Universal Audio EMT 140 Classic Plate Reverberator Plug-In

Not all EMT 140 reverb-plate plug-in emulations are created equal.
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Not all EMT 140 reverb-plate plug-in emulations are created equal.

One thing’s for sure: Not all EMT 140 reverb-plate plug-in emulations are created equal. The engineers and ears at Universal Audio modeled, measured and tuned their new EMT 140 Classic Plate Reverberator plug-in ($199) from three different 140s at The Plant Studios in Sausalito, CA. And it has received the EMT Studiotechnik GmbH blessing.

For those who may not know, the “plate” in hardware-plate reverbs was a large sheet of stainless steel suspended by springs in a wooden box. Combining a driver (speaker coil) to move the plate with two contact microphone/pickup elements (if stereo), the plate would be vibrated by the incoming signal and simulate reverb through the vibrations created within the plate. A physical damper, that was adjustable, would allow the plate to resonate for longer (undamped) or shorter times. External delays or EQ was frequently added to the signal for effect.

Designed for UA’s UAD-1 or UAD-2 cards, it will run VST, AU and RTAS. While the GUI is based on the original hardware, it has a few useful enhancements. Its Input filter — usually found on the plate amplifier itself — has two types of low-cut filters: original EMT electronics, which offered three variations on a fixed 80 Hz filter, and common plate retrofit Martech electronics, offering six shelving frequencies between 90 and 360 Hz.

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UA’s EMT 140 also features three plate models (brighter, darker, full bandwidth) and damper controls, which range from 0.5 to 5.5 seconds in 0.1 second intervals. Also available is width adjustment from mono to full stereo (zero to 100 percent), L/R/C balance, Predelay, Modulation Controls and an EQ section independent of the Input Filter.

It’s easy to get a great sound with this reverb. I tried it on snares, stereo loops, vocals and keys. The three plates each have a unique tonal quality, but I kept coming back to B (the dark one). Adding Pre Delay (up to 250ms) to a snare was killer, and the ability to filter low end in two different ways on the drum loop was a nice touch.

Universal Audio’s Eastern regional sales manager Bruce MacPherson also had a few good EMT 140 tips to share with me. “It’s great in multi mono mode with different decays, getting a slightly different sound on the left and right side in a stereo mix,” he noted. “It’s also nice to use it like a real amp reverb by placing it after an amp simulator with the speaker bypassed and then before the speaker in a second one with the amp bypassed — beautifully haunting!”

Overall, there’s no question the Universal Audio 140 is the most flexible software version of the classic EMT on the market. And, most importantly, its sound is classic: warm and wide like the original. It’s just a lot easier to use (and a lot smaller and lighter)!

Contact: Universal Audio | 866-UAD-1176 | uaudio.com