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Elephant Room Reverb Review – An Honest Opinion After Heavy Use

The Elephant Room Reverb is an exciting new free open-source plugin on the market. While many types of reverb plugins are available, only a select few can do a good job of emulating real spaces. In this Elephant Room Reverb review, we've stress-tested the plugin to find out whether it can take on a paid plugin or not.

Elephant Room Reverb (Quick Review)

whippedcreamsounds

Accurate Emulation and Reverb Sound Quality
Variety of Spaces
Quality of Pre-Delay, Early & Late Reflections
UI, Resizing and CPU-friendly
Ease of use for a recent buyer

Verdict

The Elephant Room Reverb is a free reverb plugin that places your sounds in sophisticated rooms and spaces that are realistic. With very little room for coloring the existing room reverbs; you're left with the purest and most accurate impression of a room's sonic character. The Elephant is a beast at creating room-like reverbs!

4.7

Can The Free Elephant Room Reverb Stand Up To A Paid Plugin? (TL;DR Verdict)

Compatibility: Windows & Linux 64-bit only. VST3, LV2, CLAP-Compatible DAW. Mac
OS: 64-bit only. VST3, AU, LV2, or CLAP-compatible DAW
Price:
free download

Yes, Elephant Room is on par with paid plugins. You can get fantastic, clean (or colorful), realistic room reverbs. While we criticize it for being too stuck on only offering realistic-sounding rooms, the Elephant can reveal nuances you might overlook if you're only focused on exaggerating your EQs and filters on your reverb.

Pros

✅ Highly realistic rooms and spaces.

✅ Accurate emulation of the listed spaces.

✅ Each parameter is accompanied by simple understandable definitions.

✅ Great plugin to learn about reverberation concepts before going for a paid plugin.

✅ Useful A/B comparison.

Cons

❌ Doesn't offer EQ or filter possibilities to sculpt the reverb.

❌ Effects are too subtle for an untrained ear to catch or enjoy.

Though great for adding realistic reverbs to your tracks, it does fall short in terms of versatility.

Suppose you're used to working on pro-level plugins like the FabFilter Pro-R or even free plugins like Logic X's Space Designer, which offer complete control over reimagining space – you might feel a bit disappointed with Elephant.

You're left with the real space alone – no EQs or filters. You're going to have to tweak the reverb to your liking by shaping the early and late reflection timings, along with damping and diffusing them to alter the movement of sound within your selected room.

What Is The Elephant Room Reverb And What Does It Do?

The Elephant Room Reverb aims to envelop your sounds and recordings in highly realistic-sounding rooms. Based on reverberation specialists Moorer and Jon Dattorro's work on early reflections and the progenitor reverb, the plugin is hosted on Freeverb3, which is a signal processing library.

elephant DSP room reverb

Because you're not able to filter or EQ the room, the plugin coaxes you to learn about the intricate reflections that shape and sculpt reverbs in natural spaces.

Changing the color of your reverb involves altering the damping of the late reflections in your room, which are set in motion by the early reflections. 

The good part about the plugin is that no matter how much you exaggerate the parameters, it will still sound like the preset room you started off from.

How Does It Sound?

While the plugin might be too subtle to get noticeable results at times, you can alter the texture significantly by working with the decay in tandem with the reflections. Decay can add smoothness to your synths and keys, reducing the room size and damping frequency can make your drums sound dark and tight.

We tried the Elephant Room Reverb's settings extensively in various scenarios to display how far you can stretch it. We've listed below some sound samples for you to listen to.

Diffusion + Damping (Before)

Large Room Sparkle (Before)

Echo Chamber Enhanced (Before)

Small Room Exaggerated (Before)

25+seconds Reverb (Before)

Diffusion + Damping (After)

Diffusion set to 100%. Damping Set to 16kHz. Room size reduced to 2%. You can observe how tight the reverb is.

Large Room Sparkle (After)

Diffusion set to 59%. Damping Set to 16kHz. Room size set to 45%. Early Reflections set at 10%. Observe how the notes sparkle.

