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Issue 94
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Comet Tail Reverberations

Keith Armstrong Harnesses the Power of Polyverse

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7 April 2022

For Grammy-nominated engineer and producer Keith Armstrong, every piece of technology in his Pietown Sound studio needs to have a clear role, plug-ins being no exception. “I’m really discriminating about the software that I use because I’m happy with everything that I have already,” he says. “To bring a new piece of software into my workflow it has to either do something that I can’t do yet or sound clearly better than something that I already have.” Polyverse’s Comet reverb met these criteria for him. “For pop music – where something like a vintage plate emulation is often too dense – I really needed a reverb that can sound like a thin mist,” he says. “I wanted something that’s airy and unobtrusive but still present, and that’s where Polyverse came to my rescue.”

Armstrong immediately found Comet intuitive to use, enabling him to quickly dial in the right reverb sound for any mix. “The Predelay control is really cool. I like how you can work in milliseconds or keep pushing the fader down into the quantised values.” The Hi and Lo Damp sliders and Color slider give Armstrong the control he needs to mold the reverb to suit a given piece of music. “Usually I’ll start by tweaking the Hi Damp and Lo Damp sliders, and if that doesn’t get me there then I’ll start working the Color fader to get it centred the way I want it. Then I’ll revisit and refine the dampening from there. It’s so easy to use and sounds so good that it has become my primary long vocal reverb on my pop template.”

As a producer who enjoys experimenting with unconventional sounds, Armstrong appreciates Comet’s ability to go from pristine to extreme with ease. “Comet is clearly built for sound design in addition to music, so making more extreme reverb sounds is still very much in its wheelhouse.” For Armstrong, that means that he can maintain a high level of control even as he pushes past the quotidian. “It can be fun to take a plug-in beyond what it’s really intended for and get a cool sound, but often that means when you get to that edge you have nowhere else to go and very little control. Comet was deliberately designed to do wild stuff, so when you’re doing something extreme you’re not at its absolute edge. That means you can still tweak it to actually sound good.”

Polyverse plug-ins have found their way into much of his recent work, from major label artists – such as JORDY and Rosie Tucker – to more obscure passion projects. “I’m doing this avant-garde harmonica album with a friend of mine with the goal of making harmonica sound like something other than harmonica,” he says. “We’re doing stuff like sending a frozen reverb of a harmonica track from Comet into vocoder, then having the harmonica vocode itself. So Polyverse just keeps popping up over and over again in every type of music I make!”

CONTACT

Polyverse: polyversemusic.com

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Issue 94