ROB PAPEN RP-VERB 2

The long over­due se­quel to 2009’s for­ward-think­ing hit re­verb brings re­versibil­ity, deeper mod­u­la­tion and more to the party

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Eight years ago, the orig­i­nal RP-Verb marked Rob Papen’s first foray into ef­fect plug­ins – the com­pany been all about in­stru­ments up to that point. It scored 9/10 in 146’s re­view, im­press­ing us with its deep sound de­sign ca­pa­bil­i­ties and slick, con­tem­po­rary sound.

RP-Verb2 (VST/AU/AAX) ex­pands and im­proves on its pre­de­ces­sor in al­most ev­ery depart­ment, and adds a cou­ple of major new features. The sized-up in­ter­face bris­tles with even more con­trols than the al­ready-laden orig­i­nal, and as be­fore, it looks rel­a­tively com­pli­cated for a re­verb plugin but is ac­tu­ally quite easy to nav­i­gate when ap­proached sec­tion by sec­tion.

Con­ju­gate the ’Verb

RP-Verb2’s ar­chi­tec­ture is still based on a se­ries of dis­crete pro­cess­ing blocks, and flex­i­ble rout­ing of the in­put sig­nal through them is a key fea­ture of the plugin. Still present and cor­rect are the Early and Late Re­flec­tions sec­tions, the main Re­verb (tail) sec­tion, and the En­sem­ble (a very use­ful six-voice cho­rus), Dis­tor­tion and EQ mod­ules. Both Re­flec­tions sec­tions can be routed into the Re­verb or run in par­al­lel along­side it, while the En­sem­ble sits pre-Re­verb and goes straight to the main out­put with an op­tional par­al­lel feed into the Re­verb; and the EQ mod­ule is switch­able be­tween im­me­di­ately post-in­put or pre-out­put.

Changes have been made to all but the Early Re­flec­tions sec­tion. En­sem­ble now sports a mod­u­la­tion Speed knob, and the Late Re­flec­tions and Re­verb Pre-De­lay are syn­ca­ble to host tempo. The over­hauled EQ sec­tion, mean­while, uses the al­go­rithm from the ex­cel­lent RP-EQ plugin (9/10, 225) and gains a para­met­ric Mid band; and the Dis­tor­tion sec­tion now of­fers a choice of four al­go­rithms (FoldOver, Fuzz, Power and Sat­u­ra­tion), each with an ad­justable pa­ram­e­ter along­side the main Amount knob (eg, dis­tor­tion fre­quency for Fuzz). Ev­ery creatively-minded re­verb plugin should have an in­put dis­tor­tion stage, as far as we’re con­cerned, and RP-Verb2’s is just the thing for adding abra­sive edge and grit.

Un­ex­pect­edly, RP-Verb2 in­cludes ‘only’ ten Re­verb al­go­rithms – a sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tion from the 18 of v1. The new set (three Halls, three

“The over­hauled EQ sec­tion, mean­while, uses the al­go­rithm from the ex­cel­lent RP-EQ plugin”

Rooms, two Vin­tages and two Space Or­bits), rep­re­sents the best from the pre­vi­ous list, though – less is more, etc – and all of them have been re­designed for bet­ter sound and op­er­abil­ity. Due to their min­i­mal ef­fect, we’re told, the Re­verb Colour, Space Dis­or­der and Dif­fu­sion con­trols have dis­ap­peared. Papen and co rec­om­mend send­ing the early re­flec­tions into the re­verb in lieu of the last, but we can’t help but miss it none­the­less.

Mod is in the de­tails

RP-Verb2’s new mod­u­la­tion setup is a major im­prove­ment on v1’s. First, the orig­i­nal En­ve­lope – now called En­ve­lope Fol­lower – has been bet­tered with the ad­di­tion of host syn­ca­ble At­tack, Hold and Re­lease times, and, cru­cially, lib­er­ated from its fixed quin­tet of sin­gle and dual tar­gets. Now, it can be pointed at any two (or more – see be­low) pa­ram­e­ters you like from across the whole plugin, via a pair of Des­ti­na­tion menus. Out­stand­ing.

