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Exploring Spaces in Spire Studio

by Charley Ruddell, iZotope Contributor June 10, 2019
Spaces in Spire Studio

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One section of Spire Studio’s recording effects is dedicated to “Spaces.” Spaces are reverb and delay simulators that mimic natural acoustic environments. They are an excellent alternative for Spire’s main sources of reverb/delay like the Capratone and Purple Phaze pedals, or the Verb ‘65 amp simulator.

Spaces are ideal for acoustic instruments using a microphone, voice, and/or keyboards that plug “direct-in.” Some of the more delayed spaces also work great for electric guitars, or any instrument that aims to create a strong delay.

Here is a simple breakdown of the different spaces, their sound options, and their ideal functions.

Acoustic Shaper

Acoustic Shaper is a deep reverb that allows you to control the size and tone of the tail with the “Shine” and “Shape” toggles. Shine alters the tone, while Shape alters the tail size. It’s ideal for creating a large and wet space.

Spire Studio's Acoustic Shaper

Warm Voice

Warm Voice is a subtle reverb that is perfect for recording vocals or acoustic instruments. The “Character” toggle allows you to control the warmth of the signal; the “Amount” controls the effect gain. Use this for soft acoustic instruments, or for tracking something with a soft dynamic.

Spire Studio's Warm Voice

Intimate Space Vibes

Even though it acts as a delay effect, Intimate Space Vibes is similar to Warm Voice in that it’s a subtle effect ideal for acoustic instruments. “Amount” controls the amount of delay, and “Tone” control the high end and low end of the tail. Side note: the rhythm of the delay is set to the tempo of your project.

Spire Studio's Intimate Space Vibes

Deep Space Vibes

Deep Space Vibes is a heavy reverb effect. Use this for creating a large amount of space or for creating a saturated environment. The “Amount” and “Tone” knobs control the gain and EQ respectively.

Spire Studio's Deep Space Vibes

Vintage Dub Echo

This unique effect mimics the tape echo commonly found in dub and reggae music. It’s high-delay effect and tape-worn feel make it ideal for expansive passages. The “Delay” toggle controls the delay gain, while the “Flavor” controls the vintage approach (more worn out and warm vs. less). Side note: the rhythm of the delay is set to the tempo of your project.

Spire Studio's Vintage Dub Echo

When applying spaces to your tracks, try splitting them into these three categories to better identify their function: Intimate, Distant, and Expansive. To clarify, using combinations of the spaces can yield either an intimate, distant, or expansive feel in your tracks. Let’s take a look at some examples of the spaces in action to break down these categories and find how to make spaces work for you.

Man's face singing in front of a modern condenser microphone and popup filter.
In Front of a Microphone

Expansive

The following example shows how to approach spaces with an expansive angle.  

The saturated, delayed layered guitars are plugged into the Vintage Dub Echo. The delay toggle is turned all the way up, and the flavor is about halfway. The lead guitars are plugged into the Acoustic Shaper and Deep Space Vibes. The shine and shape are cranked on the Acoustic Shaper; the amount is cranked and the tone is halfway on Deep Space Vibes.

The combination of Vintage Dub Echo and Deep Space Vibes make for an expansive environment that feels large and full of space. The addition of the Acoustic Shaper adds a generous touch of reverb to the saturated delays.

Intimate

This example explores a more intimate angle.

The two acoustic guitars are plugged into the Warm Voice space with the character and amount toggles turned about halfway. The lead guitar is using the Acoustic Shaper around halfway on the Shape and Shine toggles.

Warm Voice makes acoustic instruments sound alive and present while providing a soft reverb to gently balance in the mix. For a more folk or singer/songwriter approach, Warm Voice is always a great option for a soft, natural sounding reverb.

Distant

This example uses the spaces to feel distant.

The rhythm guitars are plugged into the Acoustic Shaper—both toggles are cranked—and Intimate Space Vibes (amount around halfway, tone turned all the way up). The lead guitars are using the Acoustic Shaper (shine and shape turned all the way up) and Deep Space Vibes (amount and tone are cranked).

The combination of these spaces creates distance between the guitars and the rhythm section making the mix feel faraway. Relying on the Acoustic Shaper and Intimate Space Vibes will give your instruments plenty of space and distance.

Conclusion

Whether you’re searching for a distant, intimate, or expansive effects sound, Spire’s Space recording effects make finding any combination of reverb and delay easy and simple to navigate. Try the Acoustic Shaper for a wetter, more faraway feel, or perhaps the Warm Voice space for all of your acoustic needs. Try the Vintage Dub Echo or the Deep Space Vibes when you feel like your mix needs enough space to explode.

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