The Reverb FX plugin game is quite cluttered with options out there, with most of the recommendations costing a pretty penny. Of course, we all have our stock reverb in our DAW and in our opinion can get quite far with it if we take the time to learn them. However, there are always other options out there with either different sounds, feels or better options when it comes to control and the like. Therefore, today we have quite a few our favorite free reverb plugins below to recommend you.
What is a Reverb Effect?
For those unaware and want a little background before we dive in, technically a ‘reverberation‘ is created when a sound or signal makes contact with any type of surface and reflects back causing numerous reflections to build up. Imagine you’re in a big empty church and start to sing the Halo theme song. Once the sounds leave your mouth and hit the walls, that signal begins to decay as the sound is absorbed by the surface of other objects in the area, such as other walls, chairs, benches or even people. Reverb FX stimulate this process in varying ways or even exaggerate natural reverberation if that’s what you fancy.
What Does Reverb Do to Your Music?
Reverb is the most important and the most used sound effects in modern music and is used in all genres. These plugins make your virtual sonic stage come alive. Reverb plugins really make it sound more real, which ultimately helps your music connect with your audience. This effect is pretty popular and synonymous with vocals, but it is used on literally everything to give them depth, space, different feel, shine, and more. For your voice in particular, it will fill the sound of the vocals out nicely, or create some shimmering tails to add some ear candy, or even allow you to transform where the listener thinks the singer(s) are located.
It can give voices and instruments more fullness, sustain as well as more natural sound to them. We’ve drenched tracks with reverb to completely transform them, while others just a tad bit to give them a lush feel that many can’t notice in the entirety of the mix. On the other hand, reverb can also push things back in the mix. If you go too overboard, it can cause them to lose energy and cohesion because it overlaps words or notes and washes them out. Make sure you tweak the decay times and other various settings we’re given in most reverb plugins.
The Best Free Reverb FX Plugins
There are so many free reverb plugins out there, but it has almost become a past time for us to just sit on the couch at night and read about these things (and try them all — don’t even ask us about our hard drives), but we’re going to talk about some of the most important in our opinion.
Coming in as one of the most popular recommendations on any forum when it comes to free reverb, epicVerb is a plugin that aims at both silky, spacious effects that is useful during a live performance or in a recording studio up to harsh, aggressive reverb tails useful for modern drum and vocal productions. It has quite the variety of sound you can get from it (two different reverberation modes and six stereo early reflection models), and there’s a level of flexibility and quality that you won’t find in many other unpaid reverb plugins.
It has a pretty good level of customization with it’s 3-band EQ, controls for time, damp as well as pre-delay, and some mid/side capabilities on top of it all. One of the more powerful free options in this article when it comes to actual control of the reverb sound, and highly recommended to download and have it at your fingertips just in case. It’ll take a little learning but very well worth it.
TAL Reverb 4
We are huge on TAL plugins. We can’t count how many we use in our tracks, even when we have some other options that we paid hundreds for as alternatives. Here we have one of their most popular free plugins with the TAL Reverb 4, which is is a powerful reverb VST that will call for producers and musicians who are interested in a more vintage 80s reverb sound.
Despite its simplicity (which we actually prefer with effects, unless you’re into advanced tweaking), the Tal Reverb 4 is capable of creating a range of fantastic sounding reverb effects ranging from natural, breathy tails to short, vintage delayed effects. It has some great flexibility in providing direct control over multiple algorithm parameters like modulation amount and rate, reverb diffusion and room size. It is easy to use, works on pretty much anything you want to slap it on, and has a modulated vintage reverb sound as well as diffuse sound. They have 4 free reverb plugins right now, so we recommend trying them all if you have the time. Otherwise, this is our favorite of theirs when it comes to sound and feel.
Hotto Spring Reverb
The sound of a “spring reverb” became very popular in the 60’s, but is still used today quite frequently and can be a great stylistic choice regardless of your music ‘genre’. We love spring verbs on guitars, strings and even keys at times. This free virtual plugin imitates the physical model and behavior of the famous spring reverb.
The Hotto Spring Reverb allows the individual selection and combination of up to three reverb springs. The dry/wet is a mix between direct and reverb signal for some parallel processing. For the reverb time, it defines the T60 reverberation time. The supported sample rates are from 44.1kHz to 192 kHz.
Magnus Ambience is a sturdy, high quality reverb with lots of options and array of useful quality presets and functions. It has Dry gain of direct unprocessed sound, wet gain of processed sound, time which is the time it takes for the reverb echoes to die out, size of the room, pre-delay which is the amount of delay between the sound and the onset of the first echoes, the width from mono to stereo, quality which allows you to trade off reverb quality for CPU usage and the variation button which creates a new variant of the same room.
This button is useful to adjust the variation of echo/ringing in the reverb. It also includes some unusual functions like a gater and a very useful hold function. Some of the advanced controls are damping, EQ, gating, diffusion, and more. This is a nice verb if you wanted some extra function to tweak your reverb sounds accordingly.
OrilRiver is a famous stereo reverb and is well-optimized for low CPU usage. This free reverb plugin simulates the reverberation of both small rooms, halls and really anything in between. As OrilRiver has an intuitive interface, the user can quickly adjust the desired reverb sound with some advanced metrics as well. It has twelve variations of early reflections, five variations of the reverb tail and three band EQ’s for the wet signal which helps create different feels of the space you’re attempting to achieve. Its internal signal processing is at 64-bit floating point and sample rate ranges from 44100 to 192000Hz.
The OrilRiver free reverb plugin comes with 36 presets, has all the parameters you would expect to see in a professional reverb plugin and has more controls than some of the pro reverbs.
The Sanford Reverb is a versatile reverb capable of simulating many kinds of spaces. It has a dense, clean and crisp sound. Each of the right and left channels have a set of three early reflections that can be independently set. The filter section lets you shape the tone of the reverb’s output and the damping simulates wall absorption. The modulation adds motion to the reverb tail resulting in a lively reverb. The Sanford reverb has a freeze mode and low CPU usage. Its only compatible with pc 32/64 bit.
Valhalla Super Massive
ValHalla is simply one of the best plugin creators out there, hands down especially in the reverb and delay world. Their Super Massive is a delay plug-in which can create conventional delays, choruses, flangers, silky reverbs and swirling rays of feedback. Particularly with the Valhalla Super Massive, you can change the delay control freely without any zipper noise (the sound heard when the volume is changed rapidly over a large range). A single volume change may produce a slight click or pop sound, but a rapid succession produces a sound similar to the sound of a zipper being zipped.
Super Massive uses a variety of feedback delay networks (FDN) where each delay in the structure can be up to two seconds long. Some of Valhalla Super Massive’s features are feedback delay networks, WARP control (length of the delays and behavior of the echoes), density control, cross-platform preset browser, and of course a mix knob. Not to mention many useful presets to get some ideas going. We put this last because some may technically call it a delay, but to us is a hybrid.