Seventh Heaven sees LiquidSonics taking its Bricasti Model 7 reverb obsession (first realised with Reverberate 2) to its logical conclusion, being a convolution plugin powered entirely by state-of-the-art impulse responses of said legendary and uber-pricey hardware.
It comes in two versions - Professional and ‘standard’ - and we’re reviewing Professional here, with the far cheaper Seventh Heaven covered in Amateur hour.
Built on LiquidSonics’ proprietary Fusion-IR technology - multisampled and interpolatable impulse responses, essentially - Seventh Heaven Professional’s 10GB install comprises 218 sampled presets from the Bricasti M7 v1 and 2. The development goal was to not only perfectly encapsulate the sound of the M7, but also its ease of use and smooth operation, the latter being a particularly pertinent consideration given the comparatively clunky, laggy nature of most convolution reverbs.
The main GUI houses bank and preset menus, and the five most salient controls: Decay Time, Mix, Gain, Very Low Frequency Reverb level (governing the gain of the reverb below 200Hz) and an Early/Late reflections balance slider.
The $69 regular Seventh Heaven offers 30 of “the best” presets from the M7 v1, with a hard drive footprint of just under 500MB. The controls are greatly reduced from those of the Professional version, too, and rearranged. Flanked by Mix and Gain, the Preset knob notches the 30 presets within their six categories. Bewilderingly, the Decay Time is edited via a numeric field that you can type values into (but not drag up and down) or step up and down incrementally using the buttons on either side. It’s jarringly awkward, and we hope it turns into a knob at some point. As well as housing the Early/Late balance and VLF level controls, the pop-out bottom panel boils the Advanced Controls and Master EQ of Professional down to Pre-Delay and Delay knobs, and Low and High cut filters. The metering is similarly pared back, losing the Early, Late and VLF ‘LED’ ladders of Professional, and retaining just the Input and Ouput meters. Despite its cut-down preset list and feature set, Seventh Heaven still sounds totally Bricasti and comes in at a much more palatable price for most. However, the $20 bundle discount for both plugins feels a bit mean - standard should be included with Professional.
While one of Seventh Heaven’s big selling points is the quality of its interpolation between Fusion-IRs as the Decay Time knob is adjusted, each preset presents a menu of certain (usually nine or ten) specific times between 0.2 and 30s (most clustered at the shorter end of the range to optimise for small edits around the original preset time) at which it’s been sampled. Thus, it’s easy to achieve totally accurate recreation at those settings with no interpolation, when required.
Using just the main controls, you can get where you want to be with a well-chosen preset most of the time. However, there’s plenty of tweaking to be done in the Advanced Controls section, which pops out in a separate panel below.
At the left-hand end of the Advanced Controls panel, the Pattern knob sweeps through the M7’s 32 early reflections patterns, defining the number and relative levels of the ERs - all of these are sampled, not emulated. Next to that, Pre-delay (initially dialled in true to each original preset) ranges from 0-500ms unsynced, or synced from 1/64 to 1/4, with triplet and dotted variations.
The echo-generating Delay Time control is also syncable or free-running from 100-1000ms, although it’s here that LiquidSonics ’fesses up to a slight compromise in the simulation, in that the M7’s multi-voice engine isn’t captured literally. Rather, presets that utilise delay are sampled with it included, at their default timings, automatically switching to a separate IR set without delay baked in when the Delay Time is adjusted. It’s an elegant solution, and we can’t imagine anyone being able to tell the difference between it and the real thing unless they’re specifically looking for it.
Even the different low-pass filters used for the ERs and tail are faithfully handled, with the IRs sampled unfiltered and the filters modelled in the plugin instead, controlled with the Reflections and Reverb Roll-off knobs. The Lexicon-style (Bricasti’s two founders are ex-Lexicon) Frequency Dependent Decay Time controls, multiplying the decay times of the Low (shelved from 80Hz to 4.8kHz) and High (200Hz to 16kHz) frequency spectra by 0.2-4x, are also emulated in software. The original band multipliers of each preset are captured in the IRs, though, of course.
Finally, LiquidSonics has bolted on a five-band Master EQ with Low and High cut filters, switchable High and Low shelving/ parametric peak filters, and a parametric Mid band. It sounds lovely and proves very useful, potentially negating the need for a discrete post-reverb EQ. However, occupying a separate tab in the pop-out bottom section means you have to flip between it and the Advanced Controls, rather than the two panels being accessible together, which quickly gets annoying.
Like that of the M7, Seventh Heaven’s library of rooms, halls, chambers, plates and ‘spaces’ (Bath House, Quarry, Scoring Stage, etc) is simply breathtaking in its scope and quality, with that famously organic Bricasti density, clarity and ER cohesion. Equally remarkable, though, is how well presented the whole thing is - the audio breaks momentarily when Decay Time and the LF/HF multipliers are moved, but other than that, it pretty much responds and feels like an algorithmic reverb.
As to which of the two versions you should go for, Professional is much, much more comprehensive and flexible than ‘standard’, as reflected in the price, but the latter is probably sufficient for the majority of non-pro users.
Ultimately, it comes down to how many presets and how much control you feel you need - bearing in mind that, like the M7, Seventh Heaven often just works with minimal or no user input - and what you’re prepared to pay, but the most important thing is that both of them bring the authentic sound of one of the greatest hardware reverbs ever made to the DAW in real style.