Eos 2 review – Audio Damage raise the bar for iOS algorithmic reverb

Download from iTunes App StoreAs I posted just before the week-end, no sooner than I’d reviewed both Rough Rider 2 and Grind Distortion by Audio Damage then they released another iOS music app; Eos 2. Audio Damage have built quite a reputation as creators of desktop plugins over the last few years and it’s great to see the software being ported over to iOS…  and they are obviously on a bit of a roll :-)

Eos 2 is a further such port and, in this case, we have an algorithmic reverb. The iOS version apparently brings exactly the same features as the desktop version both in terms of controls and sound. That is likely to be a very good thing as the desktop plugin sounds very good indeed and has gained itself some very positive reviews (for example, check out the video review embedded below).

Eos 2 – the best algorithmic reverb yet for iOS?

The app runs as a stand-alone processor and offers IAA support but I suspect most folks will probably be most impressed that it is also supplied as an AUv3 so you can run it within a suitable host such as Cubasis, AUM, Audiobus, etc. as required…  The app’s blurb does suggest that it is quite demanding in terms of CPU resources (high quality reverbs generally are) so a single instance configured as a send effect may be the best way to go.

Eos 2 is a universal app and requires iOS9.3 or later. It is priced at a modest UK£5.99/US$5.99 and, at just 7MB, is easy enough to squeeze onto even the most well stuffed of iOS hardware. So, given the very positive reviews the desktop version of Eos 2 received, how does the iOS version stack up?

Compact space

Whether you run stand-alone (watch out for feedback loops!) or as a plugin, the control set offered remains the same and is identical to the controls offered by the desktop version. And, while there are a few control options here that are perhaps not so typical of some other software-based algorithmic reverbs, the control set is compact enough to fit comfortably into the typical sub-window offered by most AU hosts. The styling is modern and the touchscreen-based adjustment of the various settings straightforward enough unless you happen to have oversized fingers and an undersized screen.

The app can be used as a stand-alone effect if required…..

The app ships with a decent collection of presets and, as shown in the screenshots,  these are accessible when working in AU mode. You can, of course, create your own presets and, with something like reverb – and in particular a reverb that offers as much control as Eos 2 does, that’s likely to be a feature you would make plenty of use of.

The app includes four different reverb algorithms – three different plate reverb emulations and something called SuperHall. The various plates have somewhat different characters and, in particular, handle stereo imaging in slightly different ways. The SuperHall algorithm is intended for bigger and longer reverb needs and, as described more fully below, the app’s modulation options can be put to good use with this algorithm to create all sorts of weird and wonderful ‘special effect’ style treatments.

… but its more natural home is as an AU plugin as shown here within Cubasis.

This, and the other features of the app, are admirably well explained in the PDF manual that’s available on the Audio Damage website and, while this was written with the desktop plugin in mind, the feature set is identical under iOS so the same principles apply. The manual is well worth a read.

Space control

Eos 2’s control set is an interesting mix of familiar and less so. The larger Decay and Mix controls do exactly what you would expect and adjust the overall reverb time and the wet/dry balance. On the left side of the control set, Predelay (the delay before the reverb signal is heard) and the Size (the dimensions of the acoustic ‘space’ within which the sound is placed) are also familiar reverb fodder while the Diffusion control changes the behaviour of the early reflections within the reverb effect. The Attack control also seems to play a role here although I’m not so sure I exactly understand what the parameter is doing under the hood.

Perhaps more interesting are the left-hand side’s Mod Depth and Mod rate. Both of these allow you to apply a little pitch shifting to the delay lines within the reverb. Used gently, this can really help the reverb feel a little more natural as it causes tonal changes in the reverb that simulate what a ‘real’ space might do to an audio signal. However, if you want to get creative, you can push these options a little harder and create some deliberate ‘special effects’ results.

Slowlt but surely, iOS is collecting a good crop of AU plugins.

Talking of special effects, the Infinite button offers a sort of sample and hold effect where your reverb signal is sampled and sustained for as long as the button is engaged. Things can get pretty big pretty quickly here so it is most effective with a fairly sparse input signal. That said, sound designer fans will have some fun with the option.

On the right side of the display, the High Cut and Low Cut controls simply filter the input signal, allowing you to quickly adjust the tonal character of the reverb output. Losing the bottom end can reduce unwanted reverb rumble which rolling off the top-end will simulate natural spaces with any soft surfaces for a warmer, more natural, reverb character.

However, you also get the Low Mult and High Mult controls and these allow you to either adjust the relative decay times of the lower and higher frequency elements of the reverb respectively. This can also be used to radically adjust the tonal character of the reverb in some quite interesting and powerful ways. The Low Crossover and High Crossover controls can adjust the frequencies at which these decay adjustments are applied.

Eos 2 ships with a decent crop of presets to get you started…..

The end result is that Eos 2 offers all the usual reverb controls you might be familiar with plus a bunch of additional options that can either be ignored or dug into if you want something extra to experiment with. It’s an impressive combination.

