Hofa IQ-Series Reverb (www.hofa-plugins.de/en/plugins/iq-reverb/)
If you have followed our reviews over the years, you will know that we are big reverb fans. Perhaps it’s a natural phenomenon related to growing up in the 1980’s, but reverb (next to compression) is something that is simply indispensable in the pantheon of mix tools. For that matter, most vocalists would feel pretty lost without a quality reverb in the headphone mix!
The variety of plug-in reverbs on the market today is simply astounding, ranging from emulations of a $39 bucket brigade Radio Shack Reverb to nearly exact recreations of classic hardware units like the Lexicon 480.
While algorithmic reverbs are the champs when it comes to processor efficiency (and the ability to provide control over minute variations in sound), convolution reverbs (to our ears) are the heavyweights when it comes to modeling real space.
Convolution reverbs are certainly less common in the marketplace (with Audioease Altiverb probably being the most famous) and with few exceptions they are bunched towards the higher price category among reverb plug-ins.
The IQ-Series reverb from German developer HOFA changes that equation quite a bit as it has a relatively low cost (149 Euro) compared to other convolution reverbs.
A low price, however, doesn’t mean that the IR library is inferior! To be honest, the IR library is of equal (or perhaps greater) importance to the actual application. A convolution reverb can only be as good as its library. Well, perhaps that’s not entirely true, as most convolution reverbs (including IQ-Series) can import IRs that you create, or download.
As an aside, one of the very coolest IR’s that we have heard is the Studio Devices – French Infernal Reverb (www.studiodevices.com), which is a set of IR’s captured using the absolutely insane Publison Infernal Machine. This 1980’s French processor sounds like nothing else…and that’s probably a good thing. While it’s not the device that you want to use every day, it is just the thing for bringing a little 1980’s insanity to your mix.
Back to the IQ-Series reverb! The included IR files cover a pleasingly wide gamut, from small (almost claustrophobic) spaces to cathedral type spaces. Most of the time, however, we preferred spaces that were in the middle range in terms of size and decay time.
While convolution reverbs are more limited in terms of their feature set, don’t think that you are unable to modify the IR’s to suit, as this is not the case at all. In addition to predelay, mix, and three band control of reverberation time, controls are also available for modulation and gating, which can drastically alter the sound of the reverb. It’s also possible to change the apparent position of the “listener” in the virtual space. This feature could prove to be very useful in post production applications.
At the end of the day, IQ-Series reverb is good enough to use on a solo source (as opposed to something that you would just bury in a mix), and that is the gold standard of reverbs.
During the time we auditioned it (with Magix Sequoia 13) we never encountered any freeze ups or other software gremlins.
As a free (limited time) download is available for the asking on the Hofa site, there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t give IQ-Series reverb a try for yourself!