A reverb for the biggest of spaces and still spatially accurate: Polyverse Comet

You have convolution reverb and algorithmic reverb plug-ins. Polyverse’s Comet is a purely algorithmic reverb with controls that enable you to automate its settings and morph from one reverb preset into another. The reverb plug-in that I consider to be the golden standard for reverb in 2D and beyond is NUGEN Audio’s Paragon, a convolution reverb (based on Impulse Response) with the capability to re-synthesise for non-existent spaces. Why am I mentioning this? Because Comet comes very close to Paragon’s sound if you tweak the former to match the latter.

Whenever I try out a reverb plug-in, I compare it to Paragon, which means that I try to recreate and match up a Paragon reverb in the other plug-in and vice versa. It’s a good way to see how much control the other plug-in gives me and how accurate it is in terms of decay, delay, artefacts, etc.

That’s what I actually did with Comet too. Until now, I was yet to find an algorithmic reverb that comes close to Paragon’s quality, so I was truly surprised to find that Comet is very near to Paragon in terms of spatial accuracy. If you create, let’s say, a cathedral reverb in Comet, you can make the results to sound very close to that same cathedral reverb in Paragon. Although it will require more tweaking, for an algorithmic reverb, that’s no small feat. Comet’s results actually differ in one area only: reverbs always sound a bit brighter than Paragon’s, even when you turn the corresponding dial all the way to dark.

Comet’s interface is easy to grasp and very efficient, although it looks as futuristic as Supermodal’s. There are not that many parameters to worry about as in Supermodal: pre-delay, diffusion, and the size and decay are the most important ones. Hi/Lo damp sliders let you dampen the sound of the highs and the lows and colour adds brightness or darkness. Comet allows you to create reverb for a smallest size of one cubic centimetre all the way up to a space of a whopping 1 cubic kilometre.

Those “limits” are so vast that you can hardly call them that, which is why I was doubly surprised to find that even if you dial in very high values for size, decay and pre-delay, Comet will not end up creating any disturbing hiss sounds or, worse yet, sound muddy in the reverb tail. It all keeps a wonderful clarity, which is exactly what most users want from even the most massive reverbs they create.

Unique to Comet — as far as I know — is that you can have up to five different reverb presets loaded and morph between them with a controllable glide time. The switching itself is done with notes on your MIDI keyboard. On my system this never worked, no matter what I tried. Then again, it’s not always practical, either as the assigned keys might interfere with your playing. But that’s no worry: you can assign a MIDI controller to the switching behaviour. That does imply you will only be able to cycle through the five preset slots, not jump to any particular slot. In Logic Pro X, though, all of Comet’s parameters can be automated, including the jumping from any preset to any other.

Comet’s controls are in tune with other Polyverse Music plug-ins. You get the ability to control the effects with MIDI and with CV. For MIDI you need to set up the plug-in on an AU MIDI-controlled track and sidechain your audio or digital instrument track into Comet. The CV input makes Comet interact with a sidechain track acting as a modulator.

Comet retails at $149 directly from the Polyverse website or affiliate retailers.

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