It’s a classic: the RV7000 reverb

rv7000

With the RV7000 Advanced Reverb, Reason has finally got a reverb processor on par with professional, stand-alone, hardware reverbs.

This is the first sentence of the RV7000 manual which came with Reason 2.5 back in 2003. And yes it was true: this software reverb sounded nothing like the software reverbs which were available at the time. And even today, 11 years later, this reverb still sounds silky, classy and yummy. It’s still one of the best reverbs ever.

The manual made no secret of the fact that the RV7000 is based on hardware reverbs like the Lexicon 480L, TC Electronic Reverb 6000 and AMS RMX-16:

Long, low, ambient Hall reverb in the TC school of reverbs. Great for lush synth and pad ID sounds.

Inspired by Lexicon 480L, a classic 480 preset. Add HF Damp for darker sound.

Inspired by AMS and Lexicon. Use on anything.

The RV7000 came with many presets which were designed by well known engineers. For example the VOX KB BrtLngHall patch which sounds like the Hall Reverb which was used by Kate Bush (hint: KB = Kate Bush).

Blind test: comparing the RV7000 with a Lexicon 480 and TC Electronic Reverb 6000

Years ago Propellerhead software CEO Ernst Nathorst-Böös held a seminar to people distributing Propellerhead Software products, people from all over the world.  As part of that seminar he did a blind test comparing the RV7000 with a Lexicon 480 and TC Electronic Reverb 6000. The examples were prepared by mix engineer Niklas Flyckt, who recently won a Grammy for his work with Britney Spears. Niklas uses TC and Lexicon reverbs in his daily work and also created some of the presets for the RV7000. This guy knew what he was doing when he was given the task to create fair examples to compare the quality of the three units.

Below you can find the rest of that story. It was copied from Ernst’ blog which is, unfortunately, no longer available:

In the test we asked around 30 people to single out the reverb with the “best quality”, in each example, but left the definition of that term to them. As it turned out, the RV7000 won. That’s insane, after all, this is a software reverb that is only a small part of a USD449 product and it goes up against the reverb hardware giants of this world, costing more than ten times as much. Plus you can use a dozen or more RV7000s on the computer you already have. We knew we were good, but even we were surprised about the results.

The main point is that it was a blind test. The people listening to the examples were not influenced by preconceptions, what they saw, the aura surrounding a brand, or the price. The only thing that counted was what they heard.

I read a lot of music and audio magazines. I read tests of sound cards, mixers, mic preamps, EQs, etc. And I have this nagging feeling that 95% of what I read about what is supposed to be objective information about sound quality is in fact 100% glorified bullshit. Think about it. Have you ever seen an article where the writer wrote “we took this fantastic new AD/DA box and ran a proper double blind test against a shitty old USB audio interface that we had lying around. And boy was there a difference! Everyone in the room could spot the expensive unit every time”?

Doesn’t ring a bell? Not with me either, I don’t even think that text has ever been written. But have you ever thought of why you haven’t read that article? I have.

A friend of mine told me that a well known American musician/producer, a guy that is really, really anal about his studio and his sound, once confessed to him that he had been EQing a snare for a long time, to find the perfect timbre, only to find out that the EQ hadn’t been patched in the first place. I’m not the least surprised.

Sound is difficult and hearing is a very complex phenomenon, influenced by sight, preconceptions and thousands of other things. But most of all, by level. Cheat with level matching and you can fool practically anyone.

In a speaker test I read about, the biggest differentiating factor was what brand of speaker the listeners thought they were hearing, not what they actually heard. I could write for ever about this, but it’s time to come to a conclusion: If you read any, and I mean any statement, about the objective but perceived sound quality of this or that device, software or hardware, and the people haven’t done a comparative blind test (preferably a double blind), then, whatever you are reading is pointless, worthless, meaningless information. Now prove me wrong.

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2 Responses to It’s a classic: the RV7000 reverb

  1. Tony December 7, 2014 at 9:34 am #

    Raapie, where in the manual does it talk about “Lexicon 480L, TC Electronic Reverb 6000 and AMS RMX-16”? I did find the 2 AMS drum verb emulations however, but nothing else … Peace.

    • Marco Raaphorst December 7, 2014 at 10:03 am #

      Look at the patch list and it’s descriptions. “Long, low, ambient Hall reverb in the TC school of reverbs. Great for lush synth and pad ID sounds.” – “Inspired by Lexicon 480L, a classic 480 preset. Add HF Damp for darker sound.” etc.

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