On top of that, RP-Verb2 boasts two all-new mod­u­la­tion sources – a stan­dard AHR En­ve­lope and an LFO – and a gen­eral-pur­pose three-slot mod­u­la­tion ma­trix, all housed along­side the En­ve­lope Fol­lower at the bot­tom of the GUI.

The En­ve­lope is trig­ger­able by au­dio, MIDI or host play­back, the lat­ter mode made use­ful by the Loop but­ton, which cy­cles the en­ve­lope re­peat­edly when ac­ti­vated. It also has two Des­ti­na­tion menus.

The LFO in­cludes a long list of wave­forms, runs synced or free at up to 27.5Hz, and can also be MIDI-trig­gered. It’s as­signed in the mod­u­la­tion ma­trix, wherein all three on­board mo­du­la­tors and a host of MIDI sig­nals can be brought to bear on the full range of tar­gets. So, you could use that En­ve­lope Fol­lower on five pa­ram­e­ters at the same time, if you wanted to.

The new mod­u­la­tion sys­tem re­ally nails RP-Verb2’s sound de­sign cre­den­tials to the mast. V1’s quick and easy ECS MIDI learn func­tion (still in place, natch) made on-the-fly pa­ram­e­ter tweak­ing and au­to­ma­tion easy enough, but LFOs and en­velopes are much more fun and ‘in­te­gral’ in terms of work­flow and mu­si­cal­ity. Fling­ing the Space Size around with a MIDI con­troller is one thing, but slav­ing it to a synced LFO with the mod­u­la­tion depth gov­erned by an en­ve­lope fol­lower is some­thing else en­tirely. And the trig­gered En­ve­lope is par­tic­u­larly ef­fec­tive for sculpt­ing the dy­namic shape of the tail – a su­pe­rior al­ter­na­tive to a built-in gate.

RP… gee!

RP-Verb2 makes more of ev­ery­thing (well, al­most ev­ery­thing – alas, poor Dif­fu­sion knob…) we al­ready knew and loved in ver­sion 1, and adds to it with some pretty amaz­ing ad­di­tions. The Reverser and mod­u­la­tion sys­tem are the stars of the show, tak­ing what was al­ready one of the finest re­verbs around to dizzy­ing new heights; but the new-found sync op­tions, wicked dis­tor­tion, para­met­ric EQ and En­sem­ble Speed dial are all weighty in­clu­sions, too.

It’s still very mod­ern and ‘dig­i­tal’ sound­ing (yes, even the Vin­tage al­go­rithms), and ob­vi­ously not in­tended as a work­horse re­verb, de­mand­ing more time, ef­fort and sonic in­tent than your av­er­age room em­u­la­tion; but for pro­duc­ers of dance mu­sic, elec­tron­ica and pop, the hy­per-real, scin­til­lat­ing sounds of Papen’s lat­est won’t fail to de­light.

“The En­ve­lope is par­tic­u­larly use­ful for sculpt­ing the dy­namic shape of the tail – su­pe­rior to a gate”

EN­SEM­BLE A six-voice cho­rus ef­fect with two rout­ing op­tions DIS­TOR­TION Four ad­justable sat­u­ra­tion al­go­rithms EQ Based on the RP-EQ al­go­rithm, with para­met­ric mid EN­VE­LOPE FOL­LOWER Can also now be synced to host EARLY RE­FLEC­TIONS Shape the ERs in great de­tail EN­VE­LOPE A trig­ger­able en­ve­lope – great for gate-style ef­fects ECS Ex­ter­nal Con­trol Setup. Cre­ate and store a MIDI map RE­VERB Choose one of ten al­go­rithms and shape the tail LFO/MOD/TRIG Ac­cess the LFO, mod ma­trix and trig­gers as­sign­ments LATE RE­FLEC­TIONS Now syn­ca­ble to host tempo REVERSER RP-Verb2’s big new fea­ture: real-time re­versed re­verb!

RP-Verb2’s nifty new mod­u­la­tion sys­tem cen­tres on the LFO/MOD/TRIG, En­ve­lope and En­ve­lope Fol­lower pan­els

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