Valhalla Shimmer review: thinking of Eno, Lanois, and ambient sounds
Here’s a perfect little christmas present for your mum. It’s the first commercially available plugin from ValhallaDSP.
It’s called ‘Shimmer’, and it’s a very fun algorithmic reverb plugin with the ability to pitch shift the feedback signal (in several ways). The creator, Sean Costello (already mentioned twice here on ANR, for AudioDamage Eos and his FreqEcho), describes it as a plugin that uses “diffuse delay lines.” Sort of like a bunch of delay lines that you can control how they feedback and reflect with one another. By adjusting a few elements, you can vary the sound from a short delay, to long washed out evolving pad-like sounds, hence the title. There’s several references in the online bumpf to the sounds of Daniel Lanois, and Brian Eno, and I can see why. That ambient evolving pad-type sound that litters their wonderful creative output is fairly easy to approximate with this plugin.
There’s a simple, clean interface, and 9 simple rotary knob controls, Controlling the wet/dry mix ratio, pitch, feedback, diffusion, size, low and high cut, and Mod rate and Depth. Below these 9 knobs are 3 modes – Reverb, pitch, and Color. The Reverb changes the algorithm used to create the delay lines; the pitch mode gives you the option to pitchshift the feedback loop, creating very orchestral-like sounds. And the color mode can switch between bright and dark, with the dark having a sharp cutoff around the 11khz range.
Not fully understanding the maths of this plugin, it’s useful just to dive in and experiment. Helpfully, there’s Sean himself that posts frequently with useful tips and tricks. The November post walks you through all the controls, and gives tips on creating various different sounds. There are other hints and tips around the blog, so explore!
Here’s a couple of tracks – this one is a piano loop with the wet/dry mix moved gradually up from dry to wet, to change the piano sound to a shimmering evolving pad sound.
Here’s a track with the shimmer plugin used in various ways throughout.
This is a really fun plugin to play with. If you’re into ambient music (and you haven’t got already an Eventide rack, the Soundtoys suite or U-he Uhbik), I would head towards saying this is an essential addition to your plugin bank. And you can always try the free demo to see if I’m right.
…If you’re into ambient music, I would head towards saying this is an essential addition to your plugin bank…
- Sounds great
- Easy to use
LOVE IT OR HATE IT
- If you’re looking for something fun to change a sound up, create some nice paddy sounds, this is perfect. Not if you’re looking for quality reverb
- None really, unless you think 50$ is too much for one (quality) fx
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Nice review.. and good demos.. the track has some good stuff going on in it and the reverberated sounds fit well. It reminds me of some liquid dnb of the 2000’s but has that modern vibe to it.
Anyway I have to disagree with the statement at the end with the love it or hate it. It is a quality reverb.. but not exactly for bread and butter reverb use and maybe that’s what you wanted to say… but it’s not just for ambient.. it can do more than just the pad thingy and is more versatile than I initially thought. So definitely not a one trick poney.. and also is source dependent at some more subtle settings…
Head to Sean’s blog to see more in depth controls and usage tips and tricks.. As for me can’t wait to explore this properly with a acoustic instrument 😀
Thanks to Andy for the concise overview and Ford for the helpful follow up!
HÃ¥ller med dig men jag tror nÃ¤stan det Ã¤r Ã¤ndÃ¥ mÃ¤ktigare att fÃ¥ barnbarn. TÃ¤nk att ens son (blev farmor i juli) har bildat familj och blivit pappa…..ja, vÃ¤nta fÃ¥r du se! //M
Vaaa? Jag gillar ocksÃ¥ programmet!! Petter och September Ã¤r grymma Du fÃ¥r titta en gÃ¥ng till innan du dissar pÃ¥ riktigt Elin! ; )Kram!