The Blade Runner soundtrack, composed in 1982 by Vangelis, is truly a masterpiece of all things science fiction. It is dark and dreamy, perfectly complimenting the film’s futuristic noir setting. By 1982’s standards Vangelis had an extremely advanced arsenal of toys at his disposal. Combining the Yamaha CS-80 with the Lexicon 224 Digital Reverb, Vangelis painted lush audio dreamscapes that still mesmerize listeners today. While both the CS-80 and Lexicon 224 have recent software plugin conversions, Propellerhead’s Reason is my DAW of choice, so I set out to recreate Vangelis’ epic Blade Runner reverb using the highly versatile RV7000.
The first step to duplicating the Lexicon’s rich, lush, long decay is setting the algorithm to Hall with a decay of around 6 or 7 seconds. Next, adjusting HF Damp to 50 and HI EQ to 0 allows for the high frequency intricacies of the original signal to shine without bleeding over into the reverb’s decay. A safe starting place for the Dry-Wet dial is 50, but for that thick spaced out decay don’t be afraid to push it further. It really depends on how much you want to transform your original signal.
For the Hall parameters the goal is to make the decay as rich and smooth as possible to obtain the Blade Runner dreaminess. Max out the hall size to 39.6 m along with diffusion to 127 and set the room shape to “three” or “four”. Set ER->Late and ER Level to 0/null as well as Predelay to 0 ms. Finally, I find that the mod amount sounds pleasing at around 60%, increasing from here tends to start throwing off the richness around the tail end of the decay.
If your main signal is within the realm of a mid to high frequency, or say middle C and up, start by setting the Low Gain to around 3.7 dB. Next set the Low Freq to 1,000 Hz. Set the Param Gain to -18.0, the Param Freq to 16,000 Hz, and Param Q to 7.0. These settings create a very comfortable warmth behind these mid to high freqs. However, if dealing with an original signal that is a lower frequency you may find these settings to cause some muddiness. To correct this, change the Low Gain to -18. Next change the Low Freq to 50Hz. From here, bring the Low Frequency up to your liking to carve out the low frequencies in the reverb’s decay causing low frequency muddiness.
Below is a “before and after” example of how these settings sound on a raw Vangelis-like synth patch.