Let’s start at the beginning to see what makes it so special.
Some of the first artificial reverbs ever used in recording were created using plates (and springs). And based on their name, they work pretty much exactly how one might think…
Plate reverb comes from a steel plate, under tension by springs, vibrated by a signal sent to it from the mixer via a transducer. This vibration gets picked up by a contact microphone and sent back to the mixer.
But since it’s not technically a “real space”, a plate reverb has some interesting and unique qualities that distinguish it from other types of reverb.
When a sound is projected into a real space, it reflects back off the various surfaces, creating sound echoes, or reverberations (reverb for short). The reverb created depends on how the sound is affected by a room’s various surfaces, including the walls, ceiling, floor, windows, furniture, etc…).
This is where differences become apparent between a room and a plate…
In a real space, these echoes are more discrete at the beginning of the reverb and as the reverb decays, the echo density increases. Whereas with a plate reverb, although the sound can seem more metallic, the speed of sound is much faster in metal than in air, causing plates to have a higher initial “echo density”.
“Plate reverbs have a much more even-sounding and consistent reverb decay, or “tail”, from beginning to end. It’s this rich echo density that not only makes the plate reverb sound so unique but also makes it one of the first options for smoothing out a vocal in a mix.”
The Relab LX480 Essentials plug-in faithfully recreates this very familiar lush and rich reverb sound that made the original hardware Lexicon 480L so famous and one of the most used and loved pieces of gear in recording history.
While some algorithmic reverbs can leave unwanted artifacts that can cause your track to sound harsh, all 4 reverbs on the LX480 Essentials have a flat frequency response that ensures a smooth sound, free of undesired or unexpected artifacts.
All 4 algorithms on the LX480 Essentials have some form of modulation that gives the sound movement. They gently envelop the sound, creating a lush, expansive sensation which makes the sound seem more alive, and less static or artificial.
Let’s listen to an example of how a plate reverb from the LX480 Essentials can enhance and enrich a track when mixing vocals,
Here’s a preset created by 8x Grammy-nominated Nashville-based recording engineer and mixer Joe Carrell, using the LX480 Essentials plug-in.
The reverb sound chosen for this example is the “JC Vocal Plate” preset from the LX480 Essentials by Relab.
In the example, the lead vocal starts off very dry. But when Joe’s carefully created reverb preset is applied, the vocal is immediately brought to life with a warm and rich echoey polish.
“I love plate reverbs on vocals. They can be bright enough to add some excitement, but not dark enough to “muddy” up a dense arrangement.
Start with a decay time between 1.5 – 3 seconds depending on the pace of the lyric. Next dial in the HPF fader (likely between 3k – 8k) to add just the right amount of sheen to match the mood of the song and you have an instantly more polished and professional sounding vocal.” – Joe Carrell
Although the plate reverb algorithm in LX480 Essentials is suitable for many different mix needs, it’s exceptionally great on vocals.
This explains why that sound has been used on so many of music’s most famous recordings.
And not only is the LX480 Essentials based on reverb sounds that generations of music fans have grown to recognize and love, it was also designed to be incredibly versatile and easy-to-use.
With the LX480 Essentials, you can spend less time searching for sounds, and more time creating them.
Want to dig deeper into your reverb?
If you’re the type of engineer or producer that likes to dig a little deeper (OK a LOT deeper!) and wants to have tons of control of your reverb paramaters, you need to check out the LX480 Complete from Relab.
LX480 Complete is a fully-featured reverb plug-in and considered to be the most accurate recreation of the original Lexicon 480L reverbs, including additional features and enhancements that meet the demands of the modern production workflow.