Exponential Audio Nimbus Review – Amazing Reverb

Exponential Audio’s Nimbus is about as good as it gets for natural sounding reverb. Admittedly, it’s not as fun as that feeling you get using a classic hardware unit, but if you close your eyes and listen, it is a very realistic effect.

The Interface

Presets-o-plenty. Exponential Audio’s Nimbus is loaded with presets, and you can select a “Keyword” to further divide the plethora of presets into a manageable list. This is great if you know that you need something “Small” or “Large” and if you want a “Plate” or “Hall” type of effect. There are also some more creative ones like “Urban”, “Driven” and “Effect”.

To quickly go through the presets, you can use the arrow keys to navigate and audition each one. While presets are great, you’ll no doubt want to tweak it to your own requirements.

Nimbus Keyword Menu

You can use the “+” button in the upper left corner to double the size of the plugin. This is great if you are working on a 27″ studio sized screen and can barely see the text. I wish more vendors would do this.

Additionally, if you click the T button in the lower right of the meter display, you can set the -db level that the reverb turns off. The concept behind this is, why use CPU cycles to calculate reverb if it’s so low that you can’t even hear it. A really nice feature if you are on the road mixing with a less than stellar laptop.

The interface is fairly similar to PhoenixVerb (check out our review for more detail) but with more options. And if you are moving up from PhoenixVerb, all the presets for that unit are included.

Filter Section

The input filter is really useful. Other reverbs have similar options, but I’ve never seen it this granular. The white line in the meter display represents the input filter. You can select -6 and -12 db slopes for both high and low pass, as well as a band pass or notch filter. This is really useful if you have a lot of bass for instance. Since bass can really get muddy, you probably want to filter out your kick, 808, bass guitar, etc.

Let’s take a look. Here is a house type beat with a Nimbus Medium Chamber. You can hear how there’s just too much on the low end. Applying a -12db rolloff at 800Hz, cleans it up.

Nimbus Input Filter
Nimbus Input Filter
House Beat no Input Filter
House Beat with Input Filter

The Notch Filter is also useful if you have a trouble spot. This example blooms too much around 500hZ. Rather than roll off everything below that frequency, I can set the notch to 500hZ, and adjust the Input Q until it gets rid of enough of that bloom around that frequency.

Nimbus Notch Filter
Nimbus Notch Filter
Trouble around 500hZ
Notched the Input at 500hZ

Just like the Input EQ, there is a Reverb EQ represented with a red line, and early reflection EQ represented by the white line. They both offer the same -6db and -12db hi and low pass filters, along with band pass and notch filter options. For band or notch, a Q knob will be displayed. You can also reduce the early reflection and reverb levels, with all the way left being Off.

Nimbus Early Reflection Filter
Nimbus Early Reflection Filter

See how much brighter or well defined the effect is.

No Early Reflection Filter
Early Reflection Filter at 2kHz

Now this is really cool. By setting the reverb frequency higher than the early reflection, but also turning down the level, you can hear it bounce around a bit more, like a delay. It has an echo effect, and because we rolled off the low end, it doesn’t muck up the mix and make it too busy. It just adds some interest and space.

Nimbus Reverb Level
Nimbus Reverb Level
Reverb set to 3.75kHz and level turned down a bit

Center – Master Controls

The Wet knob allows you to use Nimbus as either an insert, in which case it should be 100% wet, or on the actual track. By adjusting the level down, you can mix the original signal with the reverb, and treat it as though it were on an insert.

The Predelay knob will either say “Time” or “Note” if you clicked on the Temp drop down under the knob. You can adjust the pre-delay by milliseconds, or snapped to note quantities. You can also adjust the reverb time and reverb level.

The Warp button turns warp on or off. This effect is dependent on the preset selected.

By the way, orange underneath the knob signifies that the value has been altered from the original setting, and option-click will return the knob to the default.

Attack

Nimbus Attack
Nimbus Attack
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The Attack page lets you fine tune the reverb attack. First you can select the type of reverb, Plate1, Plate2, Chamber or Hall. The Diffuser size represents the surface material and Diffusion is the amount of this effect.

The Envelope Attack knob sets the shape of the attack, which is represented in the window above. Envelope time is the duration of the attack and Envelope Slope affects the high frequencies in the attack. This will be represented in red on the diagram.

Tail

The tail tab allows you to tweak the reverb tail. The Reverb Size knob sets the size of the “room”. The Xover Frequency acts as a frequency cutoff for for the low end, and the Low-mid Balance sets the time for the low-end so that it is treated differently. The Damp Frequency is essentially the cutoff for the high frequenies, and the Damping factor is the amount for the the high frequencies. It can be nice to educe the reverb in the “Air” band.

Nimbus Tail

One really cool effect is the “Width” slider as it lets you increase or decrease the stereo field of the effect. This can be nice when you are putting reverbs on multiple individual tracks (if using “individual” after the word “multiple” makes sense.) The last thing you want to do is have long and wide stereo reverbs on every track. Most reverb units allow you to adjust the time, so having the width available is a nice, well thought out option.

The Reverb Delay Time allows for you to adjust when reverb starts after the early reflection, and you can choose to sync it to the Tempo. Tail Suppress is a nice feature that compresses the tail if the attack on it is just too strong, and Tail Recovery is like a release. The meter next to it is a reduction meter, akin to what would show on a compressor.

Early

The Early tab allows you to tweak the early reflection. The knobs affect the graphic display to give you an idea of what the curve looks like. Early attack basically alters the slope up or down, while Early Time stretches it out, and Early Slope affects the high frequency drop off toward the end of the reverb, which will be represented in red.

Early Reflection
Early Reflection

The Early Pattern is really cool. It has a PhoenixVerb pattern, four Nimbus patterns, and a Vintage pattern to emulate classic hardware.

Warp

The Warp tab is used to try and get a classic analog sound. The first section is a compressor sections with standard Threshold (when the compression kicks in,) Attack (how fast it takes to kick in) and Release settings. You can choose a soft or hard knee and a scale of 1-10 in between. The amount of Compression to boost or cut also has the option of a hard limiter. There’s a meter to the right to see the amount of gain reduction.

Warp Mode
Warp Mode

There’s also an Overdrive option. You can select the Type, which are Warm 1, Warm 2, Crush and off. The Overdrive Xov sets the frequency below of which the overdrive is applied to. You can also select the amount of overdrive, and the High Passthru lets you adjust the amount of overdrive applied above the crossover frequency.

The Word Size is used to create a more vintage sound and the Warp Trim adjusts the signal level to match the warped and unwarped signals.

No warp
Warp applied
Small Warped Gallery Preset

Final Thoughts

This is a nice sounding, natural sounding reverb, that is CPU efficient. I’ve been using it on a lot of mixes recently. The filters are just awesome. You can really clean up the reverb “crud” with all the tweaking power, allowing you to have cleaner mixes. If you are doing anything that requires “space” added into your mix, this is worth trying. While the warped options are probably on the subtle side, it is a nice bonus to have. Also, try using it 100% wet on the track. You lose the attack of the instrument and are just left with the reverb tails. I find this really nice for adding ambient background sounds to fill in a mix.

If you are considering a purchase, the deal that I used was the Exponential Audio Stereo Reverb Bundle. You get Exponential Audio’s R4, Excalibur, PhoenixVerb and Nimbus for about 40% off.

If the price of Nimbus is a bit steep, check out our review of PhoenixVerb, which is a cut down version for half the price.

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Exponential Audio Nimbus
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