Plugins We ❤ By The Function! (Reverb)
In the last installment of “Plugins We Love”, we continue pointing out the select few we reach for frequently. This list is dedicated to our favorite Reverb plugins. If you haven’t tried some of the ones on this list, I highly recommend you do so. I hope the reverb installment sheds a little light on why we like the plugins we do and how they help us create better mixes. We encourage you to chime in through our forum to tell us why you like the tools you use, and what you think about our opinions on the plugins we list. So, here goes…
UAD EMT 140 Plate
Literally the most famous reverb in the history of recording… The EMT Plate 140. It finally has an emulation, and UAD, with its history of great work in the emulation realm, is the company to do so. Encompassing all of the sheen and warmth of the original unit without the need to print the reverb, this plugin kinda does it all. As you you can see it comes with all the functionality of everyday plugins, and in addition has a few plate selections and a width control available. All three plate options give you a variation on the EMT 140 plates, one being bright, one with more depth and the last with a darker lush sound. This actual plugin is designed to emulate the plates housed in “The Plant” studios in Sausalito California, home to countless hit recordings. It’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t like this reverb and although it runs on the high end for a single plugin ($199), it’s likely to be the only reverb you’ll need.
If you don’t immediately shout out EMT Plate when someone asks you the most iconic reverb in recording history, chances are you are shouting out Lexicon instead. The Lexicon PCM series (hardware unit) is the first reverb I ever worked with. I actually worked with the hardware unit in the first studio I worked in and the sounds are plentiful and, just really lush and smooth. This plugin tries to recreate that, and does a nice job with the emulation. The funny thing is, the interface works just like the hardware unit with the options to set pull up pre-sets, finagle them and then store them to use later. As you can see, all the usual suspects are there, mix, pre-delay, early reflection level, diffusion and gain. You’ll also love the graphic display, and the star of the unit, the pre-set options. There really isn’t much more you’d want from a reverb and its workflow is magnificent.
Ah, D-Verb. Anyone who’s used Pro Tools knows this familiar friend that comes stock with the D.A.W. Why did we list this on Plugins We Love? Well, because many times, the “Best” plugin or tool to use is the tool you know best. We know D-Verb really, really well. Yes, it has limitations and only a few options, the controls may drive you crazy because you can get “almost” to the sound you want, but not quite, but that’s the fun of it. Some of my best work, and some of the work you hear on the radio or on your favorite albums are recorded “in the moment” with only the tools at hand. Sometimes that basic D-Verb is all you have and exactly what you need. You can clearly see the controls, everything is very basic, and the User Interface isn’t pretty, but it’s the sound that matters. There’s no intricate EQ, although you do have a HF cut slider and a filter, there’s nothing fancy about this plugin. Don’t be surprised in some sessions if you add some D-Verb on a rough take and end up keeping it on the final mixdown, because these other “fancy” reverbs just couldn’t recreate that magic of the original.
Logic Space Designer
Oh, don’t mind the screenshot, it’s still got the Emagic logo. This is a convolution plugin, meaning you can mimic the sound of a selected room by recording impulse responses in your environment. It’s, of course, slightly more work than that, but I won’t go into that right now. The unit comes with a great selection of pre-sets and don’t forget to take advantage of the filter, density, and volume envelope options. In the GUI you can see the waveform of the impulse response your files are being processed with, and you can set EQ’s and all kinds of manipulations to your initial sound here. This is one of the most versatile reverbs I’ve worked with and since I’m a frequent Logic user it’s one of my favorite plugins to reach for. There’s so much you can do with this plugin and I’ve only scratched the surface, you won’t be disappointed.
Another UAD emulation here. The Lexicon 224 hardware unit is something you’ll see sitting in almost every SSL photo in every large studio. This is in the “classic venerable reverb” family. The 224 plugin version is modeled by UAD, but here they licensed the algorithms from Lexicon, so you know it’s realistic. Compared to the PCM series this plugin is very limited much as the actual unit is, but you’ll notice the classic sounds. All the controls are right at your finger tips, on what resembles the famous LARC controller. Just to let you know, the workaround in this unit is true to the actual LARC controller so it’s a little quirky. Most of your controls will be through the fader movements. Pressing a program button resets the controls to the default values of the program. If there’s a plugin you have to “learn” on this list, I’d say it’s this one. UAD stayed very true to the sound of the 224 and very true to the workflow, so even though it’s an amazing classic unit, just be prepared to do some “playing around” first before you get the hang of the unit, especially if you haven’t use the hardware before.
I don’t use a lot of reverbs, so this is almost an exhaustive list of the reverbs I’ll reach for in a mix. I hope I was able to articulate why I reach for these plugins first (mostly classic sounds and seamless workflow). Although this is the last installment of “Plugins We Love” we’d love for you to let us know which plugins you reach for in any function, and in any genre. Be sure to let us know if we missed anything, we hope you enjoyed the list, don’t forget to check EQ, Compression and Time Delay installments!
**Did we miss anything? What are your Favorite Reverb plugins? Let us know in the forum! **
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