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The Press Desk 4th July 2016 04:07 PM

Best Reverb Plugins
 
Reverb plugins can simulate large acoustic spaces - sometimes historical, sometimes completely invented - and they can also emulate "classic" reverb devices spanning from the echo chambers of the 1950s to present day outboard hardware. Over the years, reverbs used on recordings have evolved from the simple use of well-designed concert halls to use of the aforementioned echo chambers, and beyond to metal reverb plates, echo springs, digital reverbs and impulse response (IR) simulators.

Just as every large hall has its own characteristic sound, so does each reverb device. Studio engineers want the latest and greatest gear available for their mix sessions and sometimes it's as simple as a "lo-fi cheap & dirty' reverb sound that gets the job done. Thanks to plugin technology, today's engineers have virtual access to concert halls worldwide plus a virtual rack filled with classic reverb units. Many mix engineers that have owned classic reverb units now use plugin versions instead, preferring their ease of use within DAW sessions and perfect recall of session settings over their notoriously difficult-to-repair vintage counterparts.

Here is how the Gearslutz community voted on our recent plugin reverb poll!


FIRST PLACE


 VintageVerb

ValhallaDSP VintageVerb


ValhallaDSP's Vintage Verb (or just "VVV") is a crafty piece of software that captured the hearts and minds of the Gearslutz community from its initial release in 2012. VVV is a vibe-rich plugin that comes with fifteen different reverberation options that can deliver basically any classic reverb mode - from metallic-resonant plates to luscious and everlasting halls, and more. Besides all the reverb modes it also features an interesting "Color" parameter based on "decades" (1970s, 80s and so on) which determines the bandwidth and modulation of the processed signal and thus if the resulting sound is brighter or darker. Along with the modes and colors it also features controls over the crucial aspects of reverb such as damping, modulation, early/late reflection amounts, shape and tone, and as with all ValhallaDSP plugins, VVV displays a very clean and uncluttered NASA-inspired interface. Speaking of brand-wide features, ValhallaDSP's uses a neat preset system, which allows users to easily share their settings through a simple copy/paste operation, and we know that there are many presets shared within threads on the Gearslutz forums, including some from the creator and reverb boffin Sean Costello himself. Besides the sheer sonic greatness and immense ease of use, the other defining aspect about VVV (and all ValhallaDSP plugins) is the extremely inviting price tag of just $50 USD, which makes it a must-own tool for anyone considering expanding their arsenal of reverb plugins. A no-brainer, really!




SECOND PLACE


 PCM Native Reverb Bundle

Lexicon PCM Native Reverb Bundle


Released back in 2009, this is one of the best cases of software that's here to stay, and even though they’re not 1:1 emulations of any particular existing reverb it’s safe to say that the PCM Native Reverb bundle greatly honors the legacy and sonic expectation of the Lexicon brand. The PCM Bundle brought the sought-after 'Lexicon sound' to our computers with seven plugins covering many of its classic algorithms, each of them with its own set of controls that allow for very deep tweaks. They're also packed with a good number of presets to instantly deliver those awesome touches of Lexicon reverb that we love so much. The PCM bundle gained instant popularity when it was released but the high price tag definitely made it unreachable to some, and even if comparatively speaking it costs a fraction of a PCM96 it still cost more than most could afford. Fortunately that situation has remedied itself in quite dramatic fashion and nowadays the bundle is way more affordable than it used to be, which shows that Lexicon is paying attention to the changes in the plugin landscape and has adjusted their strategy accordingly, making this excellent set of tools even more accessible and popular than ever.




