Vocals are the centerpiece of most modern music, and getting them to sound just right can be a challenging task.
One crucial element of creating a captivating vocal track is the use of high-quality reverb.
However, with so many options on the market, choosing the right one can be overwhelming.
In this post, we'll dive deep into some of the best reverbs and provide some tips for making the most of this powerful tool when mixing vocals.
The Best Reverb Plugins for Vocals
As a mixing engineer, having access to a diverse collection of top-quality reverb plugins is crucial for creating professional-sounding vocal tracks.
These plugins provide an extensive range of customizable options to sculpt the perfect reverb sound, adding depth, texture, and character to vocals that can capture the listener's attention.
1. Audio Ease Altiverb
When it comes to finding the best reverb plugin for vocals, Audio Ease Altiverb is a top contender.
This impressive plugin boasts an extensive library of real-world impulse responses, which can be applied to vocal tracks to create a natural-sounding reverb.
One of the key advantages of Altiverb is its ability to provide a wide range of acoustic environments.
From small rooms to large concert halls, this plugin has it all, allowing users to create an incredibly realistic and diverse range of reverb sounds.
Additionally, the plugin provides great customization options, giving users the ability to tweak every aspect of the reverb to suit their needs.
Another advantage of Altiverb is its efficiency.
Unlike some other reverb plugins, it doesn't take up a lot of processing power, making it ideal for use in complex vocal reverb sounds.
However, as with any plugin, there are some downsides to Altiverb. One of the most significant drawbacks is the price point.
At $595, this plugin is quite expensive, making it inaccessible for some home studio producers or beginners.
Ultimately, if you put a gun to my head and ask me to choose one reverb plugin to use forever, Altiverb is the one I will go for.
Its extensive library, flexibility, and efficiency make it a great choice for professional studios, but the price may be a significant barrier for some users.
2. Arturia Rev PLATE-140
For those seeking a classic sound, the Rev PLATE-140 is an exceptional reverb plugin.
This plugin emulates the sound of the iconic EMT 140 plate reverb, providing a vintage, warm sound that's perfect for creating a sense of depth and space in vocal tracks.
One of the key advantages of Rev PLATE-140 is its simplicity.
Unlike other plugins, this one is easy to use, providing users with just a handful of controls to manipulate.
However, despite its simplicity, this plugin still manages to provide an extensive range of sounds, from subtle ambience to full-on lush reverberation.
Another advantage of Rev PLATE-140 is its affordability.
At just $149, this plugin is much more accessible than some of its higher-end counterparts, making it a great choice for home studios or beginner producers.
However, it doesn't offer the same level of customization as some plugins, which may be a drawback for those seeking a more detailed and specific sound.
Additionally, the vintage sound may not be suitable for all genres, as it can sometimes sound out of place in modern productions.
The Rev PLATE-140 is an exceptional reverb plugin that provides a vintage, classic sound perfect for adding depth and character to vocal tracks.
Its simplicity, quality sound, and affordability make it an excellent choice for home studios and professional engineers.
3. UAD Lexicon 224
The UAD Lexicon 224 is a powerful and versatile tool. It emulates the sound of the legendary Lexicon 224 Digital Reverb.
It comes with a wide range of reverb sounds that can be tailored to suit any vocal track.
One of the key advantages of the Lexicon 224 is its range of presets.
With over 200 presets available, it provides an extensive choice of sounds that can be used straight out of the box, saving you time and effort.
Additionally, the plugin offers a wide range of customization options, allowing you to tweak every aspect of the reverb sound to suit your needs.
Another advantage of the Lexicon 224 is its sound quality.
This plugin provides a high-quality, natural sound that can add depth, space, and character to any voice.
The plugin's user interface is intuitive and easy to use, making it user-friendly for users of all skill levels.
However, as with any plugin, there are some downsides to the UAD Lexicon 224.
Firstly, the plugin is quite expensive, with a price point of $349, making it inaccessible for some people.
It requires the use of UAD hardware, which may be a significant investment for some home studio producers.
But with UAD Spark, you can use the plugin without the hardware.
4. SSL Native FlexVerb
The SSL Native FlexVerb is a high-end reverb plugin that offers a range of impressive features for vocal processing.
