Korg DRV 1000 Digital Reverb
Stereo digital reverb! Under £350! So what do you get?
You get eight reverb programs on the Pattern dial, and a further eight time lengths on a second dial. Each reverb pattern can thus have eight different times, giving a total of 64 possible settings. Reverberation times vary between a minimum of 200mS (for Room) and a maximum of 10 seconds (for Large Hall).
There are neither memories nor MIDI facilities on the DRV-1000; if you want to change the sound, you need to perform an old-fashioned analogue hands-on-knobs operation (if you'll pardon the expression).
Apart from Pattern and Time, the rest of the front panel holds a Level control with red and green LEDs, a Mix knob, a High Frequency damp button, and a Cancel bypass. Simple.
The Patterns are Small Hall ("an approx. 500 seat music hall"), Large Hall, Room ("non-linear reverb for depth without muddy sound"), Garage ("concrete room sound"), Vocal Plate, Instrument Plate, Gated Reverb, and Reverse.
Both Hall settings handle guitar and voice cleanly, though busy drum machines tend to stir up the mud a little, confusing the aural image. Room and Garage are better suited to percussion and harder instrumental sounds, though even they aren't absolutely ideal. The Vocal Plate is noticeably smoother and warmer than the Instrumental Plate.
I wasn't quite as struck with the Gate and Reverse patterns - they needed a lot of subtle level tweaking to make them useable on any but the simplest rhythm patterns. Too often they seemed to blur percussive sounds.
There's an interesting addition to the DRV that seems to indicate it's intended for live use: there's a 'Long On' footswitch-activated feature which allows you to switch immediately to the longest reverb time in the pattern you are using - like a piano sustain pedal. Nice touch.
I have two complaints. Firstly, the Input and Outputs are a trifle intolerant of careless level setting. Secondly, I wasn't totally convinced by the machine's capacity to cope with drum sounds: the longer time settings were uncomfortable and not wholly useful, often adding a reverberant note behind the kit.
Still, considering the DRV-1000 as a whole, these are relatively minor quibbles - there are other Pattern/Time combinations that can cope adequately with drumming noises. Compromises have been made for the price, but these have been made in areas that do not affect the budget home recordist, ie MIDI.
The Korg isn't as rich as its nearest competitor, the £395 Midiverb, nor is it as cheap as the £250 newie, the Microverb. However, falling between these two stools, it does work. And well.
Review by Jon Lewin
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