If you have Slate Digital's Everything Bundle, you'll be familiar with LiquidSonics, the maker of VerbSuite Classics, one of the included plug-ins. LiquidSonics’ latest plug-in, Lustrous Plates, is also included in the Slate Bundle. Unlike VerbSuite Classics, which is only available through Slate Digital, Lustrous Plates can also be purchased as a standalone from LiquidSonics for $149.
It's certainly a challenge to release a plate reverb into a market that already contains Universal Audio Plate 140, Waves Abbey Road Plates, SoundToys Little Plate and Valhalla Plate, to name just some of the excellent competitors it faces. However, I have a sense that Lustrous Plates is going to carve out its own space (no pun intended) in the plate reverb field, thanks to a couple of factors: First, being associated with Slate Digital gives it a lot of visibility. Second, and more importantly, it sounds great and offers a lot of sonic versatility.
Lustrous Plate contains seven plate "types,” which are algorithmic variations of modeled hardware plate reverbs. The seven are named Chrome, Silver, Steel, Rhodium, Beryllium, Corbomite (not a real element, but fans of the original Star Trek will remember it), and Iridium. Each has a distinctive sound, which makes Lustrous Plates quite versatile.
In addition to the different flavors, there are plenty of adjustable parameters, which are organized under two different tabs, Reverberation and Equalization.
Under the Reverberation tab, one of the most consequential controls is the Reverb Time Damper, which governs how much the plate will resonate. Low settings cut the resonance sharply, changing the sonic character significantly.
The Frequency Dispersion parameter controls how the plates transmit different frequencies and is governed by some physical factors of the modeled plates, such as size, pickup position, tension and more. It gives you subtle control of frequency response and can even be modified by several choices in the preferences.
You also get a Pre-Delay control that lets you choose between time settings and rhythmic values based on the song tempo. Major kudos to LiquidSonics for the inclusion of the latter. Why more reverb plug-ins don't offer a tempo-based pre-delay option is beyond me; it's so useful.
Speaking of useful, you get a stereo Width control that's continuously variable between full stereo and mono. Also included are Modulation controls, Rate and Depth, which are not something you'd find on a hardware plate reverb but allow you to dial subtle variations into the sound.
Pressing the Equalization tab reveals a separate set of controls, which includes Low and High Cut filters, and semi-parametric Low and High band EQ knobs.
One of the Preference choices in Lustrous Plates is between Dark and Light GUI themes. Although the color scheme is irrelevant to the sound, it is a nice option to have.
I've only had Lustrous Plates for a day or so, because it just came out this week. As a result, I haven't had a chance to use it extensively in mixes. However, I'm loving the way it sounds on everything I've tried it on so far, including drums, vocals, guitars and synths.
The fact that it doesn't try to emulate a specific classic hardware plate (or plates), but instead offers so many plate-sound variations is an advantage, in a way. Rather than trying to sound like a particular piece of gear, it takes a more generic, but highly flexible approach, and gives you the control to shape the sound as you see fit for your mix. Between its smart feature set and excellent sound, Lustrous Plates has what it takes to be a significant player in the plate reverb plug-in market.
LiquidSonics offers a full, 14-day demo, so you can check it out for yourself.