In this article, Pro Tools Expert Deputy Editor Dan Cooper shares his top 5 reverb plug-ins that he uses when mixing music in Pro Tools.
If we all only had one type of effect available when mixing then I'm sure reverb would be a popular choice for many. Reverb plug-ins enable us to do so many things in music production such as subtly place instruments in a virtual space giving context to a mix or produce depth and character to track in ways that could not be possible in tracking.
Reverb plug-ins especially become faithful friends and what's great is that we all use reverb differently to one another. 2016 has been the year of the reverb plug-in as it seems that nearly every plug-in developer has released some kind of reverb plug-in that claims to do things differently from the rest.
We all know that there are countless reverb applications in music production with the following reverb plug-ins, some old... some new, being used in my workflows.
Phoenix Verb By Exponential Audio
Regular readers of Pro Tool Expert will have seen Phoenix Verb by Exponential Audio being featured in many of my plug-in articles, and there is a very good reason for that. Phoenix Verb is an amazing all-rounder reverb that sounds genuine and musical on just about anything I run through it. I typically use Phoenix Verb for subtle rooms and spaces rather than large lengthy reverbs. I'm not saying Phoenix Verb can't do this, quite the opposite, this is one of the best reverbs for getting large natural sounding reverb tails. The thing is I just don't choose to use Phoenix Verb this way as I usually require more creative-sounding tails when mixing large sounding reverbs. Phoenix Verb is very good on mix buss processing and I believe it works magic when used very sparingly in mastering. Read where Phoenix Verb sits in my mastering chain.
Tverb By Eventide
Tverb by Eventide is a reverb plug-in that recreates the sound of Tony Visconti's music production technique used most notably in the recording of David Bowie's Heroes vocals. At first glance Tverb appears to be just another emulation, it isn't. The best way to describe Tverb is that it is a channel strip with room reverb effects. Tverb features two adjustable virtual microphones in a large recording space that provide very clean and characterful sounding reverbs. Both the virtual microphones run through adjustable noise gates with level and pan control. This isn't a reverb I reach for all the time as I don't always need that Visconti vibe on my vocal tracks, however, when I do feel that a song needs something large and roomy in the vocal reverb department I reach for this and it just works. Tverb is also brilliant as adding organic sounding space to instruments that need distance in a mix without the results sounding processed.
ADAPTIVERB By Zynaptiq
ADAPTIVERB by Zynaptiq is a reverb plug-in come virtual instrument, it really should be in a class all of it's own. ADAPTIVERB somehow doesn't get in the way of other tracks in a mix yet it can still sound big and luscious thanks to a clever synth like engine. ADAPTIVERB is just like any other Zynaptiq plug-in, by that I mean the rules do not apply. This plug-in does not have algorithms for plates, churches or halls... instead, ADAPTIVERB features controls that you would commonly find on a synth VI such as harmonic filtering and X/Y controls. I really like this "think outside of the box" approach to ADAPTIVERB. I find myself playing with settings I don't fully understand which in turn results in some really creative sounding reverbs that I could not achieve in any other reverb product.
Watch our video review of ADAPTIVERB by Zynaptiq
FabFilter Pro-R is the latest addition to my reverb plug-in folder and mixing workflow. I use many FabFilter products as FabFilter GUI's take minutes to learn and the results always sound amazing. What makes FabFilter Pro-R unique is the decay rate EQ feature that I have absolutely fallen in love with. The decay rate EQ lets us dial in the speed of the decay over frequencies we want rather than a global decay rate across the entire signal. Pro-R has only just entered my workflow but I know that this is going to be on many future projects as it features a very simple set of controls that so far are serving me well.
Watch our video review of FabFilter Pro-R
AIR Spring Reverb
When I need a vintage sounding reverb I reach for one of the simplest reverb plug-in I know of, the AIR Spring Reverb. What I like about the AIR Spring Reverb is that it has one very distinct spring sound that works when inserted on tracks for snares, guitars and vocals. It has a very cool splashy sound that I like to be as mono as possible as then the tail will sit nicely behind any track I through this on. Reverbs don't have to be clean, big and bright, the AIR Spring Reverb proves this nicely.
Don't forget to check out our Pro Tools Expert Reverb Mixing Handbook Series.
What Are Your Favourite Reverb Plug-ins?
As I stated at the start of this article, 2016 has been the year of the reverb plug-in. To round this year off why not share some of your favourite reverb plug-ins and let us know what you like about them and how you use you favorite reverb plug-ins in your workflows.