Designed to emulate the sound of the classic SSL E-Series console, this plugin provides users with a range of reverb sounds that can be tailored to suit any vocal recording.
With over 120 presets available, this plugin offers extensive reverb sounds that can be used straight out of the box.
Additionally, the plugin's user interface is intuitive and easy to use, making it a great plugin for users of all skill levels.
The reverb offers an amazing quality of sound.
It provides a high-quality, natural-sounding reverb that can add depth, space, and character to your vocal tracks.
Its algorithms are designed to provide a smooth, rich reverb sound that avoids the harsh, metallic sound that can sometimes be found in other low-quality reverb plugins.
However, the plugin is quite expensive, with a price point of $199, which may be a barrier for some home studio producers.
But its range of presets, user-friendly interface, and natural sound quality make it a great choice for adding rich reverb tones to any voice.
5. FabFilter Pro-R 2
The FabFilter Pro-R is a top-of-the-line reverb plugin that offers a vast range of features for vocal processing.
Designed by the renowned FabFilter brand, this plugin provides top-quality reverb sounds that can be customized to suit any vocal track.
With an intuitive user interface and a range of advanced features, this plugin provides users with detailed control over their reverb sound, allowing them to adjust everything from the decay time to the early reflections and stereo width.
Another advantage of the Pro-R is its sound quality.
The plugin's algorithms are designed to avoid the metallic, cheap-sounding top-end that can sometimes be found in other reverb plugins, resulting in a smoother and more organic sound.
However, the Pro-R is quite expensive, with a price point of $199, which may be a barrier for some home studio engineers.
Also, the plugin's advanced features may be overwhelming for users who are new to reverb processing, and its user interface may take some time to learn.
Ultimately, its range of customization options, organic sound, and avoidance of metallic high frequencies make it a great choice for users seeking detailed control over their reverb signal.
6. Slate Digital VerbSuite Classics
The Slate Digital VerbSuite Classics is a high-quality reverb plugin that offers a range of vintage-style reverbs.
It emulates the sound of classic reverb units.
These can be used to add warmth, depth, and character to any vocal track. The user interface is intuitive and easy to use.
Another big advantage of VerbSuite over its competitors is its sound quality.
This plugin provides a high-quality, natural reverb that can provide a smooth, rich reverb sound without introducing harshness.
But it’s quite expensive, with a price point of $199, which may be a barrier for some.
The plugin doesn't offer as much customization as some other plugins, which may be a drawback for users seeking more detailed control over their reverb sound.
Its range of classic reverb algorithms, user-friendly interface, and organic sound quality make it a great choice for users seeking to add attitude and depth to their vocal mixes.
7. Valhalla VintageVerb
Valhalla VintageVerb is a popular reverb plugin that offers users a range of vintage-style sounds.
This plugin has been designed to provide classic reverb sounds that are reminiscent of vintage hardware units.
Providing users with an affordable and accessible way to achieve a vintage sound.
The plugin offers 17 vintage reverb algorithms.
These are great for adding warmth, dimension, and attitude to your vocal tracks.
Priced at just $50, this plugin provides a top-quality sound at a fraction of the cost of other high-end reverb plugins.
It’s also highly customizable, allowing you to adjust a range of parameters to fine-tune their reverb sound to your liking.
However, the plugin may not be suitable for users seeking more modern, high-tech reverb sounds.
While the plugin is highly customizable, it may require a bit of learning and experimentation to fully master its features.
Its range of classic reverb algorithms, affordability, and high customizability make it a great choice for users seeking to add warmth and character to their vocal processing.
8. Manny Marroquin Reverb
The Manny Marroquin Reverb is a unique reverb processor designed by one of the most successful mixing engineers of our time, Manny Marroquin.
This plugin is specifically tailored for vocals and provides users with a range of intuitive controls that allow them to create a natural yet distinctive reverb sound.
One of the main advantages of the Manny Marroquin Reverb is its simplicity.
It’s easy to use and allows users to quickly dial in the perfect reverb sound for their vocals.
It provides a wide range of preset options that are based on Marroquin's signature reverb sounds.
It's an ideal choice for users who want to achieve a Grammy-winning vocal sound with minimal effort.
