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HANDS ON: Timbral Research Impulsive

Wouldn’t you love to have a rack full of the best vintage and modern reverb processors? We all would! And since most of us can’t, we often turn to convolution reverb, which utilizes a “sample” (called an “impulse response”) of the original reverb (whether a real space or an electronic device). That’s exactly where the brains behind Timbral Research were coming from when they created Impulsive, a new library of extremely high-quality impulse responses and presets for TL Space running Pro Tools LE or HD (other platforms are said to be on the way).

Impulsive contains more than 4GB of impulse responses from 24 different reverberators, ranging from vintage springs to state-of-the-art digital. But in creating those impulse responses, the Timbral Research team noticed that the standard methods for capturing an impulse response (IR) weren’t doing the job all that well. So, they set out to develop a new process, called “Realvolution,” which is now patent pending. Realvolution allowed them to capture much more accurate IRs, though it made the team realize that the sound still wasn’t quite there. Further research revealed that many reverbs used modulation effects, ranging from subtle randomizers to deep chorus, to add motion, spaciousness, and “life” to the reverb tails. Filters were also commonly used to shape the frequency response of the reverbs. So, in order to precisely model the various reverberators, Timbral Research spent countless hours “hand tweaking” a huge number of presets. They used Pro Tools EQ III and Mod Delay to match the “real” reverberator presets, as well as to create presets with all new sounds.No mod or filter

The result is a library of reverbs for Pro Tools/TL Space that is unlike any other. In order to use an IR/preset in TL Space, you first load up the impulse response you want. Then you import a preset, which brings in the EQ III and Mod Delay plug-ins, with the settings already loaded. It’s an elegant solution to a difficult problem. (And it also explains why other platforms aren’t supported yet – all those presets need to be hand tweaked using whatever EQ and modulation plug-ins those platforms provide.)

w filterSonically, Impulsive is stellar. The range of reverberator styles and types provided is excellent (you’ll be able to guess most of the ones that were sampled from the IR and preset names). I went straight to some of the presets that model reverbs I own or have owned in the past, and I was suitably impressed. The presets are right on. Plus, using TL Space, you can adjust the impulse response, and using EQ III and Mod Delay, you can tweak the processing to create new sounds that are specifically tailored to the needs of your project. Just as I rarely use a “factory” preset in a hardware reverb, I found myself customizing these to my needs as well.

But even right out of the box, you’ll be thrilled with the array of ambiences, spaces, and effects that Impulsive brings to the table. If you’re a Pro Tools user (either LE or HD) and you own TL Space, then you’re going to want this library. If you’re using another convolution reverb on Mac or Windows, then the impulse responses will probably work fine for you; you’re not out of luck entirely, though you’ll be missing the presets – so keep your eyes on the Sweetwater and Timbral Research websites for information on complete support for other platforms. Timbral Research has set the bar very high with Impulsive.

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