Lyrics by Liam McShane
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Are you already tired of plugins? Is there even such a thing?
With the plugin market nearing total saturation point (pun absolutely intended) and with so many new products hitting the market, many are promising a slew of new and innovative features just to deliver the same digital appropriation of a On the familiar page of 50 years ago, it’s rare to find a plugin that genuinely brings something new to the table, both in sound and workflow.
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It is against this market of abundance that Baby Audio has made a name for itself, eschewing the status quo in favor of modernity and practicality – continually appearing with new, truly cutting-edge effects that both liberate and inspire with their ease of use. use, without compromising on what’s going on under the hood.
Their most recent plugins were firmly rooted in the world of advanced equations, including their TAIP (a saturation plugin that relied on the world’s first AI algorithm to map and reproduce famous tape saturation sounds), and now we have the new awesome Crystal-clear algorithmic reverb.
If this is the first time you’ve come across the term “algorithmic reverb”, don’t worry. No one is going to crack the graphing calculator for you here. Simply put, an algorithmic reverb simply uses mathematical formulas to simulate different room sizes and reflective qualities as opposed to other spatial or material modeling.
But don’t think for a second that the complexity of its engine means that Crystalline is anything but extremely user-friendly. On the contrary, Crystalline is an algorithmic reverb that offers expert features in a simple and effortless package, allowing you to achieve cutting-edge sound as easily and intuitively as possible. Baby Audio, a company that has built a reputation in part for its user-centric plugin design, delivered absolute gold with the GUI here, with Crystalline proving a total reimagining of the traditionally convoluted layout. (ha) of a reverberation.
The use of Crystalline is so intuitive that it would be useless to write a user manual. The simple grouping of Crystalline’s controls into four categories (Reflections, Depth, Cleanup, Shape) not only helps keep the UI neat, but also gives context to the controls in each group. A visual cue for each control lets you see the control’s current setting, rather than just telling you a numerical value. A quick glance lets you visualize how your reverb will sound, taking the guesswork out of dialing in your ideal settings.
Tucked into these sensitive subdivisions are plenty of cutting-edge features, sitting humbly alongside more traditional controls without too much noise, as if to beg the question of why such features aren’t yet considered standard in a reverb. Take for example the ducker function, which attenuates the reverb signal while the original signal is still playing, preventing the reverb from muddying up what may be an already loaded mix. It’s the kind of thing savvy mixers used to create entire YouTube videos with titles like “This Simple Reverb Hack Will Change Your Life”, but now instead of having to set up a compressor with a sidechain to achieve this, you can simply use Crystalline.
You can adjust the size of the reverb in the Reflections section, with the ability to add extra high-end sizzle with a Sparkle control, and control the stereo image of the reverb with the Width control. The Depth section allows the user to adjust the complexity of the reverb’s algorithm, amount of modulation and additional high-end jitter.
The Sides feature in the Clean-Up section allows you to apply an adjustable high-pass filter to the Side channel of a Mid-Side split, allowing you to add reverb to low-frequency sounds without your mix loses energy or precision. Alongside that, a damping control applies high-pass and low-pass filters to taste – no more inserting extra filter plug-ins to get your Abbey Road Reverb trick up and running (again, why isn’t that standard yet!?). Baby Audio has even added a door control for all your Phil Collins door snare needs.
Below a central graphic panel showing a 3D representation of the processed signal are two sliders labeled Start and End which control the reverb pre-delay and decay time respectively. The End control works independently of the Size function, giving you the ability to create huge reverbs with short decay tails, or vice versa. Crystalline syncs to your DAW’s current tempo: with the sync feature enabled, you can control the timing of the reverb proportional to the length of the bar, instead of arbitrary milliseconds. This is super useful for mixing beat-based music and makes it easy to use reverb as a creative tool. It’s the kind of feature that seems so obvious in hindsight that one wonders why it’s not common practice to include.
A control labeled Smoothing attenuates the harsh frequencies of the reverb, allowing you to control the subtlety of the reverb sound. Alongside this, a tone control applies a tilt EQ to gradually switch between brighter and darker reverb. The Transients control lets you switch between attack or sustain emphasis, fantastic for fine-tuning reverbs on percussion or transient-heavy instruments.
Freeze and Invert functions provide additional options for designing creative reverbs, and you can even switch between Light Gray and Brushed Carbon color schemes to match your DAW or mood. Crystalline is also packed with presets for just about any application, browsing through them will give you a crash course in the sonic possibilities of the plugin.
Baby Audio’s Crystalline is more than just an extremely versatile reverb, it’s a paragon of plug-in design representing a new era of user-friendly interfaces. The absence of physical constraints when designing a plugin opens up a whole world for interface design beyond emulation of existing hardware units, which few plugin makers have dared to explore. By taking user experience as seriously as today’s plugin technology, Baby Audio continues its trend of creating plugins that make your mixing experience easier and more enjoyable.
Head toward Baby Audio for more information.