Field Test: Voxengo Pristine Space Reverb Plug-InAFFORDABLE, 8-CHANNEL NATIVE CONVOLUTION EFFECTS 8/01/2004 8:00 AM Eastern
Voxengo's Pristine Space (MSRP: $139) is an 8-channel, native PC VST convolution reverb plug-in with extensive routing capabilities and several latency options that allow full operation in nearly any system. Instead of using proprietary formats like other impulse reverbs, Pristine Space uses single stereo (or mono) reverb impulse samples recorded in standard .WAV format.
After downloading Version 1.1 and impulses, I installed Pristine Space in my Cubase SX 2 home system and a large Nuendo system at the studio with no problems. These are demos, so when you purchase, a registration number is provided. The impulses are archived as RAR files and were made using Voxengo's Impulse Modeler program; check it out at www.voxengo.com/imodeler.
Pristine Space opens up in a large GUI divided in half horizontally. The upper half shows a wave representation of the reverb convoluted from an impulse and loaded in the currently selected slot. There are eight separate slots available to hold impulses; just think of slots as banks or folders of impulse files.
The upper portion of Pristine Space's GUI has knobs for length and offset to cut the loaded impulse file or reverb decay time, gain for reverb level and delay for setting pre-delay time. The Reverse button reverses the impulse for a backward reverb, and A-Gain, or auto-gain, maintains the same reverb level when loading and auditioning different impulses.
Rather than offer complex and difficult ways to use impulse transformation and editing, Pristine Space allows for more musical, envelope-driven nondestructive envelope editing. Directly above the slot-selector buttons are six envelope-enable buttons. You can superimpose any or all six different envelopes over the length of the reverb's decay time by clicking and dragging a blue-colored break-point curve. The options are volume, stereo width and stereo pan, lowpass and highpass filters and an equalizer.
Any envelope curve can be copied, linked to or used by another envelope, and envelopes are stored within a preset with the slot configuration and impulse files used. You can load, copy and A/B presets. Presets also store information for routing and mixing in Pristine Space.
The bottom half of the GUI has an 8-channel mixer with solo, mute and wet/dry controls for each channel. All three controls can be linked together if you are using many slots/impulses for the same giant reverb. Inputs and outputs 1 through 8 are designated here. Pristine Space is bundled with seven mixer-routing template presets with no impulses or envelopes associated with them.
I would suggest using at least a 1GHz PC or faster to get the most out of Pristine Space; my 800MHz Celeron PC ran four convolutions at low-quality settings with boggy operation and little CPU resources left. Latency and quality are trade-offs that you can temporarily change at any time to facilitate smoother system operation during other CPU-intensive times such as recording. On the studio's 3GHz monster, it flies with no problems while running multiple convolutions at the highest-quality settings and many tracks and plugs.
I loaded slots one through four with four different impulses and ran two stereo reverbs in parallel for a very luxurious reverb sound. I also configured one reverb to drive another by just selecting a convolution instead of a send input for the third slot. Now that's one dense, thick reverb! With the facility to run four stereo reverbs at the same time, my goal was one instantiation of Pristine Space for all of the reverb needs of my mix.
Cubase SX 2 and Nuendo do not provide individual sends to two or more reverbs from the same channel or multiple return channels. Such capabilities might be included in the next version of these programs, but for now, Pristine Space can only be used as an 8-channel surround reverb if you set it up as an insert effect on a surround channel or on a master bus. Voxengo says that Pristine Space should work in any possible multichannel configuration such as Audio Mulch, which supports routing for four separate stereo reverbs. For more information, check out Audio Mulch's Website at www.audiomulch.com.
To make your own impulses is a fun feature that will find favor with sound designers everywhere. For example, I struck two drumsticks in my bathroom and recorded it in stereo. I removed the initial hit (but you don't have to) and trimmed the reverb tail to about one second of audio. Load this into Pristine Space and you've got the sound of that bathroom for a reverb. I also tried a single snare hit that, due to its short duration and spectral content, ended up sounding like a tonality or coloration but not a reverb. The possibilities go on forever. I'm convinced that this new wave of processing — brought on by faster, more powerful computers — is here to stay. Jump into Voxengo's Pristine Space — you'll love it!