I recently wrote a review of FabFilter’s Pro-Q EQ plug-in. Make sure you read that one too as it contains a lot of information about the equalizing capabilities that are also available in Pro-R. FabFilter Pro-R is an algorithmic reverb, which means it is not based on Impulse Responses (IR) of existing spaces. Nevertheless, Pro-R is one of a handful of reverbs I’ve tested that are true to nature and still capable of a massive effect. What attracted me to the FabFilter Pro-R reverb are its one-of-a-kind 6-band Decay Rate and 6-band Post EQ.
If you own Pro-Q or know how to use it, you’ll be greeted with a familiar interface. The learning curve is not steep for anyone, but for Pro-Q users there isn’t any. Pro-R provides for “room models”, pre-delay, decay rate, brightness, detune/chorus and distance/diffusion controls, as well as a stereo width control and a live spectrum graph that shows the reverb decay in real time.
The maximum pre-delay is 500ms, while the Decay Rate knob gives you a 50 to 200% rate increase on the selected room model. The largest room model is a space with up to 10 seconds of reverb, including the tail. With the Decay Rate knob turned all the way up, that’s a massive 20 seconds of reverb — enough to suggest really big spaces.
The decay rate can be adjusted for up to six frequency bands. And this is what caught my interest. An obvious use for the Decay Rate EQ is to make the reverb match a known space better. For example, the factory presets include existing concert halls in the US, Australia and the EU. Together with some tweaking of the Post EQ adjustments, the reverbs you get from these are probably going to match the associated spaces closely.
That means that, if you’re shooting a documentary in one of those but lack live music from the place, Pro-R can help you create something that comes very close due to that Decay Rate and Post EQ. Will it sound as accurate as a convolution reverb with the matching IR loaded? Probably not, but keep in mind that IR’s are usually recorded in an empty room or hall and that the acoustics change when there’s an audience. Ergo, there’s no such thing as a one-on-one translation of the acoustics from the actual experience to a digital rendition.
Combine Pro-R’s Decay Rate and Post EQ and you can bend reverbs to your will and make effects sound pretty harsh or buttery smooth. They are never extremely massive, though, as a good degree of realism is still built into the plug-in. Reverbs that take several minutes to decay are not on the menu; 20 seconds-lasting ones with a high sonic quality are. It all stays within the boundaries of true to nature and not artefact-ridden.
When used for film or documentary audio post-production, you want reverb to make it sound like the recording was done in the context of a location where a scene is being shot. If that scene involves outer space, a truthful rendition would mean there’s no sound at all due to space having no air to vibrate in reaction to a sound source. For such “invented” soundscapes or background music, and while you could get Pro-R to sound out of this world, you’ll need to work harder than with some others, such as Polyverse Music’s Comet or Valhalla’s Supermassive.
For everything else, FabFilter delivers a top-notch reverb plug-in for € 169.
One thought on “FabFilter Pro-R, the massive reverb with natural sound”
[…] It’s the reason that I couldn’t resist reviewing the latest versions of FabFilter’s Pro-Q 3 equaliser and Pro-R reverb plug-ins and see what you can do with the two plug-ins for post-production work such as creating a soundscape, enhancing your soundtrack, etc. (You will find the Pro-R review here). […]