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Polyverse Comet

Polyverse Music Comet

The aim of most reverb plug-ins is to emulate something else, whether that be the sound of a real acoustic space, a vintage digital reverb, or a mechanical device such as a plate or spring. That's not the case with Comet, which is very much its own thing, and is intended as a means of enhancing sources within a mix without necessarily being reminiscent of anything else. It's available on Mac OS and Windows in VST, AU and AAX formats, and authorised using a simple licence key file.

Polyverse Music say that the algorithm behind Comet is quite different from that used by any existing reverb, but the parameters it presents to the user are mostly familiar. The effect is still conceived in terms of an acoustic space, even if it's not one you'd ever encounter in real life, so there are controls for room Size and Decay time, plus Color and Hi and Lo Damp settings, which shape the tone of the reverb tail. There's a straightforward pre-delay, which can be set in milliseconds or musical time intervals either side of the zero position, and two other sliders labelled Diffuse and Detune. Comet also comes with a large library of evocatively named presets, five of which can be loaded into slots at the bottom of the window. You can then morph between these at a rate determined by the Glide control.

If there's one thing that Comet does particularly well, to my mind, it's very bright reverbs.

A quick browse through these presets is enough to reveal that despite its limited control set, Comet is capable of producing a very wide range of sounds. As its makers would freely admit, these don't extend to transparent imitations of real halls or rooms; and the wide range of the controls means that artifacts can become audible at extreme settings, especially when Size is turned right down. In use, however, this didn't really bother me, as those extreme settings are fairly well into special-effect territory anyway. The key parameter in many patches is the slightly mysterious Detune control. At zero, things can sound metallic or obviously cyclical; turn it up, and you introduce a richness and density to the sound that is quite distinctive.

From thick, short 'verbs for reinforcing a snare to infinite patches that can be sampled and turned into pads, there's a lot on offer here, and the simplicity of the interface means no sound is more than a few clicks away. If there's one thing that Comet does particularly well, to my mind, it's very bright reverbs. I'm not usually a great user of steamy, sizzly patches with a ton of undamped top end, as they tend to stick out of the mix and exaggerate sibilance, but there's something very individual and pleasing about the way Comet sounds with the Color turned way up and the Hi Damp left close to zero. It's almost like adding an enhancer or 'air' EQ to the source rather than a conventional ambience.

You probably wouldn't want Comet to be your only reverb, then, and if your bread and butter is orchestral or film-score work then its usefulness will probably be quite limited. For rock, pop and electronic music, however, it's a really valuable complement to more conventional algorithmic reverbs, both for its distinctive sound and for the speed with which you can dial in different sounds.



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