If you’re not familiar with Valhalla DSP plugins, then you either just started recording yesterday, or you live under a rock. For the last 13 years, founder and head reverb and delay algorithm mastermind, Sean Costello, has been putting out some of the best sounding and most widely used plugins available. From the massive list of famous musicians and producers that are believers of his reverbical prowess to the fact that you’ll find all of his plugins in just about every recording studio around the world, it’s obvious he makes some of the best sounding plugins out there.
On the Valhalla DSP website, Costello talks about his obsession with digital signal processing algorithms and his immense passion and desire to produce immaculate sounding reverbs. His passion, combined with a background consisting of over ten years of experience, are the ingredients that allow him to create some of the best and most highly regarded reverb and delays.
If you mention the name Valhalla to producers, you’ll almost always be met with a resounding nod of approval, usually accompanied by a few kind words delivered in an excited tone. Not only are they practical, intuitive, and easy to use, but they are also incredibly affordable– all of their paid plugins are just $50. If you can’t afford something regardless of how fairly it’s priced– Valhalla DSP is generous enough to offer a few plugins for free to anyone that knows how to click a link on a website. That’s right; not only is Valhalla giving it away for free, but they also aren’t asking for anything in return, not even an email address or a follow on social media. It is a truly admirable way of marketing and an incredible asset to producers and audio engineers.
Valhalla’s second free plugin, Supermassive, takes reality and throws it on its head. Costello thought it was silly to only focus on realistic sounding algorithms. Before Supermassive, his primary goal had been to preserve the natural characteristics of reverb that you’d find in real environments. Realistic reverbs are familiar to our ears, but then he started thinking ‘what about delay lines that didn’t and couldn’t exist in the real world?’ In walks, Valhalla Supermassive.
Now let’s get into what exactly this new plugin is all about. According to Valhalla’s website, Supermassive is based around feedback delay networks and designed to create reverbs and delays that sound massive. Feedback Delay Networks consist of a set of delays and a feedback matrix through which the delay outputs are coupled to the delay inputs.
Supermassive includes all of the features you’d expect in a standard delay but what really sets it apart from the pack is the Warp control. The Warp knob allows you to change the length of the delays in the network relative to the set delay time. The more you increase the warp value, the more delays in the network spread out. The results can range from simple echos, resonant delays, smeared reverb tails to massively lush reverbs. Another unique parameter in Supermassive is the density value. The density works by altering how the delays are mixed together with each other. 0% density means that the delays are completely parallel and not mixing at all. As you increase the density, the more the delays will be mixed together with 100% meaning each network is being completely mixed with each other. 100% density usually yields a more familiar conventional sounding effect.
As with all Valhalla plugins, there is a built-in LFO that’s used for modulation, allowing users to create unique chorus and flanger sounding effects. The mix lock feature is nothing less than genius and something that should be built into all plugins; this feature allows you to set a mix percentage and lock it in so as you scroll through presets, it stays the same. If it was up to me, there would be a control lock feature for every parameter of every plugin.
On top of all of the previously stated features, there are eight different delay/reverb modes that offer different characteristics and flavors.
- Gemini: Fast attack, shorter decay, high echo density.
- Hydra: Fast-ish attack, shorter decay, low to high echo density (depending on the DENSITY control setting)
- Centaurus: Medium attack, longer decay, medium to high echo density (depending on the DENSITY control setting)
- Sagittarius: Slow attack, longer decay, high echo density
- Great Annihilator: Medium attack, very long decay, medium to high echo density (depending on the DENSITY control setting)
- Andromeda: Slowest attack, very long decay, very high echo density
- Lyra: Fast attack, shorter decay, low echo density
- Capricorn: Fast attack, shorter decay, medium echo density
There are so many unique new sounds and textures you can create with this one of a kind plugin… and it’s free! It’s a no brainer, go download this plugin right now! Supermassive is available for Mac or PC in VST/AU/AAX formats.