Meris Effects Mercury7
As home computers have become more and more powerful, there has been an inevitable drift away from outboard hardware reverberation units and into plug-in-based reverb solutions. Of course, reverb plug-ins — whether algorithmic or convolution-based, vintage emulations or innovative modern designs — generally offer far more sophisticated and flexible effects than have typically been available with traditional hardware units. They also allow more convenient workflows as settings can be recalled instantly as part of individual song projects, and many parameters can be automated if required. Moreover, with a powerful computer it is possible to run as many separate reverb plug-ins as you like for a project, whereas few project studios have more than a couple of hardware reverb units.
However, recent newcomers to the pro-audio market, American ‘boutique audio’ manufacturers Meris, are challenging that approach with their new Mercury7 DSP reverberation unit. Designed and built entirely in Los Angeles, this single-channel mono reverb module is designed to fit in the ubiquitous 500-Series rack, and provides a very novel take on the traditional digital reverb concept. The name apparently pays tribute to the original seven astronauts who went into space in the Mercury capsule, and the design inspiration was the soundtracks of some classic ’70s and ’80s sci-fi films — especially Blade Runner, and the soundscapes Vangelis achieved using mainly Lexicon 224 reverbs which were dark, creepy, and full of personality!
Although there are just two primary reverb algorithms — based on a traditional plate and a large hall environment — the Mercury7 allows considerable manipulation of these algorithms to create a wide and rich variety of reverberant spaces and effects. It also includes some interesting special effects, such as variable modulations, pitch-shifting, vibrato and auto-swell, so it’s far more than a straight digital reverb; it is a really effective sound-design tool as well. In fact, Meris “strive to create products that are instruments in their own right, rather than just effects” — and that becomes very obvious as you start using the Mercury7.