Review: ValhallaDSP ValhallaShimmer Reverb
An excellent reverb specializing in the big, vast, and yes shimmery reverbs
Multiple algorithms & modes allow for some great variety in sound
Great “bang for the buck” reverb
Not a “one size fits all” reverb (a pro in my book, but could be seen as a con)
Lack of presets and no preset system to import more (like what is found in all other ValhallaDSP plugins)
Welcome to the halls of Valhalla!…….WAIT FOR IT……wait for it……there the reverb tail is done.
ValhallaShimmer is a very specific algorithmic reverb designed for large, lush, ambient sounds. ValhallaShimmer does not cater to “girly men” who only want small room – Valhalla is for big men who want BIG reverb! Ok, thats not 100% true. Though Shimmer is designed and excels in large to huge to epic reverbs, it is possible to create small room sounds too. Girly men rejoice!
ValhallaShimmer is very easy to use. First off, the GUI is layed out very straight forward manner in the typical ValhallaDSP “simple is better” fashion. Though I personally dislike the GUI in ValhallaRoom, which shares the same style as Shimmer, I find this GUI style actually works quite well with Shimmer. Either way, The most important part about a GUI is functionality, and thankfully Valhalla has included most of the controls you could ever need. Another great thing about ValhallaDSP plugins is that there really is no need to read the manual (if there even is one!) If you are not quite sure what a parameter does, simply hover your mouse of the knob and a small text blurb explaining what the feature does will appear in the GUI. WAY COOL!
So lets get down to sound business. Shimmer offer 4 reverb modes, with each one sounding drastically different from each other even with the same settings. Combined with the 4 different pitch modes, and it offers enough variety to keep you creating. Of course the first thing people will do is to create that “shimmer” effect, which is of course really easy to do with Shimmer. Simply set the shift amount to +12 semitones and the adjust the feedback to taste (needs to be 0.5 or greater to hear the shimmer). I find it works best when running one of the 4 pitch modes, with each one having an effect on the type of the “bloom.” These types of ambiances are great for well…ambiances! I find myself often reaching for Shimmer when writing ambinant music, using it on synths, percussion, and even vocals! Its an instant mood creator, and its fun to simply play around with any instrument and let Shimmer move you into different streams of consciousness.
Another cool thing about ValhallaShimmer is that the plugin as been designed to be tweaked in real time and to have a smoothed response to avoid clicks or pops automation controls. This can lead to some very cool subtly changing reverbs, to wild pitch shifting reverb effects. This allows the reverb to evolve with the music, working in union for the betterment of the sonic space – Or simply put a nice way adding some extra spice to a track.
One thing I dislike very much about ValhallaShimmer is that unlike all his other plugins, Shimmer has no preset system, meaning there is no way to import and export presets to share with other users! WOW!! I understand how easy it is to create you own reverb sounds, but still its nice to be able to hear and share presets with other users. Once can only hope this feature is added in the future, but seeing as how it doesn’t exist now, odds are it probably won’t (I posted this exact feature request on the official ValhallaDSP message boards and have yet to get a reply for Sean the developer) BUMMER! Especially when you consider Shimmer only comes with 7 presets…yup, thats right, 7 total (and one of them is even a chorus preset – and not a particularly good chorus at that).
Overall, ValhallaShimmer, in my opinion, is a must have plugin for anyone doing sound design, sound scapes, ambient music, or anyone simply looking for a different reverb sound. Shimmer is NOT a room emulator, but rather a highly effect space creator, and for only $50 is one of the biggest “bangs for the buck” in the plugin world!
For more information and to download the demo: