Space Designer is a new plug-in for Logic that uses a convolution process to produce reverb that is virtually indistinguishable from that of a real room or hall. The idea of recording an impulse response then using this to recreate the sound of a room is similar to the idea of recording audio samples to recreate the sound of a musical instrument. Using a real-time calculation process (convolution), Space Designer merges the input signal with a reverberation sample (the impulse response or IR) taken from any acoustic space such as, for example, a room, hall, or cathedral. The result sounds as if the input signal had actually been recorded directly in the sampled room.
Just as a conventional sampler can incorporate synthesizer-like filters and envelopes to let you ‘shape’ the sounds the way that you want, Emagic’s Space Reverb has filters and envelopes to let you ‘shape’ your own spaces. Space Designer’s volume, filter, and density envelopes can be controlled using its numerical parameter fields. Envelope shapes can be also modified graphically from the screen display.
The user-interface is attractive – making it a pleasure to work with – and Space Designer competes well technically. The filter can be a 6 or 12dB/octave, low-pass, band-pass or high-pass type and, like all Emagic plug-ins, Space Designer supports sample rates up to 192KHz.
Emagic has been busy taking impulse responses from all the popular studio reverb units – although they have slightly coded the names, perhaps to avoid copyright problems. So, for example, Hamamatsu is code for Yamaha, whose headquarters is in Hamamatsu, Denmark is for TC Electronic, Lexington is for Lexicon, and so on. Vintage gear includes a Moog Spring and an old amplifier spring reverb. There’s a selection of synthesized IRs including ‘Endless Space Drone’ and ‘Muffed Gate’, and there are lots of outdoor spaces (woods, fields, plains and mountains) that should keep ambient fans happy.
There are plenty of special effects reverbs as well, such as ‘Black Hole’, ‘Oh My Buffer’ and ‘PulsedFormantMorph’. And you can always record your own impulse responses if you prefer.
Space Designer is an essential buy for Logic users who need realistic reverb and outboard simulations. Space Designer ships with over 1,000 impulse responses – ideal for music producers and sound designers – although the quality is variable. Altiverb has been around longer – about three years – and has fewer, but higher quality IRs. There’s also competition from the new Waves IR-1, which has a much better library but costs more than twice the price.