L (including its surround features). After all that hefty DSP work was done, Michael Carnes decided to go own his own and founded Exponential Audio, a small company focused entirely on the pro audio professional.

For more background information on why Michael Carnes moved from hardware to native, and what he thinks about convolution reverb, listen to Pro Tools Expert’s Mike Thornton interviewing Michael Carnes. It’s a fascinating story.

Exponential Audio currently sells four products: Phoenix Verb, R2, and surround versions of both (up to 7.1) called Phoenix Verb Surround and R2 Surround, with the surround versions offering a more complex Early section. Phoenix Verb is an easy to use reverb plug-in for realistic natural reverbs that are as pure as possible, without any artefacts. R2 takes the other angle, offering reverbs with artefacts that are intentional, like Chorusing, Gating and Reverbs that swirl like hairdos did back in the 80’s.

Phoenix Verb Review – Audio Gallery

Without any further ado, let’s have Phoenix Verb do the talking with some audio examples. Using good headphones (no earbuds yo!) is recommended, so you can focus on the all-important reverb tails.

About these audio examples:

  • 320kpbs MP3’s. Had to compromise (bandwidth).
  • All Apple Loops are unprocessed, before going into Phoenix Verb.
  • Automation: all examples start off 100% dry, gradually move to 100% wet, then fall back to a Dry/Wet balance of 40%.
  • Only Phoenix Verb presets were used. No editing.
  • Phoenix Verb aims to be a natural reverb, hence these conventional audio examples.
Orchestra Brass, with preset “Large Neutral Hall (Wide)”:

Orchestra Strings, with preset “Stone Church (Wide)”:

Pendulum Loop, with a Medium Hall preset called “Eric’s Long Haul”:

Piano Ballad, with a Large Chamber preset called “Zowie Chamber”:

Conga Groove, with preset “Small Percussion Plate 2”

For more audio examples, visit the Exponential Audio Youtube Channel.

Phoenix Verb Review – User Interface

Phoenix Verb’s interface is clean and simple.

Highlights I spotted:

  • Important parameters like Reverb Attack, Tail and Early Reflections have been given their own interface sub-section.
  • Huge list of presets to get you started (Halls, Plates, Chambers and Rooms).
  • Presets can be found by using keywords (see the image gallery below).
  • Out Frequency can be quickly filtered by either 6db or 12Db/octave low-and high-pass filters. For further (EQ) processing of the reverb, you’re on your own.
  • Favorites list.
  • User-controllable CPU load balancing for increased processor efficiency, should you need it.
  • Most of the reverb’s parameters can be tweaked while audio is running, without any apparent audio glitches. So, surgically automating reverb parameters throughout your composition? No problemo.

To get a taste for Phoenix Verb’s user interface, see this gallery:

For a clear explanation of each reverb parameter, watch this Reverb 101 with PhoenixVerb (using the previous version) made by the plug-in’s creator himself.

Phoenix Verb Review – Pricing, Platforms, Sale

Phoenix Verb 2.0 is available for Mac (32/64bit, AU, VST, RTAS, AAX) and Windows (32/64bit, VST, RTAS, AAX).

Regular price: $199, currently on sale at 30% off for $139,30 until March 10, 2014.

Phoenix Verb Requires iLok2.

More info (Surround versions, FAQ, bundle pricing, demo):

Exponential Audio Phoenix Verb 2.0

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