Reason 8.3 released, bringing convolution reverb into the mix

Reason 8 owners can start twiddling with features such as a new version of RV7000, expanded accessibility for the Browser, and improved zooming in version 8.3, which was released today.

The headline update sees a convolution processor installed into the RV7000 reverb module (now RV7000 mkII). Impulse Response files can be dragged and dropped from your OS or Reason's browser. From there, the usual changes can be made (size, length, damping, EQ, gate etc).

WAV files are the predominant format, but we've also tried it out with AIFFs, M4As and MP3s

Propellerhead is supplying a few Impulse Response files to use with RV7000, but there are plenty of online freebies (see below.) WAV files are the predominant format, but we've also tried it out with AIFFs, M4As and MP3s. Anyone with Altiverb-style dual .L and .R files should use the left signal (the sweep).

Other modifications in Reason 8.3 include the Browser being made available in detached windows, zooming with the Z key, and Zoom to Selection.

Reason's automatic update facility, launched as a part of version 8.2 in April, should see the software update download automatically for users of the software. To find out more about the update, head to the Propellerhead Software website.

How convolution reverb works

Early reverb units used physical springs or huge metal plates to create multiple sonic reflections, which would then be recorded. 1976 saw the introduction of the first digital reverb processor, in which the input signal would be subject to multiple short feedback delays, simulating the multiple paths a sound can travel to reflect from multiple surfaces in a real room.

Users could dial in the 'size' or 'decay time' of a virtual space, which would have an effect on the timing and density of the delay lines employed by the processor. This can be seen easily in 'the old' RV7000 in its main display, which plots the delayed signals by time and amplitude.

But convolution reverb is different. Instead of mathematically 'creating' a space's characteristics, a convolution reverb quite literally samples a space and 'recreates' it, imprinting that captured space's characteristics onto your sound. The first convolution reverb to make it to market was the Sony DRE S777 (above).

Impulse Responses

An 'Impulse Response' file is, basically, a recording of a loud impulse or sine-wave sweep in a space. When this file is loaded into a convolution reverb, it 'convolves' the reverberant signal and uses it as a template to apply that space's 'reflective profile' as an effect. You can even make your own IR of your favourite spaces (your bath, your nearest forest, a disused sweatshop, etc).

Impulse Responses have been made for classic gear such as amps and tape

Once the technology had been nailed down for creating DIY convolution reverb signals, it was only a matter of time before people realised that there was far more to sample and imprint onto a signal. As well as wacky spaces and environments, Impulse Responses have been made for classic gear such as amps and tape, and there have been some even more leftfield applications.

Convolution coming to Reason could be an interesting way for users to simulate different listening environments for referencing - we hope to see some cool IR packs and other usages coming up in the Propellerhead Shop.

Check out these links to just a few of the web's free impulse response libraries to get started using RV7000 mkII.

- Guitar and Bass amp impulse responses
- Huge collection of natural spaces and assorted reverb sounds
- More sampled spaces at various resolutions
- Voxengo's reverb responses
- Dubbism's various reverb responses
- Echothief - geographically marked, thoroughbred American IRs
- Fokke van Saane's eclectic library