Review: MeldaProduction MTurboReverb
The most powerful reverb ever made?
From Prague-based MeldaProduction and released in the middle of 2017, MTurboReverb is a far more sophisticated reverb plugin than its somewhat wonky name might imply. Where algorithmic reverbs are generally based on a specific, single algorithm, MTurboReverb has a programmable engine that allows users to design their own algorithms, or use one of the 100 or so individualized preset algorithms.
There are many, many reverbs out there, from ValhallaDSP’s fantastic and affordable line to top-notch recreations from the likes of Waves, Lexicon, and Softube, among others. What sets MTurboReverb apart is its sheer flexibility: it’s a rather dumbfoundingly deep reverb—far too much for some, certainly—but a very happy place for those who love to get deep into the nitty-gritty of their effects chains, and even program their own.
How it Looks
The software is reasonably easy to install via MeldaProduction’s custom installation program (it requires a small license key file that you download from the website and point the installer to). Once installed, the intuitive interface presents presets organized in groups (“Small,” “Large,” “huge,” “Plates & Springs,” “Creative,” “Special,” and “2D”), and it’s generally pretty easy to get around.
The interface provides primary access to the dry/wetness of the mix, early/late reflection ratio mixing, and reverb length; you’re then able to dial down into the details of those reflections, dynamics, stereo width, and more, all from the main page. Each “reflector” has its own page, where the user is able to draw in and even randomize individual reflection patterns. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
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As mentioned, nearly everything is programmable, down to the most granular details and parameters—if you want to program your own reverbs, this is where MTurboReverb really shines.
While the editor screen is for advanced users, it uses a reasonably low barrier-to-entry in terms of the syntax of Melda’s custom coding language (there are four early reflection generators that can be edited graphically, as well as six late reflection generators). Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on your capacity for reading manuals), the manual is massive, explaining everything—including the details of this programming language — in plenty of detail. There’s a staggering amount of possibility here, and it can certainly function as the only reverb plugin you’ll need.
It’s worth mentioning that it comes in two versions: MTurboReverb includes full access to all of these features, while MTurboReverbLE is a limited license that includes the presets, but not the in-depth editing abilities. There is more than enough control in the LE version of the software for the vast majority of users, so this is something very much worth considering.
How it Sounds
Of course, a given reverb is ultimately judged on its sound quality, and Melda’s reverb stacks up well.
Even if you’re simply using it as a drag-and-drop effect, you’ll immediately notice the quality and depth of the sound—this is a premium reverb, and will almost certainly sound more expansive than whatever reverb is built into your DAW. Large reverbs sound lush, spacious, and shimmery, while small reverbs recreate familiar spaces like studios, bedrooms, and bathrooms convincingly. “Huge Spaces” are very much that, with tails that decay slowly and effortlessly over minutes rather than seconds. The “Plates & Springs” reverb algorithms are excellent and more acoustic sounding, while the “Creative” reverbs get you from zero to crazy town in a hurry. This is a high-end reverb plugin, and very much sounds the part.
For my tastes, plumbing the depths of the user interface control pages of the presets was more than enough reverb control. Where experienced (or excitable) coders might find the programmability compelling, I found it something of a bridge too far for my purposes—but again, your mileage may vary.
Also, it’s worth noting that reverbs generally come down to the taste of the individual user, and this one is no different. A fourteen-day fully functioning demo version can be downloaded from the Melda site, which we’d recommend checking it out before dropping hundreds of dollars on this, or any other, reverb.
The Bottom Line
At $299, MTurboReverb doesn’t come particularly cheap, nor is mastering its many intricacies something that will come quickly to new users. But while there are plenty of great reverbs out there for a fraction of the price, few (if any) have the sheer breadth and depth of MeldaProduction’s suite. If you’re the type of producer who wants full and total control of every aspect of your reverbs—but doesn’t want to program them from the ground up—it’ll simply be hard to top MTurboReverb. The ability to explore and dial in a custom reverb algorithm can be an effective tool for helping to carve out your own individual sound, whether you use it for mixing, mastering, or purely as a creative effect. With so much explorable depth, it’s a great reverb for a desert island; whether it’s for you depends on how much time and energy you like to dedicate to this rather specific aspect of music production.
LE version: $149