Is Altiverb worth it?

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touched1
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Is Altiverb worth it?

Post by touched1 » Sun Mar 28, 2010 3:09 pm

I have a pretty good home studio setup, but I am lacking in the reverb department, I have and love a real AKG BX20, and the EMT Plate for the UAD Card on a Mac Pro. I recently played with Altiverb at work, and could not believe how great it was. I was seriously floored. I am considering ponying up for it. I don't need the TDM version, so it looks like I could get it for around $500. Is it worth it? I am thinking yes.

I am a huge fan of "room sound" and I spend more time than I care to admit trying to put direct and close mic'd tracks in some sort of virtual space, it seriously eats up most of my time mixing. And I feel a tool like Altiverb would help me with this.

My main DAW is Ableton Live at home and Pro Tools at work. I own Logic 8, but don't use it a lot. I also have the UAD-2 Duo card (so there are a few nice reverbs for that I have not bought yet). If I did more work in Logic, I could use Space Designer, and I do have regular access at work (not home) to Waves IR-L, but I can see the advantages to owning my own copy of Altiverb.

Again, this would be for use primarily in Ableton Live and Pro Tools.

Give me your 2 cents. Satisfied users? Frustrated users? Cheaper alternatives (for the mac in RTAS/AU/VST format)?

Thanks in advance for the input.

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Post by touched1 » Wed Mar 31, 2010 12:54 pm

I'd really like to hear from some folks who've bought Altiverb and love it or hate.
I'd also like to hear from anyone who thought about it and decided to pass and why.

It's a hefty investment for a verb plug. I have almost talked myself into buying it....

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Post by Gentleman Jim » Wed Mar 31, 2010 1:17 pm

Well... I'll throw my opinion in if nobody else will.

Is it worth $500 to you to have the plug to use with Live? Only you can answer that. Personally, I would spend some time working with Logic if I was in your position. I love Space Designer, but I didn't pay as much for it as my DAW software; which is what you're considering doing.

Since you do have an IR-based reverb already, you might try bringing some stems into Logic and applying the reverb, bounce, and then bring those effected stems back into Live. The reason would be to find out if the room sounds are even credible to you. Yes, Altiverb probably sounds different than Space Designer, but for $500 it would be advantageous to at least experiment.

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Post by touched1 » Wed Mar 31, 2010 4:43 pm

Thanks for the reply Jim.
You are right, "worth it?" is very subjective and probably not the best way to post the question. "Does Altiverb do it for you?" might have been a better title for the thread...

Regarding using it exclusively in Live, that is and will probably remain my DAW of choice for writing, arranging mixing and remixing my own material. I am not too interested in doing this in Logic unless I am working with an actual band and doing a multitrack session, which I never do. It's more likely that I would use it in Pro Tools at work, but not Logic.

I do have limited access to Altiverb at work (I'd have to reserve a room that has the license) so I could spend some time with it that way. The one mix I did using Altiverb, I found the presets so inspiring that it changed the way I looked at my music! That's when I got bit by this "I think I need Altiverb" bug.

But yes, that $500 ticket price is a killer. Prohibitively expensive almost. At least for a user in my position...

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Post by LazarusLong » Wed Mar 31, 2010 4:57 pm

Depends on if you like IR reverbs. If you do, that's the best choice - great impulse library and great control over the impulses. Pretty smooth sounding too. If you don't like IRs, then this is a bad choice. Simple as that.
The truth of a proposition has nothing to do with its credibility. And vice versa.

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Post by fossiltooth » Thu Apr 01, 2010 1:41 pm

Opinion: Altiverb is awesome. Still my favorite IR verb. I've tried four extensively.

Fact: Henry Rollins' spoken word albums are incredible, and we should all listen to more of them.

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Post by touched1 » Thu Apr 01, 2010 2:18 pm

Thanks Justin. Opinions are what I was looking for.
Personally I'd take "My War" over " "Short Walk On A Long Pier", but I guess we differ there. :wink:

I spent some time last night drenching some stems in Altiverb. i still like the sound, but I am a little less hot for it today... I'll spend more time with it in the next week.
The stems I had weren't the best source material, already processed. As Jim suggested, I'll try bouncing out some dry stuff and see how that works for me.

I'd like to hear any other personal opinions of it if anyone wants to chime in.

