Black Rooster Audio recently released a new free AAX / VST / AU plugin they call RO-GOLD Vintage Gold-Plate Reverb.

Reverb, as you well know, is an in-demand effect, whether in the studio or on the stages of the world. That’s also what makes it “a dime a dozen” effect – whether free or premium, there are just so many options out there.

How does RO-Gold Vintage Gold-Plate Reverb stack up? What did we think of it?

Keep reading to find out…

Presentation

RO-GOLD box artThis section of the article isn’t about the plugin’s graphical user interface (GUI). We cover that later under the heading of “User Interface.”

Rather, this is where I dissect the product’s marketing – namely, RO-GOLD’s landing page.

Now, it should be said upfront that the Black Rooster Audio team obviously knows what they’re doing when it comes to web and graphic design. Their website is both simple and clear, while exuding a sense of professionalism amateur websites simply don’t.

It shouldn’t come as any surprise, then, that the RO-GOLD landing page is on point. It features:

  • A clear call to action to download the free plugin in exchange for your email
  • 3D mockup of the product box (this gets extra points in our books)
  • Video clips demonstrating what the reverb can do
  • A well-written, informative product description that isn’t overwhelming (always good for bloggers, podcasters, media, etc.)
  • The gorgeous GUI
  • Audio samples
  • Product features
  • DAW compatibility – always reassuring

In a world where free plugins often don’t have their own landing pages, are completely lacking product descriptions, or are even relegated to footnotes (instead of their own dedicated pages), what Black Rooster Audio has done is above and beyond.

You can download the free plugin here.

User Experience

Having signed up to download the plugin, I was asked to register a new account with Black Rooster Audio. This is relatively standard practice nowadays.

I then had to download the Windows installer for the Black Rooster Audio app. I haven’t had a good experience with proprietary apps (Spitfire Audio comes to mind), so this initially worried me a bit.

As it turns out, it’s a simple installation wizard, the kind most applications use. So, my fears were alleviated relatively quickly. I went ahead and installed a few freebies, including, of course, RO-GOLD.

Once installed, I was prompted to enter my serial number (can be found on the “License Manager” page on the Black Rooster Audio website) to unlock the plugin.

Sound

First impression – the RO-GOLD reverb is very rich. I think it would be a rare occasion I’d need to turn the dry/wet dial passed 15 to 20%, because tracks start to sound like they’re underwater beyond that point (though there are techniques where 100% wetness could be utilized).

I first tested out the reverb on an acoustic guitar. It took me a minute or two of messing around to learn the impact the controls would have on the sound before dialing in a “sweet spot.”

Creating a nice, authentic sounding atmosphere on a dry acoustic guitar proved simple enough.

I also tried RO-GOLD on dry vocals with consistent results. It didn’t take hours of tweaking to find settings that complemented the voice.

There is no mistaking that RO-GOLD is a bit of a one trick pony. What it does, it does very well. It delivers a vintage plate reverb that sounds good and is easy to use. If you like the sound, you will enjoy it. But if you’re looking for a different sound, you’d want to find a different reverb, because RO-GOLD doesn’t include multiple models.

Features

The RO-GOLD Vintage Gold-Plate Reverb comes with four primary controls – bass cut, damper, pre/delay, and dry/wet. For experienced producers, these parameters should be self-explanatory, but I’ll offer a bit of a personal take on these.

The dry/wet works just as expected. Turn the knob to the left and the effect will become more subtle. Turn it to the right and it will become more intense. And as I already said, it doesn’t take much for it to get very intense.

Pre/delay would basically be the length of the tail. You can shorten the reverberation by turning the knob to the left and lengthen it by turning it to the right (up to 500ms).

The damper affects the intensity of the pre/delay, where a setting of 1 would minimize and diminish the reverberation, almost as if you were making the room smaller. A setting of 10 would make it sound more like you’re playing in a concert hall.

Different damper settings work for different situations, but I usually found myself setting it somewhere between one and four. The “small room” effect is awesome, almost like a subtle doubler or chorusing effect.

Finally, we have the bass cut, which is quite subtle, but it’s obviously there to help you remove excess rumble from the reverb (the greater the intensity of the reverb, the more you’ll be able to hear the difference bass cut makes).

If you’re a guitarist like me, you could almost think of it as a “tone” knob, because spinning it to the left (towards 10Hz) will bring out more of the warmth, while turning it to the right will emphasize higher frequencies.

Besides that, you’ve got a few settings for knob mode, knob sensitivity, and GUI size (don’t miss the tiny settings button in the bottom right corner).

That’s it. RO-GOLD is a very simple reverb plugin. Even though presets would be nice, when it’s this easy to dial in your tones, it’s hardly necessary.

User Interface

RO-GOLD user interface

Whoa! The user interface is huge! I had to set it to XS (extra small) for it to fit my screens properly.

The user interface is obviously emulating classic rackmount gear, and not surprisingly, Black Rooster Audio has nailed it. They’ve managed to achieve a realistic, worn looking interface that’s the envy of countless plugins.

They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but the competition is fiercer than it’s ever been, so making a good first impression is key.

Personally, I always like to see a little more color in a GUI, but based on what they were seeking to emulate, it’s forgivable that it isn’t more visually dazzling. They kept it truer to the source material.

Compatibility

Black Rooster Audio says RO-GOLD Is compatible with:

  • Pro Tools
  • Studio One
  • Cubase
  • Reaper
  • Bitwig
  • Audition
  • Live
  • Logic
  • Digital Performer
  • FL Studio

I tested it with Waveform myself, and I can confirm it works with Waveform too.

RO-GOLD Vintage Gold-Plate Reverb in Action

Hear the reverb in action.

RO-GOLD Vintage Gold-Plate Reverb, The Verdict

In summary:

  • From the outset, RO-GOLD Vintage Gold-Plate Reverb presents very well – it has the outer coating of a professional plugin that makes you want to check out other Black Rooster Audio products (which is clearly the point)
  • Registering your account and installing the plugin isn’t as straightforward as the process of say, downloading a free plugin from PLUGINS 4 FREE, but overall, it was not a lengthy or frustrating process
  • True to form, the reverb has a very thick, vintage plate sound that should work nicely on vocals, drums, and instrument tracks alike
  • It’s a bit of a one trick pony, but did you really expect something else?
  • The feature set is ridiculously simple – if you know what you’re doing, you should be able to dial in desired tones in mere seconds or minutes
  • It has a simple but beautiful user interface, nailing that vintage “worn” look

You can download the free plugin here.