Excellent Reverb - but not without issues
I purchased Altiverb 7 for Windows 7 (64) specifically for creating my own binaural impulse response (IR) reverbs, and am certainly thrilled to have a new powerhouse convolution reverb in my arsenal. Convolution reverb captures the “impulse response” of real spaces and has a realism and complexity missing from other algorithm-based reverbs. A leader in this field, Altiverb has also taken steps to address the only major criticism of convolution reverb -- the static nature of convolution reverb -- by adding an optional algorithm-based reverb "sheen" on top of the IR-based reverbs.
In my use so far, the results with Altiverb have been excellent, rewarding and fulfilling. But there are a couple quirks with the software that I hope Audio Ease will resolve.
1. The first issue is a nuisance and a bit of a time waster. When demo-ing different IRs,(reverbs), it's always helpful to start-and-stop playback within the DAW to hear the tail of a reverb fade and then quickly switch to different IRs and do the same. But Altiverb’s IR browser (which is required to change reverbs) does not "stay on top" when starting-and-stopping the DAW (I am using Nuendo). Each time I want to stop playback, I need to first make the Nuendo program window active (either by clicking on the Nuendo transport or by clicking anywhere in Nuendo to be able to use the spacebar), but then the Altiverb browser vanishes requiring me to click on the Altiverb plug-in window again to make it active which brings back the IR browser so I can then select a different IR. Very irritating. I have seen this issue fixed with other brand plug-ins before, and hope Audio Ease will deal with this bug very soon.
2. This is a really weird issue and it took me a while to find a work around. When you have created your own IR WAV file, you can ONLY drag-and-drop the file onto the plug-in. Believe it or not, there is no way to "browse" to the file’s location on your computer (that is sooooooo strange!!!). Drag-and-drop appears to work wonderfully in the video tutorial using a Mac, but on Windows, Altiverb vanishes as soon as any other window outside of the DAW is active. So when you open Windows Explorer to locate the IR WAV file you have created, and that window is then active, Altiverb vanishes and there is nowhere visible to drop the file. It took me a while to solve this problem, and I am now getting better at dragging the WAV file half-way from Explorer, then selecting "alt+tab" to activate Nuendo (which brings Altiverb back) while still right-clicking the file “mid-drag,” and then finally dropping the file onto the plug-in. Is that crazy or what?
As I said, the reverb in Altiverb is top notch. Yes, it seems a costly plug-in for a reverb as we have all become accustomed to the availability of pretty good yet inexpensive reverbs. And yes, Altiverb is not the only kid on the convolution block. But Altiverb exudes quality justifiable of the cost. And for those with specific needs such as needing unique spaces for post, or a passion for rare space, or in my case, binaural space, Altiverb may be the best (and in some cases, the only) choice.
The founder of the program seems obsessed with the sound of space and with gathering ever more IRs from around the world. I respect that, and I believe this obsession shows in the quality of Altiverb’s reverbs. I certainly have no regrets.
Unfortunately, there has been no answer from Audio Ease to my post-purchase email about the issues described above, which is disturbing -- when a company only replies to emails before purchasing, it may create the impression that you're not a priority once they have your money. I personally don't think this is the case, and suspect rather that this is a small shop and the owner is busy collecting more IRs (which may also explain the remaining niggles).