Thank God It's Free - Ep. 04

Valhalla Supermassive - Free Reverb/Delay Plugin

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Hey, welcome to the fourth episode of "Thank God It's Free," our weekly series where I show you the best free plugins to edit your samples.

Today I'm going to show you a great free reverb delay plugin called "Supermassive."

This free plugin was created by Valhalla DSP, a famous plugins company founded in 2008 by Sean Costello

An aside: Sean founded Valhalla DSP after he lost his job. He taught himself JUCE (an open-source, cross-platform C++ application framework) and created the Valhalla code library from scratch on the kitchen table. 🤯

You can download "Supermassive" here. 👈 (once clicked, scroll down to the bottom of the page.) 


In the following video, I used it on a couple of samples from our sample pack, "Physical."

Below you can find a comprehensive overview of every mode and control to understand how to get the most of this plugin. 💪


MODES

"Supermassive" has 14 reverb/delay modes:

Gemini: This is the most “conventional” of the Supermassive modes. It has a very quick attack time and a natural exponential decay. With the DENSITY parameter at maximum and WARP at 50% or more, you can get very smooth reverbs from Gemini. 

Turn down the DENSITY control, and the reverbs will become less dense as they decay away, which is nice for pointillistic effects.

Hydra: This mode has a relatively fast attack time and a very lush and long exponential decay. The Hydra mode is very sensitive to the DENSITY parameter. With DENSITY at 0%, Hydra can sound like a fairly simple echo. 

Turn up the DENSITY, and the echo density rapidly increases towards a complicated reverb/echo structure. The modulation can be very lush in Hydra.

Centaurus: A mode with a slower attack time, a shorter decay time, and a bit of “sustain” to the reverberation. The attack time in Centaurus is tied into the FEEDBACK parameter, with higher feedback values resulting in a faster attack (and longer decay). 

This slower attack can be used with lower values of WARP to create echoes that slowly fade in and out. Turn up the WARP parameter, and you have a reverb that slowly fades in, and hangs in space for a while.

Sagittarius: A reverb/echo with a very long attack time, depending on the setting of FEEDBACK. With FEEDBACK settings less than 70%, Sagittarius will slowly fade in and fade out over a similar time period. Turn up FEEDBACK higher, and things will fade in more quickly and decay more slowly. 

Sagittarius can be viewed as having a fair degree of sonic “mass” or inertia: slow to get going, slow to go away. It is perfect for creating echoes that fade in over time, or massive slabs of reverberation with higher WARP values.

Great Annihilator: Similar to Centaurus, but more massive. Slow attack with a fair amount of predelay and super long decay times

Andromeda: A super massive variant of the Sagittarius mode. Very slow attack with a fair amount of predelay and decay times that can range into thousands of seconds.

Lyra: A more compact celestial object. Quick attack time, long decay time, and very low echo density. Even with DENSITY at max, Lyra spends a lot more time in the “echo” domain than the “reverb” domain. 

This can be really nice for spacey echoes that gradually diffuse over time. 

Capricorn: A larger version of Lyra. Quick attack time, long decay time, and a medium-size bowl of echo density. Useful for pointillistic reverbs, as well as for lush chorus effects. 

Large Magellanic Cloud: A mode that can have very long initial delays with DENSITY set to zero and the potential for looping delays or huge reverbs. The DENSITY control allows for extremely sparse reverbs when at 0% or dense lush reverbs when set above 60%. 

Large Magellanic Cloud can be viewed as a cross between Centaurus and an oversized variant of the Lyra mode.

Triangulum: A delay mode that can act as a looper, as a gigantic lush reverb, or as a repeating delay with independent control over the individual repeats and the overall decay time. 

With the Triangulum DENSITY control at 0%, the result will be repeating echoes at 8X the displayed DELAY setting. DENSITY settings greater than 0% will introduce diffuse echoes at shorter delay lengths that "fill in" the space of the longer echoes.

Cirrus Major: A lower density reverb/echo mode, with a mysterious pattern to the initial echoes. Ideal for sparse multitap delays, spacious echoes, and cold 80s reverbs.

Cirrus Minor: Similar to Cirrus Major, but smaller and less dense. Strange repeating echoes, low initial density, significant predelay before the reverb. 

Turn up the size, turn down the density, and let the echoes evolve over time. Or crank up the density and turn down the size for a perfect mid-80s digital room reverb.

Cassiopeia: A reverb/echo algorithm that has a fast attack and initially sparse echo density but can build up into massively dense and long reverbs. The Density control is very sensitive on Cassiopeia and can be used to create lush reverbs by itself. 

Setting Warp to 0% will result in a repeating echo pattern every 4th beat, which is useful for rhythmic delays and looping.

Orion: The larger version of the Cassiopeia algorithm. A reverb/echo that has a fast attack and initially sparse echo density, but can build up into massively dense and long reverbs. The Density control is very sensitive on Orion, and can be used to create lush reverbs by itself with a very long decay. 

Setting Warp to 0% will result in a repeating echo pattern every 8th beat, which is useful for rhythmic delays and looping. Strange resonances can be audible at some settings.


CONTROLS

MIX: Controls the wet/dry mix of Supermassive. 0% is a completely dry signal, 100% is only the reverb/delay signal, and values in between mix in different amounts of the reverb signal. 

Click on the MIX label above the control to lock/unlock the MIX control at the last value selected. This is useful when browsing through presets or for using Supermassive on a send (when you want it set to 100% wet).

WIDTH: Controls the width of the reverb/delay output of Supermassive. 100% is maximum width, 0% is mono, and values less than 0% will reverse the left and right outputs. 

Some of the Supermassive sounds will spin around your head from left to right; setting WIDTH to -100% will reverse this direction.

DELAY: Controls the length of the longest delay line in the feedback delay network in milliseconds. Depending on the MODE and the WARP setting, you may or may not hear audible echoes at this setting. 

The Delay Sync combo box allows you to choose whether the delay is set in milliseconds or as a factor of the project’s tempo.

WARP: Affects the lengths of the delays in the feedback delay network relative to the DELAY setting. This can be used to transform a sound from simple echoes to resonant echoes and smeared repeats, all the way to lush reverbs.

FEEDBACK: Controls the amount of feedback around the delays in the feedback delay networks. Larger values will result in longer decays. For some of the MODES, the FEEDBACK setting will also affect the initial attack time of the sound.

DENSITY: Controls the perceived number of echoes in the output.

MOD Rate: Controls the rate of the delay length modulation in Hertz. This controls a multi-phase sinusoidal oscillator for lush chorusing and ensemble effects.

MOD Depth: Controls the depth of the delay rate modulation. The depth also varies as a function of the MOD Rate, so you can have faster modulation without getting “out of tune.” 

A mod depth of 0% will result in a “drier” sound and will also make some of the WARP artifacts more audible.

EQ High: Controls the cutoff frequency of a -6 db/oct low pass filter that processes the output of the feedback delay networks. Useful in reducing the amount of high frequencies in the signal.

EQ Low: Controls the cutoff frequency of a -6 db/oct high pass filter that processes the output of the feedback delay networks. Useful in reducing the amount of low frequencies in the signal.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me at federico@keep-it-sample.com. 🤘

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