Echo Chamber Enhanced (After)

Notice the reverb tail as the Spin is set to 4.8Hz and Wander at 80%.

Small Room Exaggerated (After)

Spin is set to 4.7Hz and Wander at 94%. Early Reflections set at 76%. Setting the Decay at 17s creates the lush texture that envelops the sound.

25+seconds Reverb (After)

Early & Late Damping are set at 16kHz and 9kHz respectively. The room size at 41% and the Stereo Width is set to 100%. Observe the width and texture the reverb provides.

What Features Do I Get With The Elephant Room Reverb?

Darken Your Room Reverb With Diffusion And Damping:

When talking about room reverb algorithms, Diffusion becomes an important parameter. Diffusion determines how the thickness or density of the echo modulates over time. 

Smaller spaces or rooms have denser echoes, while very large rooms have lighter ones. Setting the diffusion percentage can allow you to make subtle changes to the density or color of the echoes in the room.

In our diffusion sound example, we've set Diffusion to 100% and Dampings (early and late) to 16000Hz. We've also shrunk the room size to 2%, making the track sound claustrophobic and dark. 

elephant dsp diffusion and damping

If you're wondering why the effect is so subtle, it's because we're working with late reverb parameters which take place after the early reflections. Try increasing the early reflections if you're looking for a more pronounced effect.

Built on Moorer's early reflection model

Elephant uses James Moorer's all-pass delay model, a refinement of the famous “Natural Sounding Artificial Reverberation” by Manfred Schoeder.

Used by famous reverb models such as the Lexicon 224 and the EMT-250, the all-pass system was used to increase the echo density of a room while also providing control over the parameters, which start from a state of “flat” frequency response.

As an algorithm-based plugin emulation, the Elephant follows the same principle. The controlled damping of the room, followed by the smooth diffusion of the reflections, is the best way to go about using this plugin.

Famous models like the Eventide SP2016 use this principle in their reverb algorithms to offer control over diffusion too.

Natural Sounding Artificial Reverb

Before tweaking the settings on the plugin, it's helpful to know how Elephant models such a natural-sounding artificial reverb.

A single delay is fed into a room, along with a portion of its signal fed back to the delay. If the feedback value is kept below 1, this creates a repetitive echo that fades over time. When we blend delays of varying lengths with the original delay, we get a complex mesh of dense echoes, getting us closer to the reverb of a room that is later emulated. 

The reverb created at this point is usable, but isn't smooth enough and might have a ringing quality to it, due to comb filtering.

To refine this, the delays are fed forwards and backwards. The two-way delay fills in the gaps where the frequency gets canceled, achieving a more even frequency response.

Along with comb filtering, a combination of these recycling delays is executed in parallel, series, and hybrid ways. Additional filters are used to create desired frequency responses to make the rooms sound smooth, natural, and usable.

This system, called the all-pass filter, lends Elephant its natural-sounding artificial reverb sound.

Realistic Spaces

Spaces or rooms, which are generally modeled, have high levels of diffusion, to begin with. Due to the sound bouncing off the edges of walls and the existing furniture and appliances in the room, natural spaces have a dense echo field.

However, since Elephant is a simulation, controlling and increasing the echo density is only possible if we artificially create a flat frequency response in the room. Using this as a starting point, all the preset rooms are modeled accordingly.

elephant room presets free reverb

While there are 34 existing spaces within the preset library, you’re not going to find drastic differences like those found in the FabFilter Pro-R or native digital audio workstation reverbs like Logic’s Space Designer, for example.

While Space Designer has volume and filter envelope controls which shape the response of the space, the FabFilter Pro-R has a dedicated EQ section to sculpt the room to your liking.

The parameters found in the Elephant are primarily aimed at emulating the original. They are sophisticated and intricately modelled, varying very slightly as you browse through the preset rooms. 

You only notice a significant change when you cross the echo chamber and reach the 12s and 30s reverb. These large spaces are more pronounced here, and tweaking the reflections and decay would significantly change your sound. 

