When it comes to reverb, most of the time I’m usually happy to choose a preset, tweak the reverb and move on. Simple interfaces will usually keep me coming back time and time again but with fewer parameters comes less control and the big advantage algorithmic reverb has over convolution is fine control over the detail of the reverb sound.
One plug-in I admire but use less than it deserves is the Sonnox Oxford Reverb, which, like most Sonnox products, places control, and responsibility for the quality of the results, on the user. It doesn’t offer an “easy” mode. Just a lot of parameters with which to shape your reverb exactly the way you want it.
In this free video tutorial, I use the comprehensive controls available in the tail section of the Oxford Reverb to change the character of a room mic on a drum recording, changing the sound from dry and mono to live and stereo without imposing a significant change in the size of the perceived space.
The Tail Section Of The Sonnox Oxford Reverb
Reverb Time - From 0.2 to 10 seconds. Frustratingly short for new age ambient producers but I think everyone else will be catered for!
Overall Size- This controls the length of the delays on which the reverb is based. Using this in conjunction with the reverb time you can create anything from small and long tails (a chamber?) through to a large, space with a short RT60. Of course most of the spatial information is provided by the early reflections, which can either be generated by the plug-in or, as in this case, from the source recording.
Dispersion - Controls how quickly complexity builds in the tail. How quickly the texture changes from rough to smooth.
Phase Diff - Used in conjunction with Dispersion. This controls how quickly the sound spreads across the stereo field.
Phase Mod - Subtler than the modulation of delay lines found in some reverbs, this modulates the Phase Diff setting.
Absorption - This controls how quickly HF gets rolled out of the tail in the same way as soft materials absorb HF in a real space.
Diversity - Controls the width of the reverb, at minimum it keeps the tail in the centre of the image.
The Sonnox Oxford Reverb takes a little more time to understand than many reverbs but the results are excellent and you can try it without learning every parameter. It has presets, just like any other reverb, but if you want to get into a deep dive you can tweak almost without restriction.