Wednesday, June 30, 2021

IS BRICASTI DESIGN M7 REVERB GOOD? DO I NEED THE MOST EXPENSIVE HARDWARE REVERB?

 WHAT IS THE BRICASTI REVERB?

If there is an heir apparent to the legacy of the great Lexicon reverb processors it is the Bricasti Design M7. The designers of this reverb have utilized modern components to reduce the physical size to just a single rack space package, but the sound quality is equal to or better than the physically larger classic units such as the 224, 480 and 960 by Lexicon.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION

The M7 is a single rack space package. The front panel is a thick machined piece of aluminum. The input attenuator is a stepped switch so settings are repeatable without guessing. The display is a bright reddish-orange that Bricasti Design says is easily viewable even in bright sunlight. A group of centrally located buttons accesses features which allow the user to adjust the parameters of the reverb. A smooth turning data wheel completes the navigation controls.

Four buttons are provided for storing and accessing favorite presets without resorting to any menu diving. This is one of the places Bricasti Designs shows their desire to support the user with simple program access. Four different programs tweaked the way you like them can be stored in these instant access locations, this is a great feature. No digging through any menus to load up sounds you create, instant access is right at the top of my favorite feature list.

XLR inputs and outputs on Bricasti M7

On the back panel you’ll find XLR inputs and outputs for analog audio connections and digital input and output. The inbuilt power supplies are powered by a standard IEC type detachable power cord. Nine-pin D-sub connectors are provided for connecting to an optional remote control and additional M-7 reverbs. The entire package feels quite solid and overall the exterior finish of the M-7 is top notch. 

Bricasti says there are separate power supplies for the analog and the digital electronics contained in the M7. In use the unit is very quiet acoustically, I never heard the internal cooling fan. The audio outputs are very low in residual noise. 

L-to-R, Midi I.O., Digital Audio I.O., 9-pin RS422 I.O.

Midi input and output jacks are also provided on the rear panel of the M7. The Midi I.O. provides another alternative for remote controlling the M7. See the High on Technology companion article about the Reverb Foundry M7 Link software plugin for details about what midi can do on the M7.

WHAT DOES THE BRICASTI M-7 SOUND LIKE?

The M7 was one of the most highly anticipated studio purchases in a very long time. Certainly the price was a factor, not to mention the 20 other hardware reverb processors I already own along with more than a dozen software reverb plugins which are available to decorate my musical creations. Did I really need another reverb?

If I had to use a single word to describe the M-7 audio output it would be “smooth”. The reverb effect can be almost invisible and you need to have it set up so you can easily subtract it from the mix. The best way to understand what it is adding to a mix is to be able to remove it instantly and on demand. For my initial setup the M7 is feeding a stereo input channel on the studio Soundcraft mixing console. This let me set the reverb return to various levels to compliment whatever I was working on. While auditioning reverb effects I frequently hit the mute button on the M7 reverb return just to verify what I was hearing was all the M7.

The reverb sound from the Bricasti is unlike any other hardware reverb in our studio. I spent a couple of hours today processing audio samples to try and understand the attributes of the M-7. “Natural” was another descriptive word I kept coming back to. The ambient effects the M-7 produces are very “natural” sounding, they sound like excellent physical acoustic spaces. Even with 25 seconds of decay time the M7 did not get mushy or washed out, it retained character and was polite regardless of how much abuse I shoveled into the inputs.

Describing sonics with words is always challenging and the Bricasti takes this to a whole new level. “Delicious” is a word I’d use in describing the audio effects the M7 creates. It’s an acoustic place your ears want to be. From all my use so far I can say there is not a “bad” sound in the Bricasti M7. There are no filler programs and really who needs more than 100 programs? I am not a fan of massive quantities of presets. 

The Bricasti delivers authentic ambient acoustic spaces and it comes with a quality written operating manual that is printed on thick paper.

IT ALL COMES DOWN TO PRICE


Lets face it, this is not an inexpensive gadget. There are a lot of lower priced units available. It all comes down to how much you crave a great natural sounding hardware reverb. If your needs are served by all your current alternatives then the M-7 is not for you. However, if your mixing ears need to hear simulations of real acoustic spaces which surpass current plug-in impulse-response technology then the Bricasti M-7 won’t disappoint. It is the final frontier in hardware reverberation processors.

EPILOGUE

The Bricasti M-7 is not for everyone but it is for me. The smooth and natural sound is immediately complimentary to all musical styles. Drums “sit” so nice in one of the Bricasti Plate settings. 

Modifying predelay or any of the parameters never creates a problem. The M-7 always delivers a workable sound no matter how hard you try to mess it up.

BRICASTI M-7 SPECIFICATIONS

Processor Type: Reverb Effects

Number of Channels: Stereo / Dual Mono in

Presets - Factory: 100 Reverb Presets

Presets - User: 100 User

Analog Inputs: 2 x XLR

Analog Outputs: 2 x XLR

Digital Inputs: 1 x XLR (AES/EBU)

Digital Outputs: 1 x XLR (AES/EBU)

Other I/O: 2 x DB-9 (RS-422 remote, loop thru)

MIDI I/O: In/Out (future features)

Rack Spaces: 1U

Power Source: Standard IEC ACcable

Height: 1.75"

Width: 19"

Depth: 11"

Weight: 9 lbs.

Manufacturer Part Number: M7V2

Thanks for reading High on Technology, Good Music to You!

©06-28-21 Mark King, it’s not ok to quote or copy without written permission.