THIRD PLACE


 ValhallaRoom

ValhallaDSP ValhallaRoom


It’s safe to say that when “reverb” is the subject ValhallaDSP has earned its place in the conversation. If first place wasn’t enough, Sean Costello has also secured third place on our list with his Valhalla Room (or VRoom) plugin, which is another excellent and capable reverb under the ValhallaDSP brand. While VVV focus on "vibey" and tone-rich sounds, VRoom offers a clean and precise take on reverberation, with more controls over each aspect of early and late reflections. VRoom features twelve types of reverbs ranging from small to huge sounding, and although its initial purpose was a focus on the more natural sounding side of room reverberation, somewhere along the way it got updated with more options and algorithms. Some of those algorithms, such as the "LV-426" and "Nostromus" are as pure sci-fi as their name suggests. The recognizably brand-wide interface, preset system and very friendly price tag are also present, making VRoom an extremely enticing option for the budget-savvy but with zero sacrifice in quality.




4 - Relab LX480

 LX480 Complete

Relab LX480 Complete


Relab's LX480 closely follows a "certain hardware unit" that is considered in some circles to be the most acclaimed digital reverb ever made, present on a myriad of records since its introduction in the 1980s. Relab took their time and took advantage of a prolonged development stage and first delivered a "lite" version of the plugin with the sole 'Random Hall' algorithm, which seemed to pay off in the end and enabled this small Danish company to deliver a stunning piece of full-featured software in the end. Relab’s aim was a 1:1 emulation that thoroughly covers every aspect of the original hardware, including all reverb modes, modulation. Even the the iconic remote control and simulated digital converters were transposed to the plugin. The LX480 also adds some extra goodies in the way of stereo manipulation, additional ER delay lines, more filters and a sampling resolution up to 96kHz. Partnered with the behemoth Slate Digital for distribution, Relab's LX480 is also accessible through a subscription service but those who may rightfully wish to own this amazing reverb plugin can still buy a license outright it at a very reasonable price - getting all the fun of an original 480L and none of the outrageous maintenance costs.



5 - Universal Audio EMT 140

 EMT 140 Classic Plate Reverberator Plug-In

Universal Audio EMT 140 Classic Plate Reverberator Plug-In


The UAD EMT 140 is a recreation of the EMT’s legendary German reverb of the late 1950s, a huge and heavy set of resonant metal plates weighing over 500 pounds. UAD has gone to great depths to analyze and model all the sonic characteristics and researched three distinct EMT 140 units from The Plant Studios in Sausalito, California. Their plugin offers those variations featuring two models from the classic hardware with historic components and one model which has been modified with modern Martech electronics. It also emulates the high-shelf and mechanical decay controls of the real units and as a plugin it features a convenient wet/dry blend control and a specifiable pre-delay from 0 to 250ms. UAD’s Herculean modeling efforts were fully endorsed by EMT Studiotechnik GmbH and the quality work has definitely paid off as the UAD EMT 140 gets mentioned in nearly every plate reverb plugin discussion since its introduction over six years ago, which is no surprise given how well executed and polished Universal Audio’s plugins always are. If you own a UAD card, this is the one to have.



6 - Exponential Audio PhoenixVerb

 PhoenixVerb Stereo Reverb

Exponential Audio PhoenixVerb Stereo Reverb


Former Lexicon designer Michael Carnes makes his way onto our list with his new company Exponential Audio and its excellent PhoenixVerb, a plugin that features a ‘polymorphic’ algorithm that can emulate basically any kind of reverb you can think of, and does so without any undesirable artifacts. PhoenixVerb sounds very natural and is great for more organic and ‘clean’ reverberation. The controls are divided to control the reverb attack, tail and early reflections separately and there are five filter options to tame each of those sections, which gives it a ton of flexibility and makes it a particularly excellent choice for sound design and post production. A good and helpful 'keyword-based' preset browser filled with a hefty number of settings assists users getting familiarized with all the controls of this excellent plugin. Carnes has been designing high-end reverbs for years and this is certainly the pinnacle of his work - check it out! Surround version also available.



7 - Acon Digital Verberate

 Verberate

Acon Digital Verberate


Acon Digital’s entry on our list aims to produce life-like reverberation with the Verberate plugin, a reverb that puts a simple but effective feature set at the fore and a clean and intuitive interface to boot. It all begins with the 'Early Reflections' Mode, which boasts eleven kinds of reverbs, from rooms and plates to halls and chambers and even an ‘outdoor’ setting. Then there are the usual reverb parameters to control time, size, pre-delay and modulation. Finally at the back end there’s a three-band frequency control for the decay and an output EQ to shape and sculpt the resulting sound. Verberate sounds very clean, with well-defined early reflections and dense reverb tails. Overall this is a very realistic reverb, which can suit sound design, music or post-production equally well. With a very affordable price tag it’s certainly a must try.



