Reverb plug-ins are a dime a dozen. Great reverbs are also easy to find. But what separates those go to plug-ins from the rest? A few things come to mind. First comes quality, obviously. Second, and this is nearly just as important for most, is ease of use. There's nothing more frustrating than having a great plug-in you have no idea how to use. And when it comes to higher quality software, it's easy to get lost in the complicated jargon that can come along with it. Knowing your basics definitely helps with this, but even then, some parameters just look like another language.
As I said, even great reverbs are easy to find, but high-quality AND easy to use? Not so much. Fortunately, Dutch company FabFilter has come to your rescue. Their latest plug-in, Pro-R carries on the brand's legacy of pro-level sound and simple layout, using musically relevant terms to help make your user experience that much better, preventing massive headaches and hours of Youtube tutorials that take away from your actual producing time. So let's dive in.
If you are familiar with any of FabFilter's other products, Pro-R will feel very familiar. The Retina interface is clean and simple, with only a handful of parameters that have been labeled in easy to understand terms. For example, the Distance knob indicates how close or far the reverb will sound. In fact, they even added those exact descriptions on opposite ends of the scale. Familiar terms are also present, i.e. decay rate and stereo width. But what really separates this reverb from its competitors, is the intuitive and industry-first Decay Rate EQ. This is huge. It looks just like a regular 6-band EQ, but instead of cutting or boosting frequencies, it adjusts the decay time of desired frequencies, giving it a much more organic and realistic feel. Since the decay time of a room varies from shape and space, being able to dial in such a precise.
Mix feels too muddy? Scoop out some of the mid with the eq, and boost a bit of the decay in the higher frequencies. Want to really make the beat of the snare stand out? Throw the Pro-R on it and give the decay a bump in the low-mid. As if this wasn't enough, the plug-in comes with loads of killer presets that can give you a perfect starting point, allowing you to take mental notes on what the pros do. Sure this is how presets work, but the simplicity of FabFilter's products designs makes it much easier for you to understand what is going on. And this reverb sounds good on everything. It can really bring specific elements to life or help gel a whole mix together.
Admittedly, when I first gave it a go, I was underwhelmed. I thought it sounded rather boring and thin. But after taking a few notes while watching their product video, and actually giving it a chance, I'm in love. Dialing in the exact reverb I want is so easy and fun, that after a few uses, using presets doesn't even cross my mind. And if you still need help, as with all other FabFilter software, there is a handy tip menu that gives you detailed information on each function.
This review may feel fairly thin, but that's because the Pro-R is one of those plug-ins that requires less talking and more playing. Normally I'd do a video review, but seeing as the company has already provided a better demonstration than I could, below I've included the video that shows the real power of this wonderful product.
Pros: Professional quality, fun to use, easy to understand
Cons: Honestly, none. It's that good.
Final score: 10/10