PhoenixVerb Review

PhoenixVerb, created by Exponential Audio, and since acquired by iZotope, is a clean sounding reverb, excellent at capturing rooms and halls. It is also easy to use and flexible.

Exponential Audio PhoenixVerb
Exponential Audio PhoenixVerb

First off, if you work on a large screen, you will appreciate that you can double the size of the screen by clicking the + sign in the top right. Once clicked, the screen doubles and the button converts to a – sign. This is great if you work in a studio on large screens and have a hard time reading the knobs. And if you have a laptop, the default settings allows it to fit nicely on the smaller screen.

The second nice thing is the navigation. You can search by keyword. So if you know you are looking for a Large Chamber, you can select that from the drop down, but you can also arrow up and down to navigate so that you don’t have to click each item. Additionally, you can arrow left and right to audition each preset.

The third nice thing is the ability to “turn off” the plugin when it’s below a certain sound level. Why have the reverb sucking up CPU to do calculations if it can’t even be heard in the mix. Click the T in the lower right corner of the EQ meter, and you’ll be presented with a drop down allowing you to select -96db for example.

The fourth nice feature is the ability to roll off the top end or bottom end by either -6db or -12db curves, and select the cutoff frequency. You’ll get more precision in an external EQ plugin, but this is a nice quick way to clean up some energy build up while inside the plugin tweaking.

PhoenixVerb Reverb Attack
PhoenixVerb Reverb Attack

The Reverb Attack tab opens up a selection of options for adjusting the attack. First you can alter the reverb type between Plate, Chamber and Hall.

The Envelope Attack is a cool thing to play with to alter the effect. Do you want the reverb to have a strong/fast attack, or a bit of a delayed attack. And the Envelope Time will “stretch” out how long that attack ramp takes, to alter the reverb depth. The Envelope Slope will turn the graphic red as it’s lowered to illustrate the effect of “air absorption” as the reverb progresses.

Reverb Tail
Reverb Tail

To deal with the mud often associated with too much reverb in the lower end, you can deal with it separately. First select the Xover Frequency to set the point that you’d like to split the frequency range in. 250Hz is a good starting point. Then turn the Low-Mid Balance to the left to “turn down” the reverb in that lower range.

The width setting can be used to adjust the reverb tail. It starts out with a generous width, so be careful going wide, but narrowing could be useful to clean up vocals.

PhoenixVerb Audio Examples

Here’s a Pluck with Medium Hall and then Large Chamber applied, with the Mix set to 50%.

Pluck – Dry
Pluck – Medium Hall 50% Mix
Pluck – Large Chamber 50% Mix

To see how it can really bring Choir vocals to life, you can tell that the samples aren’t a real choir with the dry signal, but when applying PhoenixVerb to them, it suddenly sounds more believable.

Choir – Dry
Choir – Vocal Hall on entire mix
Choir – Stone Church on each track

Final Thoughts

PhoenixVerb just sounds good. It’s not based on a specific hardware model. It does Plates, Chambers and Halls. I personally really like the Chambers and Halls on this unit. If you are trying to add space, then give this a try.

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