There are many reverb and delay plugins out there and I’ve tried quite a few of them. My goal, like everyone’s, has been to get a great-sounding one.
Here are what I’ve tried and what I’ve found to be the best.
Last updated: 23-August-2021
2CAudio Aether, Breeze, B2, and Precedence
Nothing touches Aether, Breeze, B2, and Precedence for the discerning ear when it comes to reverb. Precedence is a spatial positioning plugin that works with Breeze to place instruments in a virtual room. It is amazing.
Aether, Breeze, and B2 are algorithmic reverbs that best the convolution reverbs out there by light-years.
Aether is capable of mimicking almost every reverb out there, and it can be made to do extraordinary reverb tasks that cannot be done with conventional reverbs. With a smooth musical feel to it throughout, I can’t describe it with enough detail to be accurate. It effortlessly sits nicely in the mix due to the non-exponential decay that allows it to linger without the need for turning up the mix volume and muddying the mix as happens with other reverbs. This makes it the cleanest reverb out there. The stereo handling is also unique and of impeccable quality giving it a spaciousness unparalleled. Detailed controls not available on other reverbs make it possible to design nearly any reverb desired and with a lot of options. Hands down, it is the best reverb.
Here below is a demonstration of how Aether can emulate several different reverbs, but with greater realism. I made presets for emulation of Eventide’s Blackhole, Strymon Big Sky, and Strymon Blue Sky reverbs.
Aether reviewed by SOS here: https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/2caudio-aether
Aether reviewed by Music Radar here: https://www.musicradar.com/reviews/tech/2caudio-aether-207606
“I often use small amounts of several different reverbs together, to add density and smoothness, sometimes sending one reverb into another. Also, I tend to gravitate to good sounding plate reverb simulations, for the shorter tails, because they tend to leave a mix less cluttered. I like to create depth from front to back by leaving “small” sounds rather dry, which helps put the soundstage in perspective. I almost always put my reverbs on an Aux send, rather than separate instantiations for each track, because I want the elements of the mix to sit in a common space.”Robert Rich on how he uses reverb.
Here below is a video showing Precedence and Breeze working together.
B2 is a more experimental reverb and exceptional for ambient type of music. You can get larger-than-life sounds from it and it can transform a simple piano, for instance, into a synth sound. It is absolutely impressive.
Madrona Labs Aaltoverb
In the realm of special reverbs, Aaltoverb by Madrona Labs, is a gem. It is capable of crazy long reverb sound clouds as well as some impossible reverbs with long tails in small spaces. Tape speed change effects are also possible (read the manual for some significant tips). A key ingredient in this reverb is that it can be changed on the fly without clicks or pops, making it versatile as can be. And, it was born from Aalto – a premium synth capable of Buchla-type sounds and Kyma-esque noises (although it’s sibling, Kaivo, is better at that), so it has pristine clarity.
This algorithmic reverb employs three microphones that can be moved around a virtual room. The three microphones allow this reverb to meld into the mix very well. The effect of having three mics means that you can get some interesting left-right effects out of it. Modeled after what Tony Visconti did for David Bowie recordings, this reverb is useful for any traditional (not space ambient) piece and sound quite good on pianos.
The polar pattern of microphone one can be changed. There is compression for microphone one and gates on the other two microphones. All the microphones are stereo, and being able to automate the movement of the microphones allows for some interesting stereo effects. Additionally, the room characteristics can be changed.
Reviewed by SOS here: https://www.soundonsound.com/reviews/eventide-t-verb
112dB Mikron Reverb
This algorithmic reverb is simple and that is what I like most about it. The 112dB engineers have found the best spot in a room or space and have modeled them well. This means there is no searching around for the optimal settings. I can just put this on a track and know that it will sound great. It sits fairly well in the mix but takes a bit of experimentation to get what you want. It is limited in its ability to be tweaked, and sometimes that is necessary to get the right sound. Overall it is on par with the best and is easy to use.
See above B2, Breeze, and Aether by 2C that have definite depth settings available and can match any of these below.
The Blackhole has a depth and smoothness to it that is really hard to beat with lesser reverbs. It is an algorithmic reverb with a slight bend toward the dark side which you would expect with a deep space blackhole name that it has. Space is quite bleak and dark with a negative energy and that is what this reverb exudes. The negatives of this reverb are the dreary quality that can creep into it if you are not careful with the setting. This is limiting so I don’t like that aspect.
Probably a competitive version of the Blackhole reverb, but with some interesting additional features. Still, it lacks the smoothness of Blackhole for me.
Shimmer gets you that Strymon type of sound, but lacks a bit when it comes to simulating the Blackhole. However, Shimmer has alternatives such as the octave up and down that make it a one-of-a-kind reverb for ambient and space music. I rarely get a dreary feel from this one as I do from Blackhole.
As a direct competitor to Shimmer, this one is a strong contender. It has the Eventide smoothness found in Blackhole so that gives it an edge, to me, over Shimmer.
Audiority has made a good simulation of the Midiverb here with the Flow algorithm hitting it near exact. This is a lightweight and easy to use reverb that sounds great on acoustic material where it can really shine.
Goodhertz simulated the Midiverb quite well with their Megaverb reverb. This reverb is versatile and has a number of presets that lend themselves toward simulation of Aphex Twin and Squarepusher among others.