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Instrument plugin built-in reverb vs dedicated reverb plugin Virtual Instrument Plugins
Old 4 weeks ago
  #1
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Scoox's Avatar
Instrument plugin built-in reverb vs dedicated reverb plugin

Here's a question that I've been meaning to ask for a while. Many synth plugins come with effects, delay and reverb being the most common. I can see how these built-in FX make synth presets sound nicer by themselves, but are they best avoided in the context of a project and instead use dedicated reverb and delay plugins?

The way I think of it is, if I'm trying to create a sense of space, using external FX allows all my instruments to share the same space; if I use an instrument's built-in reverb and delay, that instrument will live in its own isolated world and the mix might end up sounding like patchwork.

What's your workflow here?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #2
This is the mastering forum...
Old 4 weeks ago
  #3
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Scoox's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hermetech Mastering View Post
This is the mastering forum...
I suppose I should have put it under Newbie audio engineering + production question zone, but posting on the wrong forum at GS is still quite easy with such silly forum names. It's not really my fault that GS forums are a bit of a mess:

The Forums > So much gear, so little time > Drums
The Forums > So much gear, so little time > Studio Business


Of course, Drums and Studio Business are the same sort of thing, and naturally belong in a forum inuitively named So much gear, so little time, where you could discuss pretty much any thought that goes through your mind.

Or, High end and Low end theory, which leave it up to the user to decide which of these two dump buckets their topic is worthy of.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
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Scoox's Avatar
Instrument plugin built-in reverb vs dedicated reverb plugin

Here's a question that I've been meaning to ask for a while. Many synth plugins come with effects, delay and reverb being the most common. I can see how these built-in FX make Synth Presets sound nicer by themselves, but are they best avoided in the context of a project and instead use dedicated reverb and delay plugins?

The way I think of it is, if I'm trying to create a sense of space, using external FX allows all my instruments to share the same space; if I use an instrument's built-in reverb and delay, that instrument will live in its own isolated world and the mix might end up sounding like patchwork.

What's your workflow here?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
Allow me to respond as I have my preferences on this as I make music at weekends, despite being in the wrong forum at the mo.

Personally speaking I am happy to use the in built effects on 4 VSTi synths generally, sometimes you get a nice surprise though with another synth.

Parawave Rapid
Serum
Lu-SH-101
Sylenth1

For these 4 synths the effects sections sound high quality and gel very well with the respective synth engine. Other synths
I feel seem to have effects that do not gel with the synth and do not enhance to the overall sound, commonly delays and reverb sound like they are not hi fi and do not mix well using the wet/dry parameters. They seem somewhat disconnected from the synth in some way. So it is straight to the sends/return and occasionally inserts using external synths typically for those.

I greatly prefer to use external effects when they need to be heard for most other soft synths I own. To the point where it can make a synth sound around 30-40pct more acceptable in a mix. It also depends on your taste related t the external plug ins you have available, as they very much range in quality and tone as well.

Much is also to do with what sound you are sending into the effects of course and the overall sound design/goal and how much the effects section is part of the sound design.

So in short listen really well and compare with your own external effects. Very subjective but that is my offering.

cheers
Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
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Scoox's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by SASMastering View Post
I feel seem to have effects that do not gel with the synth and do not enhance to the overall sound, commonly delays and reverb sound like they are not hi fi and do not mix well using the wet/dry parameters. They seem somewhat disconnected from the synth in some way. So it is straight to the sends/return and occasionally inserts using external synths typically for those.
A nice reverb can bring almost anything to live. Thanks for your reply

Mods feel free to move this to relevant forum, apologies.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
Quote:
but are they best avoided in the context of a project and instead use dedicated reverb and delay plugins?
There is no best one to use or best one to avoid. Each reverb or any other effect is used when its deemed necessary for its sound. Every reverb can be needed just like every reverb may not be needed. Its all about the sound you want.

1.) If the reverb in the synth gets you the sound you want, then that's the one you use for that specific project.
2.) If the reverb plugin get you the sound you want, then that's the one you use

what you use is up to you and how you want it to sound. Its all about personnel preferences and the sound you want. That is all.
There is no right or wrong effect to use. Its dependent on the sound you want and your personnel preferences
Old 4 weeks ago
  #8
There is no best one to use or best one to avoid. Each reverb or any other effect is used when its deemed necessary for its sound. Every reverb can be needed just like every reverb may not be needed. Its all about the sound you want.

1.) If the reverb in the synth gets you the sound you want, then that's the one you use for that specific project.
2.) If the reverb plugin get you the sound you want, then that's the one you use

what you use is up to you and how you want it to sound. Its all about personnel preferences and the sound you want. That is all.
There is no right or wrong effect to use. Its dependent on the sound you want and your personnel preferences
Old 4 weeks ago
  #9
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Patient Minds's Avatar
95% of the time I turn off the synth's reverb, as I like things to reside the in same space and going though the same reverb. The other 5% of the time, I'll have some of the synth's reverb turned on but will still being going though the bus reverb. This is usually when I want a sound to be a little wetter/distant than the others.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #10
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CJ said it.

