Although perhaps best known for their ‘virtual musician’ plug‑ins, UJAM also offer various creative effects in their Finisher series, which provide streamlined control over some great sonic options. The company have now launched another range of effects called Ufx, and the first plug‑in released under this banner is Reverb. This might sound like a conventional effect but, fear not: Reverb can do conventional things, but there’s a good dollop of UJAM creativity here too!
The manual suggests that the Ufx series is intended to continue the ‘easy workflow meets creative effects’ design ethos, but also to allow the user a little more scope to dial in what they want. Ufx Reverb, then, is an algorithmic reverb that includes some fairly familiar controls (on the left and centre of the UI) but also some of UJAM’s more typical creative options, in the form of the Filter and Finisher processors (on the right).
Under the hood, Ufx Reverb offers 10 different algorithm types called Modes. These are Basic, Room, Hall, Plate, Spring, Digital, ’80s, Warm, Gated and Reverse, and it’s worth saying that if you bypass the Filter and Finisher options you can use the Dimension section to get some very respectable conventional treatments for general reverb duties. The controls in the Character section allow you to change the nature of the reverb in some interesting ways. The Damping control is particularly effective, while the Ducking control lets you dip the reverb out of the way of your input signal.
Things can go well beyond the conventional, though. Some of the Modes themselves meet that definition, for example the Gated and Reverse options, but the Filter and Finisher sections offer the most fun. These each provide preset effects, and you just dial in the desired amount. Filter offers EQ filtering, bit‑crushing, lo‑fi, stereo widening and various flavours of distortion. The Finisher offers a wide range of possibilities, including gating, slicing, delay, glitch, modulation and panning, amongst others.
Ufx Reverb is a creative sound design plug‑in disguised in plain sight as a reverb.
A quick tour of the global presets soon gives you a flavour of what’s on offer. Having applied Ufx Reverb to a number of different instrument types (drums, guitar, vocals, synths...), what I’ve found really impressive is just how easily it can lift a sound up to another level. If you need an instrument to ‘pop’ in the mix, Ufx Reverb is a very capable tool for the job. It can add texture, otherworldliness, a sense of rhythm and a whole lot more. To top off the creative possibilities, you also get the Freeze button; this samples the current reverb output and sustains that sound (drone‑like) in the background until Freeze is disabled. Ufx Reverb is a creative sound‑design plug‑in disguised in plain sight as a reverb. It’s sonically addictive and, despite UJAM having given us a few extra controls to play with, it remains incredibly easy to use.
As with other UJAM plug‑ins, pretty much everything is automatable and there are clever randomisation options. The processing latency is also low, so you could use the plug‑in while tracking. I realise you may already have access to conventional algorithmic reverb plug‑ins, but UJAM’s take on reverb is a great option for more creative ambience duties. If Reverb is an example of what the Ufx range is going to bring us, I’m already keen to see what’s next!