A Little History
Tony Visconti is the legendary engineer/producer who worked with David Bowie on several albums. His production style during those years was unique in that they would do atypical mixes. For instance the kick drum in the track “Heroes” is pulled way back at the benefit of the song’s tone and groove. Visconti tracked the bass guitar with a flanger effect to tape despite the typical method of adding the effect in post. Another technique used, and one that would inspire this plugin, is Visconti’s three microphone technique. Visconti placed a U47 in front of Bowie for the main vocal track then placed two 87’s in a large room, one 15 ft away and another at the end of the room. The room they tracked the vocals in was a large hall at Hansa Tonstudio in Berlin.
Fast forward to 2016 and Visconti, along with Tony Angello and the Eventide team, have created the first plugin to emulate that signature “Heroes” reverb sound dubbed the Eventide Tverb. The plugin allows you to place virtual microphones within the signature Hansa hall where Bowie tracked his vocals. The main virtual microphone has a compressor on it for singers with a wide dynamic range at close proximity. The second and third microphones have noise gates that open up when the dynamics change.
The plugin has presets including a “Heroes” preset which emulates the parameters Visconti used for the Bowie track. While the original Bowie track was mixed in mono, there is an option to have all 3 virtual microphones in stereo. This is a really nice feature when using the “3 microphone in a large hall” system. You can drag the virtual 87s to either side of the room and pan accordingly. It’s a really interesting and fun way to incorporate some classic production techniques into your modern mix.
How Does it Sound?
This is an emulation of a production technique so its parameters are very specific to the Visconti session. This could be a fantastic way to get some really unique reverb elements in your mix. Most notably the subtlety of the reverb. Visconti, Eno, and Bowie were known for doing very unconventional things in the studio which is why this plugin has such character. It’s interesting to see and hear how a plugin can be inspiring, especially in a world of endless plugins.
If you’re in the market for a unique reverb, or you’re a huge Bowie fan, this is definitely a reverb plugin worth snatching up. Right now its $149 until May 31st 2016. After that the price will go up so grab it while you can.