We reviewed a few of the Desktop Series of TC Electronics’ plugins a few months ago, and the DVR250-DT is a phenomenal addition to the collection. Working in the box seems to be the go-to for a lot of engineers both amateur and professional alike in 2019, but the ability to retain something tangible from analogue equipment is really something special. The DVR250-DT is a digital vintage reverb plugin with four levers for adjusting parameters and effects, as well as further fine tuning available within the plugin itself. The hardware is about hand-size, and resembles famed EMT reverbs with red and white faders and buttons. The plugin contains a lot of very usable presets that can slide easily and quickly into a mix.
In addition to the reverbs themselves, the DVR250-DT offers further effects such as chorus and echo. The unit also offers time shift options for the phase to give subtle creative comb filtering effects that can help reverbs either sit forward or nestle in behind sounds to make them pop. Little additions like this make the DVR250-DT a one-stop-shop, as these kind of effects would usually need to be part of a chain. The parameters for control of all these effects are really endless, if a little daunting at first. Admittedly, it can be easy to continuously tweak without making much progress. Luckily, the plugin has a very organised preset option, for saving your own presets that can be tweaked for each project and/or sound. It also encourages the user to use their ears and tweak the hardware, instead of scrolling through numbers on your computer screen. All too often we mix by numbers when working entirely in-the-box, but the DVR250-DT solves that by offering us both. Once a reverb type is chosen, nice bright lights clearly signify your changes to the time, delay, chorus, phase, reverb type etc., as well as handy input/output meters on the hardware that mirror input/output settings on the plugin in your DAW.
Installing the plugin itself is easy enough, and I’d recommend downloading the manual while you’re there. Because of the long list of adjustable parameters and options, it can be confusing to get your head around at first. The labelling on the hardware isn’t particularly clear, and it took a little investigating to determine what was being changed, turned up and turned off within the plugin. Once you’re past that though, you can really shape your reverbs. The DVR250-DT offers a heap of options such as different input transformers, as well as lower resolution reverbs for a grainier sound - something that’s particularly analogue sounding. The thing I love about the plugin is how far TC has gone to emulate the sounds we’ve all heard on hit records. They’re not always blatantly clear, but they assist in helping elements of a mix sit together like nothing else, especially for digital reverbs.
Overall, the DVR250-DT is a complete reverb and effect solution for a mix engineer of any level. The presets are entirely usable when mixed in, but the sheer level of detail you can get into can leave you with precise reverbs and effects than can serve any purpose you need them to. This is, of course, a blessing and a curse as you can easily wormhole into endlessly tweaking. The bright lights and meters let you know what you’re doing, and it’s handy to have a product that you can set and tweak with hardware instead of a computer mouse. Having a tangible piece of hardware is a great addition, especially when there’s even more options within the plugin itself. The DVR250-DT is yet another TC Electronic product that has made its way onto my wish list.
Hits and Misses
Lots of options
Handy tangible hardware
Parameters and control can be daunting or confusing