R0Verb review – Klevgränd Produktion add a hybrid reverb/delay app to their excellent iOS audio effects catalogue

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Roverb logoI’ve often made the point on the blog that, if you are into iOS-based recording, it is a good thing to have access to a few different reverb and delay apps. While reverb in particular can be one of the more CPU intensive effects, and you can effectively share a reverb or delay processor amongst several tracks if you set it up via IAA as a ‘send’ effect within your DAW, there are still times when, for creative and/or practical reasons, you want very different reverb/delay treatments for different elements of a mix. So, there is a good case to be made for owning more than one decent iOS reverb and more than one delay app….

… but just how many do you need? And, if you already own a few of each, do you need another one – more specifically, R0Verb from Klevgränd Produktion – to add to your collection? Well, if R0Verb was just another ‘me too!’ reverb or delay processor and you were already in possession of apps such as AltiSpace, AUFX:Space, AUFX:Dub, AudioReverb and AD 480 Pro, then perhaps the answer might be no…

R0Verb - not your conventional reverb/delay processor.

R0Verb – not your conventional reverb/delay processor.

However, if you have used any of Klevgränd Produktion’s other iOS music apps (Vandelay, Squashit and Svep), then you will already know that they don’t really do ‘me too’… their apps always have something of a twist. And so it is with R0Verb… so, if you have the princely sum of UK£2.99 (perhaps in loose change tucked somewhere down the back of the sofa), are running an iPad with iOS7.0 or later, and happen to have 2.3MB of spare space, is R0Verb worth a punt?

Space, the final frontier

R0Verb’s full title is actually ‘R0Verb multi delay-line space machine’ and, much as I’ve like to reach the outer edges of the Earth’s atmosphere for UK£2.99 and using just my iPad Air, this isn’t an app for that.

Instead, what we get is an app that provides us with up to 50 separate delay lines (that is, 50 different delays (echos), each of which can have its own gain, delay time, feedback, EQ and pan positions. If you use one or two of these on their own then you can create a fairly standard (simple) delay effect. However, stack a whole bunch of them together with fairly short pre-delay and delay times and you can just as easily create some conventional reverb treatments (reverb is, after all, just many short delays that blur into each other).

Keep the lines short and you get a reverb-style result...  while longer lines give you a delay effect.

Keep the lines short and you get a reverb-style result… while longer lines give you a delay effect.

Of course, you can also push R0Verb in directions other than this and create all sorts of virtual spaces that simply couldn’t exist in nature; the choice is yours.

One other thing is worth noting. While the ‘R0Verb’ tag is obviously a reference to reverb, apparently, in Sweden – which is where developer Johan Sundhage is based – röv translates as ‘butt’. I suspect ‘Butterb’ might not have been quite so helpful a title for musicians searching the App Store….

Flying through space

Like Klevgränd Produktion’s other iOS music apps, the user interface is clean and somewhat quirky. The centrepiece is the arc-shaped area where you can arrange your delay lines. Each delay is represented by a single line with two circles positioned along its length. You create a new line by simply tapping on the central ‘+’ icon and then dragging away from this. As might be expected, the direction of the line controls the stereo position of the delay effect so, if you want to create some interesting stereo delay effects, R0Verb can certainly let you do it.

A simple, two-lines delay treatment with the delays panned fairly hard left and right.

A simple, two-lines delay treatment with the delays panned fairly hard left and right.

The length of the line essentially controls the length of the delay; use shorter lines for more of a reverb effect and, if you want distinct repeats, then stretch the lines out further from the central hub. If you need more resolution while doing this, there is a horizontal ‘zoom’ slider positioned under the right-bottom of the arc… just slide to taste and you can zoom in/out on the delay line view.

The rest of the settings for each delay line are controlled by the two circles/blobs and. The size of the inner blob controls the gain (volume) of that delay line with a larger blob indicated a louder echo. The outer blob controls the feedback/decay level; a small outer blob means fewer (or even just a single) repeat while larger sizes generate multiple repeats.

While the length of the overall line controls the timing of the repeats, you can also adjust the pre-delay time (the time before you hear any repeats) by where the inner blog is located along the delay line. Positions closer to the central hub give shorter pre-delay times and visa-versa.

As shown in the various screenshots, the colour of the blobs can also vary and this indicates the setting for the high-shelf filter. This can be used to adjust the tonal properties of the repeats, leaving then tonally bright or, if you prefer, rolling off some of the high end for a warmer, more natural, result.

The colours of the blobs give you feedback on the high-shelf filter setting.

The colours of the blobs give you feedback on the high-shelf filter setting.

Adjusting all these settings is pretty straightforward but requires you to select one of the four editing modes using the four buttons located top-right. The ‘arrow heads’ icon allows you to move the blobs themselves while with the ‘x’ icon selected, you can delete a delay line. Selecting the icon with the various vertical lines allows you to adjust the gain and feedback/decay setting; simply tap on a blog and drag left/right to see that blob grow or shrink in size. This is perhaps the only minor irritation I found with the workflow as, occasionally, I found it a bit tricky to tap on the smaller blobs accurately (particularly as your finger initially masks exactly where you are tapping). However, the ability to zoom in/out on the display does help in this regard.

