U-He - Uhbik-A

Uhbik‑A is a purely algorithmic reverb, which is actually a pleasant change from the current glut of convolution reverb plug‑ins. Even when the latter give you the choice of a wide range of 'real' acoustic environments, sometimes an algorithmic reverb just seems to feel better for some tasks.

Uhbik‑A works by combining early reflections with a plate‑like algorithm to give a unique sound. The parameters available are relatively self‑explanatory, with all of the usual control that you would expect from a reverb, and three modes of operation. The manual describes these as follows: "Open is probably the best choice for subtle ambience, while the direct model may be more suitable when used up‑front. Small is predestined for smaller rooms with prominent early reflections and a relatively short tail.” Rather than being simple tone controls, the bass and treble parameters set the relative decay times of the bass and treble frequencies of the reverb signal.

In use, Uhbik‑A can sound very varied, as a quick run through the included presets will show you. It can do everything from muted ambiences and bright, lively rooms, through to pseudo‑doubling effects ('Opener' is a nice example of this) and on to those shimmering and glossy reverbs that seem to make vocals drift on forever (have a listen to 'Snow Dome' to illustrate this). I tested Uhbik‑A on a variety of sources, from percussive sounds and vocals through to acoustic and electric guitars, and even big and lush synth pads. The one thing that really stood out for me was how well the resulting sounds blended into a mix. The reverb managed to give the sounds an added third dimension without actually detracting from the source sound and, in this respect, Uhbik‑A achieves exactly what it sets out to. When you listen to the sounds in isolation, they might not sound like real acoustic environments, but when you hear them in context, they really do come to life, in a subtle and characterful way.

I do have a couple of complaints, though. The first is that some of the presets are a little heavy‑handed, something which is also true of the other plug‑ins in the suite. I expect they were set up in this way to really demonstrate what the plug‑in is capable of when taken to extremes, and they do, but manual tweaking of the parameters may be needed to achieve results that work in your mix. The second, and perhaps more serious complaint is that some of the controls glitch when you apply very fast and large parameter changes. The worst culprit for this is the pre‑delay control which, when changed from minimum to maximum quickly while a signal is being processed, emits a buzzy noise for a split second. To be fair, this probably isn't something that you would do on a regular basis anyway, but it is something that needs looking at nonetheless, and fixing in a future update.