8 - Exponential Audio R2

 R2 Stereo Reverb

Exponential Audio R2 Stereo Reverb


Reverb wizard Michael Carnes strikes the list again with his superb R2 plugin. R2 should not be taken as a 'lesser' version of PhoenixVerb, however, as it definitely stands on its own merit. R2 is a slightly different proposal and leans more to the 'musical' side of the mix whereas PhoenixVerb would make for a more 'real' sounding acoustic space generator, so one complements the other nicely. Interface-wise, R2 shares the same elegant simplicity of PhoenixVerb but it’s even easier to use since there are fewer controls to deal with, enabling a very slick and efficient workflow where it doesn't take hours to set up a nice sounding reverb. R2's character is prominent and colourful, making it an excellent option for dense and lush reverbs that are great for music mixes. R2 also features chorus and gate functions which are particularly useful and extend its use considerably, making it a great option for anyone looking out for a characterful reverb for their productions. Surround version also available.



9 - Universal Audio AKG BX 20

 AKG BX 20 Spring Reverb Plug-In

Universal Audio AKG BX 20 Spring Reverb Plug-In


Another good throwback to the sheer physicality of the first era of artificial reverb units - perhaps not as dramatic as 500 pounds of metal but a physical reverberator nonetheless - the UAD AKG BX 20 revives the iconic spring reverb of the 1960s with its thick and warm sound. The AKG BX 20 is a true classic 'reference sound' when it comes to spring reverb. UAD analyzed a mint-condition unit belonging to acclaimed producer Jon Brion to deliver the best possible emulation, and they combined both convolution and algorithmic reverb techniques to create something that won AKG's stamp of approval. The UAD AKG BX 20 closely follows the original's mechanical and acoustic characteristics and features the two simulated reverb tanks of its namesake but additionally adds the possibility of combining the two for more stereo image options (yet it can still operate as a mono unit if that's what you need). UAD has once again taken full advantage of the plugin format to add useful features such as wet/dry balance, direct signal, muting and a low cut filter - all making the plugin as convenient as it should be to use. Another huge hit for Universal Audio and one that will likely stand the test of time to be a go-to choice when spring reverb plugins are required.



10 - Audio Ease Altiverb 7

 Altiverb 7

Audio Ease Altiverb 7


Our list wouldn't be complete without a plugin entirely based on convolution impulse response techniques, and our members think there is none better than Audio Ease's Altiverb and it's immense library of thousands of superbly recorded impulse responses. There is simply no other reverb out there that brings what Altiverb delivers in terms of real-world ambiences: including concert halls, cathedrals, a mosque, the actual Taj Mahal, an Egyptian tomb, a wooden shack in the middle of nowhere, Wembley Stadium, many recording studio live rooms and echo chambers and many hardware reverbs and effects from the past - whew! Audio Ease is on a never-ending process of expanding the impulse response library too, which means more IRs can be added all the time. Needless to say, the impulse library itself is a sound designer’s dream come true and also extremely useful for creative music producers and mixing engineers. In order to take full advantage such a glorious catalogue of spaces you need an accurate convolution engine filled with a wealthy number of controls over the sound plus a great browser to manage so many possibilities and Altiverb delivers there too, delivering one of the finest reverb experiences available, and the next best thing to flying thousands of miles all over the world to record. Surround version also available.



Closing thoughts

The nominated reverbs cover a great cross-section of reverb styles and technologies, with many plugins being mentioned. It is a diverse, well-populated and competitive market with plenty of reverb sounds for all needs, tastes and budgets, but we live in amazing times when some of the top choices are only fifty bucks. There is very little excuse not to at least demo all of these fine products and see which ones are best for you - then tell us all about your experiences where they will reverberate around our forum forever!