What's best and for who. Who's judgement tells you one reverb is better than another, the engineer or the audience. If you pick the audience, how many even know what reverb is, if you choose the engineer, 10:1 he'll favor the tools he owns because his experience is going to be best using those tools.

I'm not a big keyboard player but I do own several plus I've messed with midi and virtual instruments a bit. The keyboards typically have their own built in verbs and are at best mediocre for getting common sounds. Enough to be convincing for the voices they complement. I even have some keyboards which let you switch between plate, hall, chamber, echo etc which is kind of neat.

Where they do fail is when it comes down to creating a realistic sound scape within a mix. A keyboard is only one instrument in a mix and you may have several instruments in a single room. When you build a stereo mic you often want to have several instruments within the same room. That's where the plugin comes in.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #11
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Owen L T's Avatar
In the context of a DAW user, I find the reverbs present in soft-synth plugins to be a royal PITA. My hunch is that I'm not alone in this, as the more forward-looking soft-synths are beginning to have sticky FX-bypass options, where you can mute, say, the synth's built in reverb and other FX while flipping through presets, whereas previously every soft synth was set up so that as soon as you flipped to the next preset, all the FX would re-activate. For instance, I think (but can't swear to it), that both Serum and Spire have options to hard-disable the FX, and possibly one or two other.

As to why I, personally, consider it to be a PITA: because I already have my preferred short/medium/long reverbs available in my session, and THAT's what I want to sent my synths to. Also, if I'm compressing or EQ-ing, or doing anything else to my synth, I don't want all of that being done to the synth's reverb tail, which is what happens if synth-plus-reverb are coming out of the plugin. On the other hand, I DO want to be able to EQ the reverb separately - most often hi and low-passed - which tends also not to be an option with built-in reverbs, though maybe some include a hi-pass filter on the reverb section.

Honestly, as spoiled as we are for soft-synth choices, the presence or absence of a sticky FX bypass will often determine whether something is in my list of go-to synths or not.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #12
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With Halion's sounds, most of the acoustics have reverb that you have to either bypass, or dig deep in the tree structure to take it off.

However, many of the sounds kinda sit right with the reverb. For example, piano patches always have a reverb. Once you bypass it, the sound dries up like jerky.
But... often replacing that reverb with a fancy 3rd party reverb send, does not always sound as good. There is a different character to it, it's not the character of the patch I liked.

In those cases, I bite the bullet.

What's bad, is down the line, I forget about internal synth reverbs because I forget anything not in my channel strip inserts.
So, yeah LOL I have definitely compressed, distorted and delayed patches with reverb without realizing it. I've probably even resent reverb patches to one of my reverb sends!
Old 3 weeks ago
  #13
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Scoox's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Owen L T View Post
In the context of a DAW user, I find the reverbs present in soft-synth plugins to be a royal PITA. My hunch is that I'm not alone in this, as the more forward-looking soft-synths are beginning to have sticky FX-bypass options, where you can mute, say, the synth's built in reverb and other FX while flipping through presets, whereas previously every soft synth was set up so that as soon as you flipped to the next preset, all the FX would re-activate. For instance, I think (but can't swear to it), that both Serum and Spire have options to hard-disable the FX, and possibly one or two other.

As to why I, personally, consider it to be a PITA: because I already have my preferred short/medium/long reverbs available in my session, and THAT's what I want to sent my synths to. Also, if I'm compressing or EQ-ing, or doing anything else to my synth, I don't want all of that being done to the synth's reverb tail, which is what happens if synth-plus-reverb are coming out of the plugin. On the other hand, I DO want to be able to EQ the reverb separately - most often hi and low-passed - which tends also not to be an option with built-in reverbs, though maybe some include a hi-pass filter on the reverb section.

Honestly, as spoiled as we are for soft-synth choices, the presence or absence of a sticky FX bypass will often determine whether something is in my list of go-to synths or not.
Your reply resonates with me. I've heard many synths that sound like poop without the built-in reverb and delay. Obviously there are some FX that are ok inside the synth—filters, distortion, etc.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #14
Gear Guru
 

Sure it's up to you and if it sounds good it is good, and all that. I can only speak for myself, but most of the time, I avoid built-in reverbs like the plague.

To me reverb is usually a "mix" effect, not an "instrument" effect. In other words, I apply reverb to instruments to help position them with respect to each other. Very often instruments in the mix 'share' a reverb. It is often a problem when a reverb sound is 'baked in' to a sound and then you want to use reverb to help blend that instrument into the rest of the mix.

Even the most famous baked-in reverb - the spring reverb inside a guitar amp - can cause this problem and I often lobby for a 'less is more' approach to amp reverbs because of this.

