Watch any seasoned electronic music producer in the studio and I’ll bet money that they make use of reverb. It’s one of those effects that many producers can’t live without. You can take a painfully dry sound and breathe life into it with some subtle use of reverb. It can help blend a raw hihat into your song better or add that slight touch to your lead synth line, making it sound fuller and fatter. There are plenty of uses for reverb plugins, and I’ll discuss that in a later blog post. For now though, I want to shine light on some of the great reverb plugins out there in the music world today. How do I define the term ‘great’? Any plugin that allows me to achieve desired results fast, or that I find myself coming back to time and time again.
Out Of The Box
It should be noted that some of the standard reverb plugins that come packaged with your DAW are brilliant. You can do a lot with Logic’s and Ableton’s reverbs, and it’s probably best to experiment with those units before venturing into paid software. But, sometimes we’re looking for a specific sound that you just can’t achieve out of the box. Alternatively, it could be that everything is starting to sound the same. If you use the same plugin on every track, eventually you’ll be making songs that sound similar in tone. Whatever your reasons, the following plugins are worth at least a look. Keep in mind they’re in no particular order.
1. Voxengo OldSkoolVerb – Free
If you’re on a budget, nothing beats a free reverb. In my years of producing, I’ve come to really appreciate Voxengo’s software, and it just so happens that they offer a free reverb plugin called OldskoolVerb. The plugin offers the standard plate, hall, and room sounds, and provides a variety of parameters to tweak, but not so many that it becomes confusing. Download it here.
2. Softube Spring Reverb – $99
There are times where the only effect that can do your sound justice is a spring reverb. Unless you happen to love that twangy guitar sound, you probably won’t be using a spring reverb everyday, but it pays to have a great one in your mixing kit. Look no further than Softube’s Spring Reverb plugin. At only $99, it won’t break your bank account. Here’s the link to buy and listen to audio samples.
3. Waves Renaissance Reverb
Waves has made a name for itself with making high quality plugins. Of their reverb effects, the Renaissance plugin works wonders. It’s effective, sounds professional, and is simple enough that you can slap it on a channel and get the desired results in seconds. It sells for $99, get it here.
4. 112dB Redline Reverb
This particular reverb uses only one algorithm, yet the selling point is how much you can tweak the particular sound. It’s a beauty, and the reverb itself sounds clean and airy. Buy it at only $149 and see for yourself.
5. Softube TSAR-1
This reverb unit was made to sound specifically like vintage reverbs. The name comes from its True Stereo Algorithm, which apparently is what makes it sound so full of character. It boasts a load of presets as well. Here’s a link for more information as well as audio samples.
6. D16 Group’s Toraverb
This reverb is cheap. Only $35! And it’s a steal because the sounds you can get out of this plugin are worth at least double the cost. The Toraverb offers a lush, dense reverb that makes wonderful tails for pads, drums, and many other elements. More info here.
7. Lexicon PCM Native Reverb Plug-in Bundle
Lexicon is the name many producers think of when discussing professional sounding reverbs. There are seven reverbs included, and each of them sound incredible. If you’re on a budget, you may struggle to pay for the $599 price tag, but the sounds you’ll get from each plugin are top notch. The seven units are Chamber, Room, Hall, Random Hall, Concert Hall, Plate, and Vintage Plate. Buy the bundle here.
That rounds off this reverb list. If you like what you are seeing, be sure to go pick up some of these reverb effects.
Bonus: One of my favorite reverbs (and one that was also recommended to me by a respected mastering engineer) is the Valhalla VintageVerb. Every reverb by Valhalla is only $50, and all of them sound incredible. For adding atmospheric textures, try the Valhalla Shimmer.You can buy the Valhalla VintageVerb here, and the Shimmer here.