Diogo C 4th July 2016 04:08 PM

kfhkh

Reverend Rhythm 5th July 2016 05:57 PM

kfhkh

Demonslave 7th July 2016 05:24 AM

I didn't know this was an active poll across the board! We're emails sent out? Musta mist it...abduction

arnoldorodeo 8th July 2016 06:05 PM

Excellent top 10 though I would have mentioned the Flux Ircam Verb Session that is not expensive & as transparent as my TC 4k.

Synth Guru 8th July 2016 06:26 PM

Awesome work guys!

These top 10 threads are very useful and serve to better inform us about the products! I like. kfhkh

Deleted User 27th July 2016 08:48 AM

i used (fortunately not for big productions yet) for some years and after a while i realized it enhances the most acoustic sounds (for my taste) in a bad way.
i don't like enhancement by reverbs! i think it's one of the worst ways for enhancement.
then i bought the ircam verb last week. it's stunning. it preserves the dynamic, it's clean, it's deep, ...
i think i found MY reverb finally.
the phoenix could be nice for some electronic sounds. it makes them big(ger)

Fleer 19th August 2016 03:33 AM

Zynaptiq Adaptiverb. Wonderful kfhkh

Dysanfel 25th August 2016 08:25 PM

Adaptiverb is the best sound reverb I have ever heard.

Reptil 27th August 2016 08:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by arnoldorodeo (Post 12005461)
Excellent top 10 though I would have mentioned the Flux Ircam Verb Session that is not expensive & as transparent as my TC 4k.

agree kfhkh

Deleted User 27th August 2016 11:25 PM

I think someone mixed up words: "Popular", and "The Best"......abduction


If it is based on voting it means popular.

ludwigvanlee 29th August 2016 11:43 AM

demoed looots of reverbs .. most on this list..including #1

Reverberate 2 is not on here... Acustica Nebula is not on here.. Without these two the list is, in my ears, like the cake without the frosting...

When I first heard VNXT for the first time, a tear damn nearly formed at my eyes hooppie

Fleer 30th August 2016 03:54 AM

Which is how I felt when I heard Adaptiverb abduction

hodshonf 30th August 2016 12:36 PM

2CAudio and LiquidSonics Reverberate2 - painful omissions.

AND

for free IRs:

Samplicity's Bricasti M7 Impulse Response Library v1.1 - Samplicity

these smoke most everything!!! can be used in ANY IR loader.

i just bought Reverberate2, however - for the $$$ it beats 'em all.

still love my Aether and Breeze.

own Valhalla - ooof... these hurt. uninstalled.


oh, and a VERY nice plate: PSP 2445.

Diogo C 13th September 2016 01:38 AM

We'll update that list sooner or later so don't worry!

Godson 15th September 2016 02:23 AM

epicverb

Mikey MTC 15th September 2016 06:55 AM

I think Waves' Abbey Road Plates deserves a spot too. It's a little CPU thirsty, but that it's only flaw for me.

TNM 18th September 2016 06:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mikey MTC (Post 12137620)
I think Waves' Abbey Road Plates deserves a spot too. It's a little CPU thirsty, but that it's only flaw for me.

not to mention H reverb, which is one of the most incredible capable reverb plugins ever released.

TNM 18th September 2016 06:30 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Den (Post 12098962)
I think someone mixed up words: "Popular", and "The Best"......abduction


If it is based on voting it means popular.

Precisely.

I didn't vote in this as i must have missed it, but totally disagree with the results.. Valhalla won cause they are decent verbs with a nice dev, but more importantly, they are popular cause of the price, and CP used.

To actually take this poll seriously in that VVV is the BEST reverb ( i would consider best would have something to do with sound)? and beat out both lexicon and exponential and relab stuff.. is (to put it mildly), just mind boggling to me. It really just tells me not to trust polls at all. There is no WAY that is the best reverb plugin and no WAY VVV as one plugin can compete with the suite that is PCM.

