Blackhole Reverb iOS App Review

This test report has been machine translated from the German version. Please excuse the shortcomings. It would be nice if you could report serious mistakes to the author.

With Blackhole Eventide ported a full-blown reverb effect to the iOS platform, together with the UltraTap Delay and MicroPitch, which is very pleasing. Blackhole Reverb promises especially cosmic, spacial supernatural reverbs and was originally a subset of Eventide’s DSP4000 hardware rack effect.

Blackhole is an algorithmic reverb that calculates the reverb effect at runtime and is not based on a sampled convolution reverb. Therefore, its parameters are freely adjustable to values that are not possible with natural reverberation spaces.

The operation and parameter variety of a reverb effect can range from very simple to very complex. Blackhole moves here in the middle field and can still be described as easy to use with a high flexibility of the effect, which can range from relatively realistic small simulated rooms to oversized halls and resonant delay effects.

As you would expect from iOS today, Blackhole is available as an AUV3 effect plugin in addition to Standalone and InterApp Audio and can be integrated into mixers like Audiobus and AUM or DAWs like Cubasis. The interface is almost identical to the PC version, only the arrangement of the additional control buttons has been moved to the side from below. The preset browser is also flanged to the side and unfortunately still not a matter of course under iOS.

The Ribbon-Controller at the bottom is conspicuous with the restrained animated electric arc discharge as position indicator. This ribbon is a macro controller, which can be used to control more then controller of Blackhole simultaneously. More about this below.

Parameters

The parameters from left to right are first the input volume via the slider, next to it the Mix slider, which determines the mixing ratio between dry and effected signal, which is important for reverb. The Gravity control determines the decay time, i.e. the length of the decaying signal. As a special feature, it has negative values from 12 o’clock counterclockwise, which invert the decay, i.e. make it louder instead of quieter, until it abruptly stops. This is an interesting effect that, in conjunction with the next knob, the Size, when it is turned to exotic minus values – which goes from zero to -10 – can produce metallic colors together with the feedback knob. When turned wide up, Size is responsible for the very long reverb times that are possible with this reverb effect. The next knob Predelay is given in its values with Sync Off with milliseconds or with active Sync in note values, 8ths, 4ths etc. and causes, depending on the other knobs, a classic extension of the reverb space with the applied delay time until the reverb tail starts or with negative values of Decay and Size and high feedback also a resonant delay effect. Predelay is followed by a high and low pass filter, the resonance control below controls the filter resonance.

Depth and Rate in the lower row bring movement to the reverb tail with a pitch modulation effect. Feedback feeds the output proportionally back into the input of the effect in a classic way, and can thus inflate the room additionally or create a delay effect with long predelay values. But feedback can do even more, beyond the 100 the Infinite and Freeze modes are still waiting. Infinite layers more and more feedbacks on top of each other, which then overlap and continue endlessly. Freeze goes even further and freezes the current reverb tail, loops it and adds no new input. Freeze can also be triggered directly via the Freeze button at the top right.

Ribbon Controller

The Ribbon Controller allows you to completely change a preset in live mode, or even subtly, as would otherwise only be possible by automating the parameters in a DAW. The programming of this macro controller is simple, while the programming mode to the right or left of the ribbon is activated with small buttons, each movement of the knobs raises an area in which the values move when the ribbon is passed through. It depends on which of the buttons is active when you turn the knob clockwise or counterclockwise. This means that sliders can also move in opposite directions afterwards and, for example, Gravity can be reduced while Feeedback is turned up. In any case, the ribbon brings a lot of variety and variation and is useful for many creative applications.

Hotswitch

Another way to spontaneously influence a Blackhole preset is to use the Hotswitch button in the middle far right. If it is pressed longer, it changes to the programming mode and now you can set all controls completely different. With the push of a button Blackhole now switches between two states transitionlessly back and forth.

Preset Examples

With the parameters available in Blackhole and their flexible variation via the ribbon controller, a lot of different reverb and delay effects are possible. Depending on the material to which the effect is applied, this will have a different effect.
Below are a few examples where Blackhole’s presets are applied to very different instrumental loops. The presets themselves are divided into some factory presets and artist presets, some of which have been created by well-known sound designers such as Richard Devine or the YouTuber Jakob Haq.

An electric guitar lead with very different presets, most have a meaningful effect

On drums, here especially the resonant delays

On simple sampled choir voices from Pure Synth1 Platinum

Some presets with a simple ocarina sound

Blackhole on ambient piano, which benefits very much from it

The reverb effect on Synth sounds

Conclusion

Also on the iOS platform there are more sophisticated and realistic sounding reverb effects than Blackhole. However, Blackhole is the best when it comes to epic, supernatural reverbs and just sounds massive! I also liked the resonant, metallic delay effects that are possible with it, be it on drums or guitars. The ribbon makes it really easy to use Blackhole as a very vivid live effect and allows you to morph sounds that would otherwise only be possible with a complex automation of the parameters. A very welcome enrichment if you want to achieve futuristic Old Scool reverb effects of all kinds.

Blackhole in the app store:
https://apps.apple.com/app/blackhole-reverb/id1452345570

To my experiences with the music production under iOS you can read a report here:
https://www.buenasideas.de/ios-and-music-production/

A review / test by Stefan Federspiel

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