Klanghelm TENS is a new studio spring reverb plugin based on physical modeling and TENS Jr. is a stripped-down free version of it.
The plugin market is colorful and diverse. Free, but also premium plugins for several hundred $/€. There is something for every budget. Some exceptions make premium plugins at budget level like ValhallaDSP or Klanghelm. The latter is best known for its mixing and mastering plugins at ridiculously low prices.
After a long time without a major release, Klanghelm is now returning with a new plugin. Even in a double pack. Once commercial and a free plugin. It’s all about spring reverbs.
TENS is a new studio reverb plugin that is physically modeled after the range of high-end studio reverb units (BX10, BX20, BX25) by AKG in the 70s/80s. According to Klanghelm, they had a unique design for the time:
As opposed to classic spring reverbs found in guitar amps, these units were based on the company’s own patented proprietary design principle, which allowed various connected spring elements of different lengths and wire diameter to vibrate inside a small isolated space.
Klanghelm’s new effect plugin emulates these vintage spring reverbs in detail but offers more modern features not available on the original hardware.
It starts with a wider range of decay time, going from 0.2 seconds up to 40 seconds in the TENS plugin. Each tank of TENS models also outputs a stereo signal instead of a mono, making it more flexible.
TENS features various models based on these unique AKG spring reverbs. Besides selecting them, it offers various options to manipulate each model with various controls: tension, whoosh, and metallic. This allows you to craft your own AKG-style reverb sound.
Then, you can find an optional (pre-) amp saturator that can be played freely in the signal chain. It has a dedicated drive and timbre control. Great for adding warmth and vintage character to it.
Another major upgrade compared to the original is the built-in modulation engine. It features an LFO and envelope follower powered by a three-slot modulation engine to add movement and life to your reverbs.
The modulation engine allows you to modulate every continuous parameter of the engine. With the LFO, you can achieve various unusual results for a reverb including tremolos, chorus, vibrato, or phase-like sounds.
The envelope follower, on the other side, is triggerable with various signals (input, output, external sidechain), and is great for ducking effects, or shaping the signal.
Like the original, TENS is capable of creating “deep, organic, complex, rich, and smooth” spring reverbs. But even more versatile and flexible than the originals from AKG
Klanghelm TENS Jr.
With TENS Jr., there is also a free version available. It’s the little brother with just a single model, the model 5 – tank A.
TENS Jr. is a stripped-down version with fewer features but with the same quality. It’s also full in stereo and gives you decay times from 0.5 up to 20 seconds. Adjustable with the big fader.
Further, it gives you control over the pre-delay and mix. Additionally, you can shape it with the character slider to add more warmth or brightness.
Klanghelm says that it has a plate-like character as it offers very high reverb density, fast build-up, and very low “boing” artifacts. Sound demos are available on the official website.
The Klanghelm journey continues. I’m happy to see that the developer has a new plugin. What I’m already hearing sounds very good. And big like for staying true to his super fair price model. TENS is also super affordable.
Klanghelm TENS is available now for 24€ and runs as a VST, VST3, AU, and AAX plugin on macOS (native Apple Silicon + Intel) and Windows. TENS Jr. is a free download. The commercial version is protected with a simple license, no dongle or big registration software needed.
More information here: Klanghelm