Finally, the ‘curve’ icon button allows you to adjust the high-shelf filter setting. Again, you simply tap on a blob and drag away to change the setting (colour) of the blob.

With all these operations, you can act on a single blob/delay line or, if you simply tap on an empty part of the arc display and then drag across an area containing delay lines, you can select as many lines as you wish. Once selected, any editing operation you undertake is applied to all the selected delay lines.

In terms of other controls, you get a large wet/dry dial and a simply, but effective, post-processing EQ (located bottom-left). Here you can adjust the gain on three bands – low, mid and high – for further tailor the tonal properties of the app’s output.

You can select multiple delay lines and apply edits to all of those at the same time.

You can select multiple delay lines and apply edits to all of those at the same time.

The other neat feature – well, neat if you like to just experiment and see what might get thrown up by accident – is the Randomizer. In fact, this is not totally random as the various sliders in this small panel allow you to suggest some broad settings and, when you hit the ‘circle arrow’ icon/button/thing, R0Verb will then create a patch that at least bears those broad characteristics in mind.

There is, of course, also a preset system so if you create some treatments that you like you can archive them for later recall. The app is supplied with a few presets to get you started. These are good and the Bright Ambiance and Nice Hall presets demonstrate this is an app capable of producing some genuinely impressive conventional treatments, but a few additional built-in presets wouldn’t be a bad thing. Maybe that’s something for a future update?

R0Verb comes with a useful set of presets but a slightly expanded selection might be nice....

R0Verb comes with a useful set of presets but a slightly expanded selection might be nice….

Lost in space

From a technical perspective, R0Verb performed very well, used either via Audiobus or, as I would tend to work in a recording context, when used via IAA. In my case, I set the app up as a send effect via IAA within Cubasis and it worked well when applied to all sorts of different source material.

The only ‘issue’ I encountered was the one that applies to lots of apps when used via IAA; if I let the system stand for any length of time not doing anything, Cubasis and R0Verb would seem to lose communication with each other. Obviously, R0Verb is not alone here…. Otherwise, it worked very well indeed and the only other ‘feature’ I thought I might like to have seen was some sort of input/output indication.

R0Verb behaved very well within Audiobus during my own testing.

R0Verb behaved very well within Audiobus during my own testing. State Saving is also supported.

In terms of the sounds… well, I’ve no complaints on that front and I have to say I was surprised at just how good R0Verb was for conventional reverb or delay treatments given how unconventional the control set it. That said, if you want to get more experimental they you most certainly can and I had all sorts of fun exploring the combination of a simply drum track and some dubby-style echo treatments with repeats panned to different parts of the stereo field.

Having these 50 delay lines does give you some very precise control over how your reverb and, in particular, your delay effects sound. However, that control does come with a slight cost in that to exercise it, you have to set each delay line up individually. Unlike a standard delay or reverb unit where you might pick a preset and then just dial away and three or four key settings to get the end result, here you could spend quite a lot longer adjusting the various parameters of each delay line.

R0Verb also worked well within Cubasis via IAA (although the usual IAA quirks still apply).

R0Verb also worked well within Cubasis via IAA (although the usual IAA quirks still apply).

You do, of course, get the excellent Randomizer and the ability to apply changes to multiple delay lines at the same time but this is obviously where a few extra presets as starting points would come in handy for new users. That said, R0Verb replays that extra time and effort very well and there are things you can do here – and a precision to the spatial effects that you can create – that I’ve not seen in any other ‘spatial effect’ before, iOS or otherwise. ROVerb will take you to (virtual) spaces that you have never been before.

You might have to hand-craft your reverb/delay treatments a little bit more with R0Verb but the results can be well worth the effort.

You might have to hand-craft your reverb/delay treatments a little bit more with R0Verb but the results can be well worth the effort.

In summary

While Klevgränd Produktion don’t really do ‘conventional’ audio effects, this is more to do with the parameters they provide you with and the means by which you access them rather than just in a sonic sense. In the case of R0Verb that is illustrated perfectly; the control surface is both novel and very effective… but the app can deliver some excellent – and very conventional sounding – reverb and delay treatments. Explore all the options however – and that requires a little investment in time to tweak the various delay line controls – and you can get as far ‘out there’ as you might care to do so.

Even though I already own a bunch of iOS ‘spatial’ effects apps and my usual DAW of choice Cubasis includes competent effects of this type also, I’d happily find a home for R0Verb as well. At UK£2.99, this is an absolutely brilliant little app and, while I might not choose it as my ‘main’ conventional reverb/delay duties, as one of my additional tools in my ‘spatial’ toolkit, this would be an easy a decision as I made in a long time.

R0Verb is quirky, interesting and creative. If you want a somewhat different approach to creating reverb and delay effects, then this app is a very good way to get it. Highly recommended.

ROVerb multi delay-line space machine



 

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