New Toys: Black Rooster Audio RO-140 Plate Reverb

Black Rooster's very first reverb plugin is a recreation of the classic, German-made EMT, 140ST Plate that originally cost $7,000 in 1957 for the mono version; it used tube amplifiers and weighed 425 pounds.

The RO-140 is modeled on the EMT but has something totally new: a choice of six different plate materials: gold, silver, bronze, aluminum, titanium, and steel. Changing the plate's metal is interesting and I'm getting use to this parameter as a good way to customize a reverb sound and save it as a preset!

Another all new feature is the ability to control the physical size of the plate from Small to Large using the Dynamic Plate Size Controller. Decay time is also adjustable using the Damper +/- buttons.

Other controls are: Pre-Delay of up to 500ms; I find pre-delay useful for orchestral string sections and brass. RO-140 also adds the ability to gain stage both the input and output of the reverb. There is an adjustable 10Hz to 1kHz high pass filter, plus a Dry/Wet control provided if you use it as an insert.

I discovered the true nature of RO-140 when dialing in a reverb for lead and backing vocals in my mixing. I liked that you may set up the reverb in mono like the original so the reverb is directly behind and mixed in with the singer's voice and not spread out left and right. You can also set it to full stereo as like the later model plates that used two transducers to pickup the vibrating plate.

By nature, plate reverbs are a bright sound but you can use the three-band equalizer to shape it any way you want. I like using this broad EQ when using RO-140 as an inserted effect. Inserted on electric guitar tracks, the EQ and plate reverb act together as a finished sound.

A good plugin to have in your collection, Black Rooster RO-140 runs Native in AAX, VST, AU hosts and sells for $69.99 in a special introductory sale. It runs on Macs OS 10.9 or newer (but not yet Big Sur) and on PCs Windows 7 or newer.