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Focusrite FAST Verb review

The AI-powered Collective plugins branch out into reverb

  • £5.99 per month for 15 months
Focusrite FAST Verb
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

FAST Verb is great for AI-generated ‘natural’ reverbs or far-out creative tweaking, but it has some weak spots in between these two poles.

Pros

  • Great for instant ‘natural’ space.
  • Tempo-locked and reversed effects are a lot of fun.
  • Clear, very well-designed interface.

Cons

  • Artificial and Balanced AI modes are less effective.
  • Not the best for large hall reverbs.

MusicRadar Verdict

FAST Verb is great for AI-generated ‘natural’ reverbs or far-out creative tweaking, but it has some weak spots in between these two poles.

Pros

  • +

    Great for instant ‘natural’ space.

  • +

    Tempo-locked and reversed effects are a lot of fun.

  • +

    Clear, very well-designed interface.

Cons

  • -

    Artificial and Balanced AI modes are less effective.

  • -

    Not the best for large hall reverbs.

Focusrite FAST Verb: What is it?

Focusrite launched its plugin arm The Collective earlier this year with a trio of FAST-branded plugins aimed at making bread-and-butter mixing processes quick and accessible. Those first three plugins covered EQ, compression and – in the case of the most interesting of the three, FAST Reveal – spectral ducking. Now the company has added a fourth tool to the FAST range, FAST Verb.

As the name suggests, this new plugin is all about reverb. As with the previous FAST tools, one of the headline features here is the analysis tool powered by Sonsible’s AI tech. Simply play some audio into the plugin, hit Learn and the AI will suggest a reverb preset for you based on what it thinks will work best. To help this process, users can define a source type – from a list including drums, vocals, keys, guitar and more – and then tailor the reverb style more by choosing between Natural, Balanced and Artificial options.

Reverb is an interesting effect to apply this kind of approach to. While it would be a misnomer to say there is a definitive right or wrong way to apply EQ or compression, it’s certainly true that there are broad principles that define a standard way to treat certain instruments with each of those effect types. Reverb often comes down to taste as much as anything, as well as a balancing act with everything else going on in your mix.

Focusrite FAST Verb: Performance and verdict

In terms of the AI suggestions, FAST Verb’s results were best in Natural mode. It’s great at generating subtle reverb effects you don’t really notice until the plugin is disengaged – the kind that can add a realistic sense of space and depth to, for example, a DI’d guitar or synth. Suggestions in Balanced or Artificial modes could at times sound unnatural without being overtly creative.

Focusrite FAST Verb

(Image credit: Future)

That said, beyond the AI tool, FAST verb has some great features that make it a deceptively handy creative effect. For one thing, the interface is excellent, offering a clear visual representation of the main reverb parameters that responds dynamically to the output signal. This main interface lets users adjust the size, position and pre-delay by dragging and extending/shortening each stage. In a particularly nice touch, these settings can be locked to project tempo, which makes it great for creating extreme, rhythmic spatial effects.

An advanced view brings up sliders to adjust reverb colour, monophonic bass cutoff and a high-pass filter. The best tools, however, are the Reverse, Bounce and Freeze modes, which can adjust the movement of the effect and create some really wonderful, unnatural digital reverbs. They sound particularly cool on percussive sounds when in tempo-locked mode.

FAST Verb excels at either instantaneous ‘natural’ verbs or far-out creative effects

What FAST Verb excels at then, are either instantaneous ‘natural’ verbs or far-out creative effects, but it’s at its weakest when used for applications in between. We’d certainly still turn to other reverbs for, say, big hall reverbs or ambiences that need to sound huge without losing their realism. Still, what FAST verb does well isn’t quite like anything else on the market, and those capabilities are undoubtedly worth the price

MusicRadar verdict: FAST Verb is great for AI-generated ‘natural’ reverbs or far-out creative tweaking, but it has some weak spots in between these two poles.

Focusrite FAST Verb: The web says

"FAST Verb does exactly what it sets out to achieve: you can set up good‑sounding, musically appropriate reverbs that don’t suffocate your mix, quickly and with minimal fuss."
Sound on Sound

Focusrite FAST Verb: Hands-on demos

The Collective

LNA Does Audio Stuff

Jacob Restituto

Focusrite FAST Verb: Specifications

  • PRICING: £89.82 as a one-time purchase or £5.99 per-month for 15 months. Also available as part of the FAST Bundle for a one-time cost of £269.82 or £17.99 per month for 15 months
  • CONTACT: Focusrite / The Collective
Si Truss

I'm Editor-in-Chief of Music Technology, working with Future Music, Computer Music, Electronic Musician and MusicRadar. I've been messing around with music tech in various forms for over two decades. I've also spent the last 10 years forgetting how to play guitar. Find me in the chillout room at raves complaining that it's past my bedtime.