The other thing is that such built in reverbs are frequently kind of cheesy sounding... and why would you expect otherwise? Really nice reverb plug-ins are quite often CPU-intensive. The coders for a synth are often looking to lighten such a load. How likely is it that a 'comes with the synth' reverb is going to be the equal of a stand-alone verb?
Old 3 weeks ago
  #15
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To me there is one case when the internal effects of anything (Softsynth, hardware synth, whatever) is an advantage. When it interacts with the synths input.

One good example is BFD3 can have reverb interact with the trigger level where you can set the curve. Once MIDI has been converter to Audio, the interaction is different.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #16
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Scoox's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by elegentdrum View Post
To me there is one case when the internal effects of anything (Softsynth, hardware synth, whatever) is an advantage. When it interacts with the synths input.

One good example is BFD3 can have reverb interact with the trigger level where you can set the curve. Once MIDI has been converter to Audio, the interaction is different.
True. Specifically built-in reverb, can work well for artistic purposes, but not for creating a cohesive sense of space. For that I find myself reaching more and more for external FX now that I've been doing this for a while.

I've always wondered though—but never tested—if built-in FX would be more resource-friendly. Some instrument plugins have nice built-in FX, and if only I could pop those out individually and slap them on a bus I might be more inclined to use them.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elegentdrum View Post
To me there is one case when the internal effects of anything (Softsynth, hardware synth, whatever) is an advantage. When it interacts with the synths input.

One good example is BFD3 can have reverb interact with the trigger level where you can set the curve. Once MIDI has been converter to Audio, the interaction is different.
Yep, great point.

For ex. you can also get NI Battery to have a degree of input sensitivity with the internal modulation wired to FX, or even velocity filter shaping, that is impossible to get externally.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scoox View Post
True. Specifically built-in reverb, can work well for artistic purposes, but not for creating a cohesive sense of space. For that I find myself reaching more and more for external FX now that I've been doing this for a while.

I've always wondered though—but never tested—if built-in FX would be more resource-friendly. Some instrument plugins have nice built-in FX, and if only I could pop those out individually and slap them on a bus I might be more inclined to use them.
I have seen a lot of videos with people using Serum's reverb as a character part of the synth patch.

Gladiator's internal FX are also largely more about character than space.

Arturia's internal FX has gotten better. Quite often, I find them hard to replace, but yes It would be nice to have some sort of modular 'plug out' system where I could spread them around in a chain... like I'm not so sure I really want to compress after an amp/cabinet, reverb or internal delay. Not that I really need to compress synths that often, but to have the option.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #19
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Sigma's Avatar
i find synth reverb cheesy ..i usually ask for the player to shut off all efx and then i just recreate them but better
Old 3 weeks ago
  #20
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Great topic; I never have understood or liked this "extra built-in" stuff that some plugins throw at you. Marketing goofiness.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scoox View Post
The way I think of it is, if I'm trying to create a sense of space, using external FX allows all my instruments to share the same space; if I use an instrument's built-in reverb and delay, that instrument will live in its own isolated world and the mix might end up sounding like patchwork.
That is one reason to avoid them. I think you had this figured out before you finished asking the question.

joe nailed the other reason: generally speaking, a VSTi's "comes with the package" reverb isn't likely to be as good (or versatile, or etc) as a dedicated reverb plugin. It's kind of like the old business saying "stick to your knitting" - if I want the best pizza in town, I don't go to a burger joint. That doesn't mean a burger joint's pizza might not be good, but realistically, the smart money is on a pizza joint (mom n pop place btw, not some chain pizza nastiness).

The only time I've used any is if I'm trying out a new plugin, as it's a quick and easy way to check the sounds in a basic way vs adding some in a track.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scoox View Post
I suppose I should have put it under Newbie audio engineering + production question zone, but posting on the wrong forum at GS is still quite easy with such silly forum names. It's not really my fault that GS forums are a bit of a mess:

The Forums > So much gear, so little time > Drums
The Forums > So much gear, so little time > Studio Business


Of course, Drums and Studio Business are the same sort of thing, and naturally belong in a forum inuitively named So much gear, so little time, where you could discuss pretty much any thought that goes through your mind.

Or, High end and Low end theory, which leave it up to the user to decide which of these two dump buckets their topic is worthy of.
Preach it brother. This site and the mods are a great group, but unfortunately the train wreck that is the forum sections and names isn't about to change. Oh well; if that's the worst thing to say about the site, I think they're doing OK lol
Old 3 weeks ago
  #22
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For me a lot of Synth reverbs e.c. are effect that give the synth a sound (something like an overdrive on a guitar).
I use external reverb for space, soundstage.
But whatever sounds best or fits.
Old 3 weeks ago
  #23
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Scoox's Avatar
Obviously "use what sounds best", and some built-in reverbs sound great, but from a workflow perspective it's easier to get consistent results with external reverb unless, as said, it's part of sound design. Plus, generally, dedicated reverb pluggos are more flexible.

In most cases, built-in reverb really just helps sell the plugin, because dry stuff sounds much more exciting with a good helping of reverb sauce all over it.
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