Impulse Response Recorderizer (…bad name I know…)

I needed an Impulse Response plugin for a ProTools project I’m working on. So I spent some cash and bought Liquid Sonics’ Reverberate 2. I tried the demo and was well impressed with the flexibility, options and of course sound quality. The price point, which on the horrid consumer mad ‘Black Friday’, I never did get why it’s called that, was -%30 off the asking price. Win!

I would’ve gone down the Altiverb route but it’s (worthy) price point was a little high right now. Cash is tight at the moment since I’ve recently moved over to live in Sydney, Australia and had to pay for all manner of things in order to do so. Not to mention the awful feeling that my entire sound studio is in a shipping container bobbing around somewhere in the Indian ocean hopefully making it’s way eventually to New South Wales.

One of the best things about Impulse Response plugins and software is being able to create your own weird and wonderful IRs, in whatever space you happen to find yourself. Or as most sound designers do, use them ‘incorrectly’ just to listen to the happy accident results at the other end.

One thing I have realised over the years making my own IR’s, is that it isn’t quite as easy as I think it should be. Sure the process is once you have all the correct hardware, speakers, mics and so on but which software to make them with?

There are various utilities out there but most are proprietary and linked to their specific piece of host software. Altiverb can easily make IR’s by simply dragging and dropping your recordings in to the plugin interface. Great. It also sounds fantastic. Logic Pro X still comes with the Impulse Response Utility, even though Apple seem to want to hide it away from everyone. Residing inside the Logic .app package now and anyone that’s spent any time working with this knows what an absolute pig it is to use. It’s also not been updated in forever…

The results aren’t fantastic either in my experience, as there’s usually some strange alias ringing / resonance in the results. I’ve A/B’d the same all AES-EBU signal pathway via a TC System 6000 using both Altiverb and Logic’s Impulse Response Utility and the difference in the results were shocking. Altiverb, subjectively speaking, whipped Logic’s Impulse Response Utility completely and truly. Sadly I don’t have the A/B files here with me now to add to this post, since they too are on a boat somewhere in the ocean…

Ableton’s Live Suite, since about version 9.x has included a Convolution Reverb device as well as the IR Measurement Device so that you can create your own and save them out as .AIFF files. Neat. 

These are Max 4 Live devices so you need to have Max MSP from Cycling’74 as well. Which I would highly recommend anyway for a myriad reasons, but that’s for another post entirely.

So when thinking once again about making some more groovy IR’s for use inside Reverberate 2, these Live devices got me a thinking… ‘What if I made a Max MSP application as a stand alone which anyone could use?…’ In the spirit of Open Source type thinking. And so this leads me on to the 1st version of the application which can be found below:

Impulse Response Recorderizer

I took apart the Live Max4Live device and copied it in to Max MSP, added, tweaked and sorted as was my want. Please try it out for yourself and let me know what you think. It was created on Max MSP v 6.x using Mac OS X El Capitan. Sadly I haven’t got any other versions of Mac OS with me at the moment to test. Please see previous boat type comments above.

It should work with any Core Audio compliant sound card and once you have completed your sweep, hit the SAVE button to save out your IR file as a 24bit 44.1kHz, 48kHz, 88.2kHz or 96kHz .AIFF, depending on which settings you had selected during the creation process. This can then be used in whatever convolution plugin you use. One small reminder is that you will have to have Java installed in order for this to work. Most newish Apple OS’s no longer come with that installed as standard. Just a wee heads up.

DO NOT take any credit for the work as 99.9% of it relies on other people’s genius and skills. Such as Alexander J. Harker, The HISSTools Impulse Response Toolbox: Convolution for the Masses and their Max MSP externals, supported by the University of Huddersfield. If you want to read more about HISS please do so here.

I haven’t written any documentation for the .app but it’s pretty straight forward to use, as far as I can tell. For any comments, ideas and suggestions please contact me and I’ll do my best. I hope it works for you and that you have many happy hours making IR’s.




Mr Hay.