Prior to the fall of the Berlin wall, the Teufelsberg listening tower in Berlin was run by the NSA with the main objective of intercepting and processing any Soviet and Eastern Bloc communications as part of the ECHELON intelligence gathering network.
A couple of years ago, Balance Mastering recorded impulse responses at the facility with great care and mastered them to be useful in a wide variety of situations. Finding an opportunity to approach the towers and record the impulses was tough, not to mention having to climb and squeeze through a tiny gap to reach the uppermost tower to enable anyone to incorporate a piece of Cold War history into their music and audio productions. Six quite different variations were produced and available for use, but as impulse responses, they were only useful for convolution reverbs.
So it’s great news that Balance Mastering have made the impulse responses available to all as a VST in Windows 32/64 bit, Mac AU/VST and Linux 64 bit versions for free on their website.
If you’re looking for a flexible and customisable reverb then this isn’t the reverb plugin for you. However, it is very easy to use with 6 excellent and unique reverbs with outstanding sound. I’ve used the impulse responses in the past and I’m really pleased that Balance Mastering have made these more readily available as a plugin, it’s a very useful reverb to have available.
The interface has a very clean, minimal design with a slider to select the reverb impulse; mix; gain; A/B compare and preset save/copy/delete functions. Each of the reverb types has its own characteristics – type one is a large space with a big echo and slow release; type 2 is a large space but less echo; type 3 feels similar but is a bit darker; type 4 has a strong bass presence, an enclosed sound; type 5 is similar but more expansive; type 6 has an enclosed sound with large echo and short release. The effect doesn’t come with any presets but to be honest you don’t really need them because there’s only 3 controls to adjust and you can of course save your sounds as presets once you’ve created them.
The demo track below shows a simple chord progression with no reverb on the first chord and then each reverb type applied to successive chords. I’m not sure this highlights the full sound potential of the effect so the second track uses a spoken vocal phrase with no effect and then each reverb type in turn.
I’ve also created an EP using multiple instances of the reverb effect, embedded at the top of this post. The tracks use Ephemere (Inear Display) with Outer Space (Audio Thing); Sounds from my ‘Kalipheno’ sample pack in the Hollyhock grain sampler each processed with Incipit (Inear Display) and Teufelsberg Reverb. Two of the tracks also feature drum and piano loops from the Terry Grant Dark Dub Odyssey sample pack by Loopmasters.