It's a GOOD reverb don't get me wrong, and good for those wanting that lexicon style lush vintage sound (note in this poll VVV has beaten out the authentic lexicons it emulates lol, and reverbs written by mr lexicon himself lol), but i feel this poll is skewed cause it doesn't use ilok and is cheap and THAT'S why people voted for it.

Then again, i never agree with any daw/plugin poll results I have ever seen, about anything. Maybe I am just too different in my taste, or maybe i'm wrong and can't see what others see (or in this case, hear). Dunno!

But for me, i'm all about uad verbs (140/250/224 and many more), lex/exponential (all), and breverb 2 (most underrated verb plugin ever- such power and control).


Before i comment further, please know, this is the very first "top ten" gs poll i have ever seen.

Peace.

Edit, i checked out the other polls.. whilst i don't agree with the results, i am not all that surprised.. I have been following GS for years and the products that generate the most buzz and talk (i.e longest forum topics with great interest) seem to have won, so i have no doubt of the integrity of the polls here, but I personally won't be agreeing with any of the actual results. So basically, i worded the above wrongly.. it's not about not trusting polls for me, but about not trusting other people's taste in general, as i always seem to disagree with it LOL!

The hardware results made more sense to me overall.

Fleer 19th September 2016 03:45 AM

You seem to be well verbed, TNM.
Did you check out Zynaptiq's Adaptiverb?

TNM 19th September 2016 07:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fleer (Post 12144881)
You seem to be well verbed, TNM.
Did you check out Zynaptiq's Adaptiverb?

Just hearing the demos let me know it is absolutely outstanding quality!

So i downloaded it excited..Unfortunately, no matter what sort of quality, I just can't use effects that use an entire one of my macbook's cores for one instance, and can ONLY be used on a playback buffer of high latency..

I can't even use one instance at my normal 128 buffer, and that's on an absolutely top of the macbook line range, 1TB internal SSD, 16gb ram, 2.8ghz quad core i7 retina model..

So for that, it's a no go for me personally.

Nevertheless, I did test it like crazy.. and it has an absolutely stunning "natural" quality to it. Probably the best for "that" sound. However, Acon, Lex, Exponential, Overloud.. they are all still fantastic, and 9/10 of the way there.. And in a good mix, no one is going to know you used them instead of adaptiverb. And that's basically why I can't support the product with my wallet. If it offered this jump in quality at a reasonable cpu, i'd be all over it. Hope that makes sense. It's basically a case of 9/10th's of the way there is good enough ;)

Another example is Waves' H reverb, which is absolutely as high as i am willing to go for cpu usage for a plugin. And what many people don't realise (as it's rarely discussed), is that it's also one of the most natural sounding reverbs, and VERY sculpt-able. It has a very pure sound, is silly underrated, and I got it for some crazy price of under 50 bucks with a $50 coupon they gave out freely.

However, BECAUSE of H Reverb's high cpu usage, I generally tend to go for my UADs, which are, the ocean way for room, lex 224 for lush, emt 140 for plate, and also the new Neve and Spring verb plugins, and/or breverb 2 and lex PCM out of my native plugins.

Breverb 2 is a hidden gem.. Honestly in every best reverb thread, I must be the only person that brings it up LOL! And I feel it's because perhaps people are remembering breverb 1 which was average.. Breverb 2 added an enormous tweaking flexibility and 2 stunning new "natural" algorithms, which sadly never seem to get talked about. The killer is, it literally barely registers cpu usage on any i7, I mean like 1 or 2% even at 128 buffers. Absolute programming GENIUS!

So I feel i just have so many options, that I am already comfortable with and know inside out, that adding such a high cpu plugin as adaptiverb to my workflow would be completely counter productive.

Put it this way - I have 26 UAD 2 chips for fx, 15 hardware synths (I don't use software synths anymore, well, barely), my computer of course, a great interface (apollo 8 quad thunderbolt chained to an apollo twin duo), and i STILL run out of native cpu power or am always on the edge.. How on earth could I incorporate adaptiverb into my workflow even if I wanted to?

