Baby Audio Crystalline: a crystal-clear classic or filling a narrow niche?
Baby Audio, the creator of TAIP and Smooth Operator, releases Crystalline, a new reverb plugin. Classic and modern algorithmic reverbs inspired the plugin creator. EMT, Lexicon and Bricasti were the inspiration.
What is special about the reverb is the extra dimensions of modulation and sound shaping.
BPM-synced start and end times
Hard-sync the reverb attack and decay time to your DAW’s tempo. Or set pre-delay and decay times the classic way, in milliseconds.
Size sets room size, with separate Length control.
Sparkle emphasises high frequency content.
Width lets you set the stereo image of the reverb from mono to stereo to extra wide.
Resolution sets the complexity of the algorithm from ‘basic’ to ‘pristine’. Higher settings will give you a cleaner reverb response at the cost of higher CPU usage.
Modulation creates pitch variations.
Shimmer makes the high frequencies of the reverb tail decay slower than the rest of the spectrum.
When it comes to instant lushness, Baby Audio Crystalline is the cream of the crop.
Damping is a dual control band filter that lets you remove high and low frequencies in the reverb
Sides is a high-pass filter that removes stereo information from the low end of the reverb
Gate is a noise gate to re-create the classic 1980s gated reverb Phil Collins' drums made famous.
Tone is a tilt EQ that lets you shift the frequency balance of the reverb to be brighter or darker.
Smoothing gradually applies an EQ-curve to address the frequency areas that tend to get cluttered in a reverb-heavy mix.
Transients lets you shift the reverb algorithm’s emphasis to either the attack or sustain part of the incoming signal.
Ducker lowers the reverb signal when the dry/incoming signal is playing.
Reverse reverses the reverb playback.
Freeze takes a snapshot of the reverb when clicked, and holds this snapshot continuously until the button is clicked again.
Dry/Wet sets the mix balance between the dry/incoming signal and the reverb.
Plugin formats: VST, VST3, AU, AAX. Full Mac M1 compatibility.
Baby Audio provided musicmanta with a copy of Crystalline a week before release. I have used the plugin for a few hours to form an initial opinion.
Overall, my impression is positive. Adding Crystalline to synth leads and pads was satisfying. Crystalline's pitch and volume modulations, together with spatial effects, instantly turned boring pads into lush soundscapes.
The question, however, is whether Crystalline can replace my go-to reverbs as first choice. The standard reverbs in my template are Valhalla DSP Vintage Verb, which is priced the same as the Crystalline introductory price. The other standard reverb I use more recently is FabFilter Pro R*. This plugin is much more expensive.
Personally, I would not replace either of them with Crystalline. I found Crystalline best suited to more unusual, moving, rich reverbs. If I want to go subtle, I prefer Valhalla DSP or FabFilter. The main factor for this preference is not just the sound. I also found the interface too playful for standard applications. For example, I missed the ability to see numerically key parameters. They only appear when you hover over the parameter.
Trained in classical and jazz piano, Christof has over 30 years of experience in songwriting and music production. In 2021, he founded musicmanta and is now its Editor-in-Chief. Christof has worked in marketing for 25 years in Unilever and Kimberly-Clark. He is now the Head of Performance Marketing UK for Andrex, Kleenex, and Huggies, leading a team of 10 to create award-winning marketing campaigns, writing effective content, reaching millions of people.
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