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Post by touched1 » Thu Apr 01, 2010 2:18 pm

Thanks Justin. Opinions are what I was looking for.
Personally I'd take "My War" over " "Short Walk On A Long Pier", but I guess we differ there. :wink:

I spent some time last night drenching some stems in Altiverb. i still like the sound, but I am a little less hot for it today... I'll spend more time with it in the next week.
The stems I had weren't the best source material, already processed. As Jim suggested, I'll try bouncing out some dry stuff and see how that works for me.

I'd like to hear any other personal opinions of it if anyone wants to chime in.

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Post by Dakota » Thu Apr 01, 2010 3:08 pm

touched1 wrote: i still like the sound, but I am a little less hot for it today...
Yeah, that's what you want to be cautious about. $500 cautious. High res IR reverbs are a revelation the first time you immerse in them... and then for me at least, the thrill wears off over time and the shortcomings become apparent. The "realistic" aspects of good IRs are cool, but there is still something stiff and sterile about static convolution. Putting ever so gentle pitch LFO just before and/or after a convolution reverb can help. As can running the wet signal out through external gear and back in, just for color.

Before dropping $500, maybe scare up some more of the good free IRs and hosts floating around, see if you stay thrilled over time.

I still like re-amping to real rooms, and hardware reverbs better than IRs.

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Post by norton » Sun Apr 04, 2010 3:18 pm

AudioEase is great stuff. Speakerphone's worth it... So I'd bet that Altiverb would not let you down.

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Post by JES » Mon Apr 12, 2010 5:57 am

I love Altiverb and Speakerphone and I love Live. But I find that the combination and Live 8.1.1 is pretty crashy. I suspect it's an issue with Live 8.1 AU implementation that will be fixed, but the big report I sent to Audio Ease got a "it's something in Live, not us" reply from Peter. Which is fine if it's true and Ableton fixes it.

Also, Live audio tracks are stereo only. You can do a fake mono tracks (really dual mono) but you can't run mono IRs in Altiverb in Live because it knows you're faking the mono funk, which may or may not be an issue for you. It was for me with recabinet and some other IRs I like, though recabinet recently released a Live-compatible version.

It may be the case that one could do a kludge with something like Plogue Bidule (which has been rock solid as a plugin host in my limited experiments with it) but I haven't gotten so far with it as to try it in a Live session.

Finally, Audio Ease announced a forthcoming upgrade to Altiverb later this year that will add some of the features of algorithmic verbs. Before you drop a bunch of money on it, make sure you won't have to pay extra for the privilege of upgrading to the current version (they're a decent company, I imagine they will work something out).

As to is it better than other cheaper versions, I don't really know. When I got on board it was the only game in town and updates have been pretty cheap or free for so long I never bothered to look. Part of the value is the huge IR library, as well as the sexy interface. I find a lot of the pleasure in music making is interaction with the tools. Not in a gearheaded way but in the sense of a player enjoying an instrument. Altiverb is great that way.

That said, this is Tape Op, so before you drop big coin, check out the alternatives. A cheaper option was just reviewed in this month's Sound on Sound: http://www.liquidsonics.com/software.htm

--JES

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Post by touched1 » Wed Apr 14, 2010 7:30 pm

Thanks for the helpful reply JES. That's some great insight you provided.
I just got a shiny new box (hello Mr Machinedrum!) so my urge to purchase Altiverb has cooled a bit. But about the time my taxes come in, I'll be thinking about it hard again for all the reasons you pointed out, GUI, library,ease of use.... I think I am sold. I just wish the ticket price was not so high. But the good stuff is rarely cheap.

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Post by Nick Sevilla » Mon Apr 19, 2010 9:57 pm

"I own Logic 8, but don't use it a lot"

Now would be a good time to get your learning hat on.

"Space Designer"

Learn it and save 500 bucks.

Cheers
Howling at the neighbors. Hoping they have more mic cables.

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Post by route-electrique » Fri Apr 23, 2010 5:06 am

noeqplease wrote:"I own Logic 8, but don't use it a lot"

Now would be a good time to get your learning hat on.

"Space Designer"

Learn it and save 500 bucks.

Cheers
+1. Also, it's worth getting those free Bricasti IR's.
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Post by Vogon » Sun Apr 25, 2010 6:57 am

Gentleman Jim wrote: Yes, Altiverb probably sounds different than Space Designer, but for $500 it would be advantageous to at least experiment.
AFAIK, this would be down to the IR's themselves, and the added functionality of the specific plug.
I.e. If the same IR is loaded into two plugs and used without further processing (envelopes, "resizing" etc.) they should sound identical...

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