We made Aaltoverb after hearing from people who wanted to use the reverb from our synthesizer Aalto as a standalone effect. Aalto’s reverb is meant to sound good as part of Aalto, but like the spring reverbs in our favorite vintage synthesizers that inspired it, it’s not at all flexible. Our focus as a company is on instruments, tools for performance, so we thought: what features would a performance reverb have?
We've already mentioned Aaltoverb’s most remarkable trick: you can smoothly change the size of the virtual space that the sound is reverberating in. This results in in pitch shifting that is reminiscent of what tape delays do when the speed changes. But instead of a single speed, the shift applies to the whole acoustic space, vibrating “air” and all. So a giant room can turn smoothly into a small and natural sounding chamber, and then into a tiny and very unnatural resonator. With longer decay times, weird spring-like beasties can be found along the way.
The decay control works in tandem with the size control to set an accurate T60 (the number of seconds it takes for a sound to decay by 60 decibels) for any space, even the weird ones. And at the top of its range, this decay time jumps to infinty as Aaltoverb’s freeze function is seamlessly faded in. Freezing results in a truly endless wash of sound without audible loop points. It's great for ambient performance, making room tones, and hopefully some things you’ll do that we haven't thought of yet.
Like its neighbors, the tone dial also give you more control than meets the eye. It's not the tame EQ a typical reverb provides. In the middle of its range, right near 1000 Hz, it does have a subtle and transparent effect that’s good for tweaking a mix. But beyond that it gets much more drastic, like the isolator in a DJ mixer. At the low end, it muffles everything to an outside-the-warehousey boom. And the dramatic lift at the high end can fade a whole track “up and out” or add a real sizzle to vocals.
There are no presets. Instead, just a few dials that invite you to navigate through a whole pocket universe of sounds.