What About The Technical Stuff?

How Hard Is The Elephant Room Reverb On The CPU?

We stress-tested the Elephant Room Reverb on the Mac Mini M1 2020, running Big Sur 11.2.1 with 8GB RAM, an 8-core CPU with 4 performance cores, and 4 efficiency cores. Even with 13 instances of the plugin open simultaneously, we found no noticeable lag in its performance. You can tweak your dials as freely on the 13th track as you would on the 1st. The processing is quite smooth.

What Does My System Need To Run It?

The Elephant's GUI is pretty light. Any computer that can run 7-10 instances of 3rd party plugins at a time should be able to handle the Elephant Room Reverb easily.

Mac:

  • 4GB+ should work comfortably.
  • 64-bit only.
  • VST3, AU, LV2.
  • CLAP-compatible DAW.
  • Supports Macs with Apple Silicon. (universal binary arm 64/x86_64)

Windows and Linux:

  • 4GB+ should work comfortably.
  • 64-bit only.
  • VST3, AU, LV2.
  • CLAP-compatible DAW.
  • Supports Macs with Apple Silicon. (universal binary arm 64/x86_64)

What Are The UI And GUIs Like? Any Standout Features?

When you open the Elephant Reverb, the first thing you notice is an array of sliders showing percentages. While it might seem daunting at first, hovering over a parameter pulls up a concise definition that is enough to knowledgeably manipulate the settings. 

The resizeable user interface is quite flexible as well. Moving from medium to large, it fits well on your computer screen. 

The A/B comparison is quite useful while working with different room sizes as the effects are so subtle. An option to copy the settings on A to B and vice versa are also available. Choosing the right room really comes down to a very tight percentage comparison. There could've been an A/B/C as this plugin specifically needs more comparison options while working.

While the user experience could've been better with more interesting graphics, we need to consider that this is the first plugin by Elephant and they're bound to get better with future releases.

What Are Others Saying About The Elephant Room Reverb?

Quite a few reviews across the internet are in awe of the Elephant Room Reverb for its impeccable emulation. Many of them tend to appreciate the simple definitions that pop up for each parameter upon hovering over it.

We've listed some of them below:

Elephant Reverb - kvraudio Review#1
Elephant Reverb – kvraudio Review#1
Elephant Reverb - kvraudio Review#2
Elephant Reverb – kvraudio Review#2
Elephant Reverb - kvraudio Review#3
Elephant Reverb – kvraudio Review#3
Elephant Reverb-Gerarspace Review#4
Elephant Reverb-Gerarspace Review#4

How Does The Elephant Room Reverb Stand Up To The Competition?

The Dragonfly, which offers four free DSP-based reverb plugins, is on par with the Elephant when comparing them. Offering early reflections, room, hall, and plate, the reverbs are usable and well-received by the public. However, if we compare the Elephant to the paid Fab Filter Pro-R or Logic's native free Space Designer, of course these choices will be better.

You can grab the Elephant Room Reverb at ElephantDSP.com.

Verdict

Elephant Room Reverb (Quick Review)

whippedcreamsounds

Accurate Emulation and Reverb Sound Quality
Variety of Spaces
Quality of Pre-Delay, Early & Late Reflections
UI, Resizing and CPU-friendly
Ease of use for a recent buyer

Verdict

The Elephant Room Reverb is a free reverb plugin that places your sounds in sophisticated rooms and spaces that are realistic. With very little room for coloring the existing room reverbs; you're left with the purest and most accurate impression of a room's sonic character. The Elephant is a beast at creating room-like reverbs!

4.7

FAQ

Are Echo And Reverb The Same?

Echoes are slower than reverbs. Echoes constantly fade over time, while reverbs reflect back, and interfere with their own reflections, resulting in a thicker texture.

I Don't Understand The Settings On The Plugin. How Do I Get Started?

In a nutshell, the plugin can be understood in this way: The early reflections go into the late reverb, which fades out in Decay. Room size and Damping determine the room colour.

You can add or reduce values in this order while getting started.

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