Eos in iOS

Technically, I had no problems while testing Eos 2 on my larger format iPad Pro with the most recent version of iOS. It performed fine as a stand-alone app (although you need to be using headphones for monitoring to avoid the obvious feedback loop as audio out from any speakers gets loped back to the microphone input). However, I spent most of my time using the app via AU and this also worked like a charm.

I did most of my testing in Cubasis and AUM and both the presets system and multiple instances worked smoothly. I can only imagine that other solid AU hosts would perform equally well. If your host supports it, it is also possible to automate the Eos 2 parameters.

Multiple instances of reverb anyone? I didn’t find Eos 2 too much of a CPU hit despite the comments from Audio damage in their App Store blurb.

While Audio Damage suggest that the app might do its thing with something of a CPU hit, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised on that front. Side-by-side testing against Cubasis’ own RoomWorks SE and Numerical Audio’s RF-1 (the two algorithmic reverbs I tend to reach for at present) and Igor Vasiliev’s Convolution-based AltiSpace (used as an IAA plugin), actually suggested similar CPU hits on the Cubasis CPU meter for all of these apps. OK, you can take these sorts of ad hoc meter readings with a pinch of salt but my own experience certainly doesn’t suggest that Eos 2 is a real CPU hog.

So far, so good….  it’s a cool control set and the app performs well from a technical front. That might already be enough for an app costing UK£5.99/US$5.99. However, I’ve saved the best to last; Eos 2 sounds fabulous.

Eos 2 makes for a very nice vocal reverb, worked well for me with drums and, when I wanted a special effect or three, could swamp a sound (yay! SuperHall) quite happily. What was particularly impressive was the way the app could be configured to provide just the most subtle of ambiences and the tonal control available. Moreover, the key parameters make tweaking your reverb sound pretty easy. It’s flexible and the results are very smooth. I can see this becoming my go-to AU reverb plugin.

Reverb 4 U

If you have been dipping into the iOS music app offerings of the App Store for some time, you might well be at app saturation point. That doesn’t stop new apps appearing though and, sometimes, in their specific category (synth, drum machine, DAW or, in this case, reverb effect), something new can bring a noticeable step forwards in some form. I think Eos 2 does just that.

The app performed very well within AUM as an AU host… and the sound is really very good indeed.

It certainly outshines Roomworks SE (perhaps not such a surprise) but I also think it has a bit of an edge over RF-1 in some applications. RF-1 offers a wider range of algorithm types perhaps….  but the plate emulations in Eos 2 are genuinely very good indeed. No, we don’t get a ‘spring’ reverb emulation but, otherwise, this is a versatile reverb effect.

Of course, there is personal preference involved in ‘good’ and ‘bad’ sound and the types of things you use reverb for would certainly influence your choice of app. That said, like EQ or compression or delay (those really ‘core’ effects/processors that can get used in multiple ways within a single mix), reverb is something that it can be good to have some choices with if you really like to get into the fine details of crafting a mix.

And the price of Eos 2 (and RF-1; they are the same price) is simply stupid. Under iOS, Eos 2 is a direct port of the desktop plugin and offers the same level of sonic performance. However, the desktop plugin is priced at UK£45/US$59 so, give or take a smidge, it is 10% of the price for 100% of the performance….  and the desktop plugin is already a bit of a bargain. Sense it does not make. Don’t let that logical conundrum for stopping you buying the iOS version though; it’s an absolute bargain and has, I think, just set a new bar for algorithmic reverb under iOS. I’m looking forward to other developers trying to jump even higher :-)

In summary

If you use reverb in your iOS music making, Eos 2 is well worth acquiring. Whether it’s a first reverb plugin beyond what’s offered in your DAW, or simply an additional option alongside your existing reverb(s) of choice, Eos 2 would make a great choice at a very modest price.

Audio Damage have certainly arrived on iOS with a bit of a bang. They do, apparently, have other ports in the pipeline….  Here’s hoping they are as good as Eos 2 is. Anyway, Eos 2 comes highly recommended so check out the desktop demo video below….  and then hit the App Store download button to find out more.

Eos 2 reverb

Download from iTunes App Store

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    Comments

    1. Thanks for the review. It’s certainly a great plugin, not least because it utilises algorithms from dsp reverb god Sean Costello at Valhalla. I hope we will see more of his work on IOS. In the meantime AudioDamage are doing an amazing job porting these plugins and I hope that many other desktop developers will follow suit.

    2. SumSoma says:

      I can see, or should that be hear, how eos2 is spoken of as a studio standard. It’s sounds are crisp and just what a professional musician/producer would desire in the studio.
      But for myself Røverb remains the go to reverb app, even though it remains limited as non-AU. There is such complexity and playfulness available from it. I guess it’s that’s cheeky Klevgrand voice singing through…..

    3. A great reverb, for sure. I do get a bit of a glitchy experience when manipulating the left panel dials in real time on a file or live input. Not an issue if you get it set up and dig the sound you settle on, but real time changes on a file did not work out for me in AudioShare, latest iOS, iPad Pro 10.5…about as blazing an iOS device as there is. Perhaps a tweak on the development end will solve that. Marvellous tails, transparency.

    4. Brilliant and now they just released Dubstation 2 :)
      Yet another gem.

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