Review: Eventide SP2016 - Legendary Reverb
Eventide has released a SP2016 Reverb plug-in based on their history-making SP2016 rack-mount effects unit. The original hardware unit was and still is a go-to reverb for many great engineers, but this plug-in gives you access to the algorithms used in the original in a much cheaper and more convenient format. Eventide has released a Reverb 2016 rack-mount unit that recreates the SP2016 hardware, but that sells for almost $2,000. Every so often a used SP2016 will pop up online, and sell for around $800 or more - so the plug-in gives an excellent value compared to both hardware options at only $79 on sale. You can purchase Eventide's SP2016 on Eventide's website.
SP2016 GUI - Classic Design
Just so you know, i've never used the original unit so I can't make a direct comparison based on feeling - but looking at images of the original online Eventide stayed very true to the original layout. One of my favorite characteristics of this reverb plug-in is its simplicity in use. Previously my go-to reverb was Waves RVerb, but often I found it to have too many controls to be inspiring. In RVerb I would get bogged down in the controls instead of just quickly being able to dial in a good sound. Sometimes you want that extra control, but sometimes you just want to be given only the necessary controls.
One of the major advantages of hardware gear (aside from the sound) is that you are inspired by the layout and design. Moving the knobs and using your ears to judge the sound instead of dozens of fancy meters is a much different experience than what modern software reverbs will give you. Eventide has done an excellent job at recreating that hardware vibe in software, so you can still let your ears be the guide.
Eventide SP2016 Features
Lets take a look at SP2016's features on its own right, without considering its legendary status from the hardware version. SP2016 features a lot of control without bogging you down in low-level details like many modern algorithmic reverbs. The plug-in features 6 different algorithms:
Vintage Stereo Room
Modern Stereo Room
Each of these give quite a unique response, with the vintage options being slightly darker than the modern options. Switching to vintage plate will take away several controls, but it gives a very specific sound that would render those other controls unnecessary anyways.
You can set the Decay slider to control the RT60 decay time in seconds, control your space using PreDelay, Position, and Diffusion, and then control the Mix using the Mix knob. There is an EQ section that allows you to boost the low or high frequency content, and control the filter frequency as well. One little gem of a sound I discovered while playing with SP2016 was setting the Decay slider to something like 20 seconds, and boosting the low end to high levels - this causes a very natural sounding feedback effect i've never really heard before in the software world.
SP2016 Sound Demonstrations
I have recorded a quick exploring the sounds video where I play with SP2016 applied to a bell like pluck sound (Array Mbira) and then applied to electronic drums. You can create everything between ethereal ambient sounds, beat-syncopated delay type sounds, and classic drum room sounds.
Check it out:
After falling in love with the longer more ambient sounds SP2016 makes I decided to use it as a playing ground to test out a new Ebow I got on guitar. An Ebow is an electronic tool that creates a magnetic field which oscillates strings on a stringed instrument (normally a guitar) - usually used to simulate a real bow on a cello or violin. Combined with some lush reverb sounds it makes for a pretty dreamy combination.
Check it out:
Time will tell for sure, but at the moment I picture the Eventide SP2016 reverb plug-in becoming my new go-to reverb plugin. The sounds are great and the GUI gives you plenty of control without bogging you down in too many meters or numbers. You just throw this on a track and within seconds you have a killer reverb sound. At only $79 this is a must buy for anyone who records and mixes music.
I give this a very solid 5/5.