Reverb is something that needs to live and breath for me.. something that I am constantly tweaking to sit correctly in the mix, more than any other effect.. It's not as if i can just bounce and forget it, know what i mean?

That's my take.

Fleer 20th September 2016 02:23 AM

Thanks TNM, for that great write up. You're not only well verbed but definitely also well versed.
Sure hope Zynaptiq will get that CPU load down, as I indeed believe it is the most natural sounding reverb around, apart from being an incredibly creative instrument on its own.

Diogo C 20th September 2016 03:08 AM

That's the thing with lists - to disagree with them and come up with our own is half the fun!

Having said that, some of my favs also didn't make it, such as the Flux Ircam Verb V3 and Liquid Sonics Reverberate 2 (which I believe was still on v1 when we had the poll). The upcoming Exponential Audio reverb also looks great and we never know what's around the corner, so we're bound to run this again at some point next year. ;)

mamm7215 28th October 2016 10:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TNM (Post 12145096)
Breverb 2 is a hidden gem.. Honestly in every best reverb thread, I must be the only person that brings it up LOL! And I feel it's because perhaps people are remembering breverb 1 which was average.. Breverb 2 added an enormous tweaking flexibility and 2 stunning new "natural" algorithms, which sadly never seem to get talked about. The killer is, it literally barely registers cpu usage on any i7, I mean like 1 or 2% even at 128 buffers. Absolute programming GENIUS!

+1000 Breverb2 is beautiful. Amazing really.

Synth Guru 29th October 2016 03:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by diogo_c (Post 12146959)
That's the thing with lists - to disagree with them and come up with our own is half the fun!

Having said that, some of my favs also didn't make it, such as the Flux Ircam Verb V3 and Liquid Sonics Reverberate 2 (which I believe was still on v1 when we had the poll). The upcoming Exponential Audio reverb also looks great and we never know what's around the corner, so we're bound to run this again at some point next year. ;)

Wow! I just saw the video on Flux Ircam Verb V3. It has great features to control reverb. kfhkh

Why oh why did it have to be so pricey? hidz I would hope it would sound as good as the UI looks.

I think I'll wait to see if the price comes down a bit. First time I see an effects plugin cost more than a HW verb pedal. abduction

Fleer 29th October 2016 03:09 AM

Slate's VerbSuite is upon us rockout

Synth Guru 29th October 2016 03:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fleer (Post 12222283)
Slate's VerbSuite is upon us rockout

That one looks good to me as well. I'm beginning to realize what I have is not doing it for me when it comes to reverb. I mean, I still like what I have but it seems to be missing more of the flavours that exist out there in studio world.

I currently use Black Hole and Big Sky, very good in their own way but there's more to be had. :cowbell:

Fleer 29th October 2016 03:58 AM

If you like Blackhole you owe it to yourself to get Adaptiverb. It's the verb to end all verbs for me.

arnoldorodeo 29th October 2016 12:41 PM

Quote:

Breverb 2 is a hidden gem.. Honestly in every best reverb thread, I must be the only person that brings it up LOL! And I feel it's because perhaps people are remembering breverb 1 which was average.. Breverb 2 added an enormous tweaking flexibility and 2 stunning new "natural" algorithms, which sadly never seem to get talked about. The killer is, it literally barely registers cpu usage on any i7, I mean like 1 or 2% even at 128 buffers. Absolute programming GENIUS!
I totally agree! Breverb 2 is very very close to the hardware TC4k I own in my studio.
In fact it's hard to tell which reverb is the best because what does matter is the kind of source material (vocals, guitars, percussions,drums etc). So we all look for the perfect association. As a french musician I would say that it's a matter of taste and it's comparable as "finding the right wine with the right meal" !!

Synth Guru 29th October 2016 03:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fleer (Post 12222338)
If you like Blackhole you owe it to yourself to get Adaptiverb. It's the verb to end all verbs for me.

I've seen the demos of Adativerb and I had considered it at one time, until I read that it was quite heavy on the CPU. I've shied away from it for that reason.