While the actual Plate Reverb is a box with a remote control, UAD created something that looks more like a rack unit, and it adds in features that the original didn’t have.
The plugin features 3 different plates that were modeled at The Plant in Sausalito. Plates A and B are supposed to model the original EMT electronics and haven’t been tuned. Plate C uses modern Martech electronics and has been serviced.
You select the plate with the 3 position toggle switch, and can adjust the timing by dragging the needle, or using the plus/minus buttons to change by 0.1 seconds up or down. The readout is in seconds, with half a second as the minimum and five and a half seconds the max.
The Input Filter has two offerings, each denoted by the colored text. The black color is the original EMT filter, which only allows for cutting at 80Hz -4dB, -10dB and -16dB. In red is the Martech update which offers 6 shelving frequencies.
Hint: If you really need to roll off some low end, it may be quickest and offer the most control to just use Logic’s Channel EQ to carve out the low end to reduce frequency build up.
Some of the “nice additions” are the Mix knob, which lets you put the plugin inline on the track as an audio FX, and select between dry and wet signal. The width knob lets you go from monophonic to full stereo, and you can pan left to right. (Offhand I’m not sure why I’d opt for those options rather than use the DAW’s panning ability, and choose a mono track if that’s what I was going for, but I’m sure that it could be useful.)
The EQ offers high and low shelf bands that can be boosted or cut by 12dB between 20Hz and 2kHz for the low end and 200Hz and 20kHz for the high end.
The modulation control uses an LFO to try and reduce ringing in some instances, like percussion and sudden endings. You can adjust the rate between 0.01 and 1.0 Hz. And the depth between 0 and 10 cents.
The pre delay is a nice features, ranging from 0 to 250 milliseconds in a logarithmic fashion, so half way is 50 ms. This offers a bit of creative control when “designing the size of your room”.
An alternative option to consider if you don’t have an Apollo, or find the price out of reach, is the Soundtoys Little Plate.
Input Filter on Drums
To see how useful the input filter is, listen to how boomy this Drum track is with the low end build up. Then the original EMT filter is applied at -16dB which is centered around 80Hz. You’ll hear a nice improvement.
But now listen to the newer Martech modification, where it cuts 12dB at 360Hz. It really clears it up, but if you think it clears it up a bit too much, you can always back it off to 270Hz or 250Hz.
Guitar with EQ
This is a clean guitar sound with no reverb applied, and then with Plate A at 2.5 seconds and Width at 100%
By turning on the EQ and putting HI and LO midway, with a bit of cut, it cleans up the ringing a bit to help the mix from getting too muddled.
And remember above when I said that I wasn’t sure why you’d want the Balance to do Left and Right. Well I came up with an instance, well two instances actually 😉
I send to 2 Aux tracks, one panned left and one panned right, with different Plates, timings, and pre delay. This adds more depth than just one instance. I had to cut the low end a bit on the left one. Thank goodness there’s an EQ to do that 😉 I boosted the lower mids a bit on the right.
The following sample will show how the UAD EMT 140 can work wonders to add depth in a subtle way. Just start with Plate B and the default settings. While you can slide the needle, you are better off using the plus/minus buttons to fine tune it by ear. Don’t rely on the visuals.
To demonstrate that it still has an effect even with the pre delay at zero and width at 0, here is Plate A set to the minimum reverberation time of 0.5 seconds.
Here’s the same settings, but on Plate C. It sounds like slightly more reverberation to my ears. Plate C was modeled from an updated and tuned version of the EMT.
This sample is using Addictive Keys and the Close Mic setting. And then the UAD EMT 140 is applied with the Piano Delight preset. Again, it adds a bit of depth, but subtley.
By turning the Pre Delay all the way up, I can get a one time bounce back effect where the repeat is actually louder than the original sound.
Here’s a Trap style beat with a Nexus preset to show the difference of their built in Reverb versus the EMT 140. The EMT 140 has a “dirtier” sound to my ears.
If you have an Apollo, then the UAD EMT 140 Plate Reverb is a must have plugin. Put it at the top of your list. (Also, if you don’t have it and are considering the UAD EMT 250, get the 140 first.) The real EMT Plates have been used on countless hit records, so it’s a proven approach and one that most of us are used to hearing.
Since it’s a plugin (and also offers a Mix knob) and really only uses about 4% DSP, there’s no reason not to park it on every track in your session template and A/B it on every source. Alternatively, since it has Hi/Lo EQ capability to help prevent frequency “build up”, put it on an Aux and send everything to it to create a “space”. It’s most certainly a required plugin if you record vocals.