Test Drive: ART MultiVerb

by Jerry Vigil

ART MultiVerb

The MULTIVERB from Applied Research & Technology is characteristic of the trend in digital processing. It is reminiscent of the days when the pocket calculator you saw the year before for $49 was suddenly only $9.95 with many extras added. At a list price of $575, the MULTIVERB is a very attractive buy for the budget conscious.

Most evident in its performance is the clarity of the output which is a result of the 20 bit digital processor and the 16 bit analog to digital to analog (A-D-A) converter. You also get a processor that lets you use up to 4 different effects at a time. Those effects include a pitch shifter, a series of reverbs, a flanger, chorus, digital delays, a pannier, and an equalizer for a total of 19 basic algorithms.

Don't confuse algorithms with programs. There are 100 factory preset programs ready to use when you plug it in. The algorithms are used to create your own programs and store in one of the 100 user memory locations for a total of 200 possible programs at your fingertips.

If you're the type that likes to plug a digital processor in and get to work, you'll like the 100 preset programs in the MULTIVERB. We won't begin to list them all, but you have practically every conceivable combination of the 19 algorithms already programmed for you; EQ with delay and reverb, delay with chorus, gated reverb with delay, pitch shift with delay, flange with EQ, and on and on.

If you've got the time to mess with programming your own effects, the MULTI¬VERB makes it quite simple. If you want reverb with flange and EQ, you simply go to one of the user memory locations first. Then scroll through the algorithms until you find a reverb you want (hall, early reflections, gated, etc.), press enter and it's there instantly and on line. Go through the same process for the flanger and the EQ and you have all three in the chain in very little time. You can then go into each of the algorithms and change available parameters. The whole process has been made so simple that the fairly experienced user of digital processors can program the MULTIVERB without the manual.

There are sacrifices for simplicity and low price. You are limited in terms of serious programming of the unit, however, unless you are heavily into programming or MIDI control, you won't notice these limitations. The unit does offer MIDI program control. Also, the so called equalizer algorithm is simply a low pass filter with roll-offs from 665Hz to 15KHz. The amount of memory in the unit is about par for the course. Maximum delay time is 1/2 second. The pitch shifter is comparable to pitch shifters in other units in this price range. If pitch shifting is your main reason for buying a new processor, you may want to look at some more expensive units.

There are 2 inputs and 2 outputs. If you use both inputs, the unit gives you stereo processing. If you use only 1 input, the signal is routed to both inputs and a stereo image is produced at the outputs. All switching is done automatically.

The mix level (dry to wet) is controlled by a fader on the front panel. This makes fine adjustments a little difficult as compared to processors that let you set the mix level digitally, but the easy access to the mix control makes for faster adjustments to it.

For the money, the ART MULTIVERB is a great buy. If you're looking for a reasonably priced digital processor to upgrade from a simple digital reverb or digital delay unit with, you'll be happy with the MULTIVERB. It's very clean and very easy to use. It's an excellent choice for someone looking for a digital reverb unit with a ton of extras.

May the processing wars between manufacturers continue! Their products are getting better and cheaper all the time!

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