With version 5, Altiverb, the original convolution reverb for the Mac, has leapfrogged the competition – setting new standards for both realism and ease-of-use. A convolution reverb combines a dry input signal with an impulse-response measurement that was originally recorded in a real acoustic environment – creating a much more realistic reverb effect than standard digital reverberation processors.
Altiverb 5 comes with an excellent set of impulse responses including many famous recording studios, concert halls and lots of useful ambiences for post-production. Instructions and additional software are included to let you make custom impulse responses from your favourite room or hall, or from your favourite outboard gear, microphones or guitar amps.
Previous versions offered limited control other than to shorten the reverb time. Altiverb 5 offers many more control parameters and has great new features that make it the friendliest to use. The largest knob controls Reverb Time, the Size knob adjusts room size, and the Reverse Reverb button reverses the reverb tail. Buttons underneath let you trigger percussion, vocal and instrumental sounds to test the reverb to see whether it suits. Engaging the Auto button triggers the last played test sound whenever you adjust a parameter or switch impulse response.
In the area below, four buttons let you switch the sets of controls to the right of these according to function. Damping and Gains includes low-, mid- and high-frequency damping controls – plus gain controls to let you adjust the amount of direct sound, early reflections, and the reverb tail. Stage Positions lets you place your audio source at a particular spot in the sampled room. EQ lets you tweak the bass and treble response of the wet signal, and the CPU Meter shows how much processing power Altiverb is currently using.
Just one complaint: when changing presets, the wet/dry mix control always resets to wet. If only it would stay where it was last set... Other than that, I can strongly recommend Altiverb 5. The Impulse Responses are better than any I have heard elsewhere. The Stage Positions feature can be used to create convincing stereo images of sampled orchestral sounds by positioning each instrument as it would appear on stage. And Altiverb 5 is the best I have used with Pro Tools for 5.1 surround.