By Dr David Smith
Acon Digital has a well-earned reputation for producing highly efficient audio processing software. In my experience programs such as Audio Lava and Accoustica 7 load almost instantly and are highly responsive in use. The user interface is typically well thought out and intuitive and the help files are exemplary. Indeed you can learn a lot about audio theory from working your way through the various help files.
I was amazed to discover several years ago that Acon Digital had released a new plug-in called Deverberate. This was audio magic to me because it enabled me to instantly remove unwanted reverberation from files recorded in very resonant environments. Sometimes reverb can be fantastic – at other times it can be a real problem because it can distract from the mood of a piece of music, or especially an over echoey voice track.
In the past reverberation was something you just couldn’t fix. Deverberate changed all that and I wish I had been able to use it over many years when I was stuck with interviews recorded in large halls and other locations that were way less then ideal. Deverberate had two great things going for it: it worked really effectively, and it was a steal at around US$100. There are other plug-ins that can reduce reverberation but they come as part of much more expensive software packages.
Not content with achieving this deverberation miracle, Acon Digital have recently taken the game up another significant notch withy the release of Deverberate version 2. It’s simple enough to state what Deverberate 2 does: according to the help notes it targets early reflections and late reverberation separately in two different algorithms.
Reverberation is a complex beast, which is partly why it took so long to develop ways to reduce or remove it. Deverberate 2 separates out early reflected sound returning within the first 50 milliseconds from those arriving later. Each of those two groups of reflections can then be dealt with in separate processing engines, all in real time. Sound simple? As a concept maybe, but the underlying mathematics must be dazzlingly complex, and yet it works – brilliantly.
The interface is similar to that of version 1 but now adds new Early Reflection controls which are just three buttons: Learn, View Band Controls and Activate.
The procedure is straightforward. Press the Learn Button to allow the software to get a handle on the size and nature of the early reflections, then press the next button to see the frequency band controls that allow you to determine how much of the early reflections will be removed. Finally the activate button, which is only available once the learning phase is complete, allows you to toggle early reflection processing on and off.
As with all Acon plug-ins, you can easily adjust the ratio of wet to dry signal and you can do A to B comparisons quickly and easily. Any settings you find useful can be saved to the preset list. Indeed the presets are a great way to get started, then you can tweak these to suit your project and add them to the preset drop-down.
The supplied presets are:
- Boost Hall reverb
Reduce hall reverb and
Reduce room reverb
Click on one of them to reveal a menu that allows you save or load your own user presets.
Deverberate 2 is a significant advance over Version 1. It is much more powerful and flexible and yet remains inuitive to use and very reasonably priced. I have found the Reduce Room Reverb preset to be really useful in situations where I’ve recorded an interview in a large room with lots of reflective surfaces. It is almost uncanny to hear the voice lose reverberation instantly and sound close and intimate, as though recorded in a sound booth or small studio. I regard Deverberate 2 as a real audio life saver and one that I keep close to hand. It can make great interviews, slightly spoiled by too much reverb, really classy and I love it.
Supplier: Acon Digital
RRP: US$99.90 for the full version or US$49.90 to upgrade from Version 1