The plugin has a unique sound.
It is designed to add dimension and character to vocal tracks without overwhelming them.
Its distinctive sound has been used on countless hit records and is a favorite among many top mixing engineers.
Additionally, while the plugin is highly customizable, its range of controls may not be suitable for users seeking a more in-depth, technical approach to reverb processing.
But it’s definitely a must-have for any recording studio.
9. EMT 140 Classic Plate Reverb
The EMT 140 Classic Plate Reverb is a digital emulation of one of the most iconic and sought-after reverb units of all time.
Originally released in the late 1950s, the EMT 140 quickly became a staple in recording studios around the world thanks to its warm, lush, and spacious sound.
The UAD EMT 140 has been meticulously modeled to recreate the sound and character of the original hardware unit.
This makes it an ideal choice for users seeking an authentic vintage reverb sound for their vocals.
The plugin offers a range of controls, including decay time, pre-delay, and high-pass and low-pass filters, allowing users to tailor the reverb to their specific needs.
Another advantage is its versatility.
While it is primarily designed for use on vocals, it can also be used on a variety of other instruments, including drums, guitars, and synths.
The plugin's classic sound can add depth, warmth, and grit to any vocal mix, making it a valuable tool for any mixing engineer.
But it is quite expensive compared to other reverb plugins on the market.
Its vintage sound may not be suitable for those seeking a more modern and transparent reverb sound.
Its authenticity, versatility, and classic sound make it a valuable tool.
Bonus: Sonible smart:reverb
Sonible smart:reverb is a unique plugin that utilizes artificial intelligence to provide a highly customizable reverb for vocals.
Unlike traditional reverb plugins that rely on pre-designed algorithms, smart:reverb uses machine learning to analyze the audio signal.
It will automatically adjust the reverb parameters in real-time, creating a highly personalized and organic-sounding reverb.
Its main advantage is its ease of use.
The plugin features an intuitive interface that allows users to quickly and easily shape the reverb sound to their liking.
Its AI-based processing ensures that the reverb sound remains natural and transparent, even when extreme settings are applied.
Another advantage of the smart:reverb is its versatility.
However, there are some downsides to smart:reverb. Firstly, it is a bit pricey compared to other reverb plugins on the market.
Also, some users may find the AI-based processing to be too transparent, resulting in a lack of character or color in the reverb sound.
This can result in a mix that’s too clean, boring, and unexciting for the listener.
Overall, its ease of use, versatility, and AI-based processing make it a valuable tool for any mixing engineer.
Which Valhalla Reverb is Best for Vocals?
Valhalla offers a variety of reverb plugins, each with their own unique characteristics and features.
While all of their reverbs are capable of producing excellent results for vocals, the Valhalla VintageVerb is often regarded as the best choice for this application.
The VintageVerb offers a wide range of vintage-style reverb algorithms that can add warmth and character to vocals while still providing a high degree of control over the decay time, pre-delay, and other parameters.
Additionally, the plugin's intuitive interface and low CPU usage make it a practical choice for producers and engineers working on larger projects.
However, it is worth noting that the other Valhalla reverbs (such as Valhalla Room, Valhalla Plate, and Valhalla Shimmer) can also produce excellent results for vocals, depending on the desired sound and context.
Ultimately, the best Valhalla reverb for vocals will depend on the specific needs and preferences of the user.
What Type of Reverb Is Best for Vocals?
The type of reverb that is best for vocals depends on the specific sound you are trying to achieve and the genre of music you are working on.
For example, a bright and spacious hall reverb may work well for pop or rock vocals, while a shorter and more subtle plate reverb may be better suited for jazz or folk vocals.
It is also important to consider the size and shape of the virtual space created by the reverb, as well as the decay time and pre-delay settings.
These parameters can greatly affect the perceived depth and texture of the vocal sound.
In practical terms, it is a good idea to experiment with different types of reverb and settings until you find a sound that works well for your specific track.
Using multiple reverbs on different vocal tracks or elements (such as a lead vocal versus a backing vocal) can add depth and contrast to the overall mix.
Ultimately, the key to finding the best reverb for vocals is to trust your ears and use your creativity to experiment and explore different sounds and settings until you find the perfect match for your track.