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best reverb plugins

Best reverb plugins

Reverb came out all the way back in the 1930s. The way they did it back then was playing recordings through speakers in different spaces and recording the sound of the space. By the 50s it was clear that the reverb effect was here to stay. Fast forward to reverb plugins.

The workflow for using an analog reverb was cumbersome and time-consuming. Thankfully with digital audio none of that is a concern anymore. You have a lot of plugin options to choose from, so matter if you need something affordable and simple or something complex with a lot of presets there’s one for you.

So let’s dive in to some of our favorite reverb plugins and why they made this list!

Best reverb plugin overall: Seventh Heaven Liquid Sonics

Seventh Heaven Liquid Sonics
Best reverb plugin overall
Seventh Heaven Liquid Sonics
If you’ve ever heard what the M7 can do, you know why this is our top pick. Two versions, easy to dial in, and peerless reverb sounds make this selection a no-brainer.
Pros
Great plugin recreation of the M7
Two versions with different prices and features
Easy to dial in thanks to sleek GUI
Cons
None

Bricasti’s M7 is one of the most gorgeous-sounding reverbs of all time. The hardware quickly became iconic for it’s sounds that have to be heard to be believed. And this is the best M7 plugin of them all.

There are two versions, Professional and Standard. Pro comes with a whopping 236 presets, Standard just 30 – but still more than enough to get you creating right away. Professional also has additional flexibility that Standard doesn’t.

The GUI is sleek and uncluttered. With a few simple controls Liquid Sonics designed it to be as easy to use as possible.  It comes in VST, AU, and AAX formats so there’s almost a guarantee it will work with your system.

Give it a listen and you’ll see why it’s one of the best reverb plugins available.

Most versatile reverb plugin: FabFilter Pro-R

fabfilter pro-r
Most versatile reverb plugin
FabFilter Pro-R
FabFilter makes some of the best plugins, their reverb is no different. A plethora of sounds, unique controls, and onboard EQ make this a great all-in-one reverb choice.
Pros
A lot of sounds to choose from
Unique controls give you access to sounds other reverbs can’t
6-band EQ
Stereo width control
Cons
Too many options can be a bad thing sometimes
Takes some time to dial in

FabFilter is well-known to make some of the most versatile plugins around. Pro-R is extremely customizable, and the reverb sounds are top notch. Everything from the smallest room to the largest cavern is here.

It features some interesting controls like Character, Distance, and Brightness so that you can dial in the most musical reverbs for your productions. These control names help reduce some of the technical confusion that comes with other plugins.

A 6-band EQ is built in, so you don’t have to add an additional plugin to the track the reverb is on. You also get an interface that’s very visual, so not only can you hear but see how it’s affecting the signal.

A unique Stereo Width control gives you a great way to tailor to the reverb for mono or stereo sources to keep muddiness out of the mix.

Best reverb plugin with effects: Waves Audio Manny Marroquin Reverb

Best reverb plugin with effects
Waves Audio Manny Marroquin Reverb
This unique reverb features 6 sound modes, 3 sizes, and onboard EQ and effects processing.
Pros
Onboard EQ and effects
6 reverbs across three room sizes
37 presets from other famous mix engineers
Cons
None
Buy From

Six reverbs and three sizes are included in this signature plugin from Waves. In partnership with renowned mix engineer Manny Marroquin they created a more complex reverb unit with built-in effects that’s not difficult to use.

It has a 3-band EQ as well as distortion and flange, so it can even be used as a modulation effect. 37 presets from other engineers like Tony Maserati and Ross Hogarth give you a versatile set of options if you want to dive right in.

It doesn’t take up many resources from your recording workstation, so you can feel free to use it as an insert or on a reverb bus.

Best plate reverb plugin: Universal Audio EMT 140 Classic Plate Reverb

Universal Audio EMT 140 Classic Plate Reverb
Best plate reverb plugin
Universal Audio EMT 140 Classic Plate Reverb
The EMT 140 is one of the most famous plate reverbs ever, and with this spot-on plugin from Universal Audio you can put it into your plugin library.
Pros
Sounds of the classic EMT 140 plate reverb
3 different plate sounds
Additional controls the hardware doesn’t have
Cons
Only plate reverb sounds
Must have UA hardware to work

The EMT 140 is modeled after three different plate reverbs, so it offers three different types of plate sounds. They’re warm, just like the hardware, and provide a very musical reverb that’s easy to use.

It includes controls from the originals like system input filters and mechanical damping. But Universal Audio brought this calssic analog reverb into the digital recording world by adding additional controls in Width, Balance, and Modulation.

There’s a lot to unpack, and it’s got a distinct sound. The GUI looks just like the hardware (with the extra controls). You need to have Universal Audio hardware to use it, but if you do and you’re looking for the best recreation of one of the most useful types of reverbs modeled on classic hardware, this is it.

It’s officially endorsed by EMT, so you know it’s good.

Best affordable reverb plugin: Valhalla DSP Reverb Series

Valhalla DSP Reverb Series
Best affordable reverb plugin
Valhalla DSP Reverb Series
If you’re looking for an affordable reverb but don’t want to risk getting unnatural sounds, Valhalla’s Reverb Series is for you.
Pros
Affordable
Sold as a bundle or separately
Good amount of reverb options
Cons
Not as versatile or as many reverb sounds as other plugins
Buy From

Valhalla designes plugins that are versatile and easy to dial in. Their Reverb series includes multiple plugins. Room provides access to larger spaces, they have a plate reverb, and Shimmer adds pitch shifting to the sounds.

Their most famous reverb plugin is VintageVerb, that give you 20 different modes. These include halls, rooms, plates, chorus and more. Their plugins are also very affordable, so if your money is tight this is the perfect plugin that won’t make you skimp on advanced features.

FAQ

What type of plugin is a reverb?

Reverbs and delays fall under the time-based effects category.

Which reverb is best for vocals?

There are a lot of variables here. Every track, performance, and vocalist are different so it’s really what the situation calls for. Generally on lead vocals you’ll at least have some plate reverb dialed in, maybe some room as well. Reverb effects your tracks in a way that no other effect can and is one of the most useful types of processing.

What is the most transparent reverb plugin?

It’s not really about being “transparent”, it’s more of an issue of how much to use. Most (if not all) plugins let you adjust the wet and dry mix levels so you can dial it in as much or as little as suits the track. You also have an additional level of control with the faders on the send. 

The type of reverb you’re using matters a lot too. Plates don’t sound like halls, small rooms sound (obviously) smaller than large rooms. And if there’s pitch shifting or modulation added it becomes something else altogether.

Should EQ go before or after reverb?

Both methods work, but generally EQ is inserted after the reverb. But you can get some really interesting sounds by EQing first. A lot of reverbs even come with their own set of EQ controls, so you can free up computer resources by not having to add another plugin to the session.

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