Moulton Laboratories
the art and science of sound

Dave reviews a reverb unit on a computer card.

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NuVerb: Why, It's Virtually a Reverb!

I've been looking forward to NuVerb for a while. Such a device is a central ingredient in my fantasy recipe for a virtual studio that lives in a little digital box inside my my desk. When I heard Lexicon was coming out with a reverb that would live on a card in a Mac I was really excited by the prospect.

Well, it's here. I've spent about a month living with it, have used it for several projects, have poked and prodded it at length, even measured it's reverb times with a TEF analysis system (now that's a learning tutorial and a half!). I don't think I ever want to give it back.

Bottom line: it does A Lot. More than I've been able to explore, more than I can discuss in this review. Turns out it's not just a reverb, but a fairly substantial multi-effects processor. Happily, it sounds terrific. It has a great GUI (Graphic Users Interface, for you analog Luddites), plus some really well thought-out control and automation capabilities. Lexicon has done themselves proud. Is it perfect? Well, not exactly. We'll get to that later.

What Is It?

NuVerb consists of a circuit board that fits into a NuBus slot on your basic Macintosh computer, a couple of floppy discs worth of software (including a diagnostics package) and an AES/EBU connecting cable that splits out into XLR male and female connectors for hookup to your basic stereo A/D and D/A converter. And you get a really decent manual.

From here on, you're into Macintosh-land. If you understand this stuff, fine. If you don't, NuVerb probably isn't for you, because this is where it lives and works. Anyway, when you get it all hooked up and working (not a very arduous process, but subject to the continuing arcane mysteries of the Apple Operating System), you launch NuVerb and you get two basic small screens of information. One is the so-called Default Library of patches and the other is a so-called Hot Palette, five controls for whatever five elements of the currently selected patch the editors of that patch (or you, as the case may be) felt were most useful. More about the Hot Palette later.
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