With so many different styles of reverb and endless companies creating plugins, it’s harder than ever in 2020 to find the best reverb VST for your mix. To take away the bulk of the search, I’ve narrowed down the options to a list of 15 of the best reverb plugins out there for the home studio engineer.
You definitely don’t need every VST on this list, but if you’ve heard an ear-catching reverb on a record and want to know what the pros were using, chances are it was one of these. Take a look at each of them and find out which is best suited for your needs.
1. UAD Lexicon Digital Reverb
Lexicon has created some of the best digital reverb units in history, long before the days of VSTs. In a time when digital technology was new and many algorithmic reverbs were tolerable at best, Lexicon broke all boundaries.
To this day the 224 and 480L units remain some of the most sought after pieces of hardware. For the home studio owner with slightly smaller pockets however, UAD has faithful VST recreations of both units.
At a fraction of the cost, they’ll will run you a fair amount of money. However, once you try them out you’ll have a hard time using any other reverb plugin.
UAD Lexicon Digital Reverb: https://www.uaudio.com/uad-plugins/reverbs/lexicon-480l-digital-reverb-effects.html
2. Lexicon PCM Reverb
Speaking of Lexicon, they’re still at it! Now working in the DAW world they create some of the best digital reverb VSTs out there. On top of new designs and updated sounds, they also offer recreations of the above mentioned units.
What better place to get an emulation than the original manufacturer? Although the link below is for a pricey complete bundle, they offer many smaller affordable options as well.
Lexicon PCM Reverb: https://lexiconpro.com/en/products/pcm-total-bundle
3. SoundToys Little Plate
The plate reverb should be at the top of your toolkit when mixing lead vocals. It’s a warm, mellow sounding reverb without any harsh high end content. This type of reverb does an amazing job filling out a mix spatially without being overly present.
Little Plate is the best plate reverb VST out there in my opinion. It doesn’t offer many options in terms of control but that’s the beauty of it. All that’s required of the engineer is to add it to a reverb buss and set an appropriate decay time.
SoundToys Little Plate: https://www.soundtoys.com/product/little-plate/
4. Slate Digital Lustrous Plates
If you’re looking for a plate reverb with more options than what Little Plate has to offer, Lustrous Plates offers more than enough flexibility. Released in 2019, it’s the most current plate reverb VST for 2020 and it’ll be hard for other companies to best it.
Slate Digital Lustrous Plates: https://www.slatedigital.com/lustrous-plates/
5. SoundToys EchoBoy
Completely opposite the simplicity of SoundToys LittlePlate is their equally revered EchoBoy plugin. Both a delay and a reverb, EchoBoy offers some of the best diversity around when it comes to reverb VSTs.
Within it you’ll find recreations of classic gear, as well as brand new concepts. Pretty much every aspect of the sound is customizable and just when you think there couldn’t be any more knobs to turn, the “tweak” button reveals even more settings.
This mass amount of options makes EchoBoy a little daunting at first. However, SoundToys has you covered with a vast library of presets, helping you get the sound you want quickly.
SoundToys EchoBoy: https://www.soundtoys.com/product/echoboy/
6. UAD Galaxy Tape Echo
The tape or “slapback” echo was a staple of 1970s rock and roll, and nobody did it better than Roland! Their RE-201 Space Echo was a reverb and delay unit that has made its way onto thousands of records.
Due to its popularity, a hardware unit now would cost you well over a grand. However, Thanks to the world of VSTs and plugins UAD has created one of the best emulations of this reverb on the market.
It comes with a pretty price tag, not to mention the fact that you need a UAD Apollo or Satellite to run their products. However, if your budget allows it you can’t get much better than this when searching for that psychedelic 70s vibe!
UAD Galaxy Tape Echo: https://www.uaudio.com/uad-plugins/delay-modulation/galaxy-tape-echo.html
7. FabFilter Pro-R
For the engineers looking for a more modern and scientific reverb, FabFilter’s Pro-R Reverb is the best VST of 2020. Unlike previously mentioned reverbs that emulate units of the past, Pro-R is a brand new design.
It gives the user full control of every aspect of the reverb’s sound and decay. This allows you to shape the character in a way that will fit your mix like a glove.
FabFilter Pro-R: https://www.fabfilter.com/products/pro-r-reverb-plug-in
8. UAD AKG BX20 Reverb
This is a replication of a classic studio spring reverb effect. I use the word “studio” as it offers much better fidelity and a different sound than the spring reverbs you would find in a low end guitar amp.
Not only are the springs much bigger in size but they are also higher quality and better suspended, within the reverb tank. The result is a warm almost chorus-like effect that fills out and supports the instruments harmonic content.
Although there are no physical springs in the VST world, UAD has pulled through as always with one of the best recreations of this classic reverb.
UAD AKG BX20 Reverb: https://www.uaudio.com/uad-plugins/reverbs/akg-bx-20-reverb.html
9. Magnus Ambience
If you’re hoping to add some new reverb flavour to your mix but don’t have any budget this is one of the best free VSTs out there. It offers a slew of options to customize the sound to your liking and even features a gate option for that classic 80s sound.
It may take you a little longer than paid options to dial in a sound of your liking. However, with a price tag like this you can’t really complain!
Magnus Ambience: http://magnus.smartelectronix.com/
10. Reverb SOLO
Created by the people at Reverb.com and Acon Digital, Reverb SOLO is one of the most simple reverb VSTs of 2020. Offering a single knob to control tone and size it doesn’t take much to quickly get a great sound.
It may not have the perfect sound for every situation. However, it’s quick and simple design makes it easy to tell whether it’s right for your mix or not. It’s also free, giving you one more reason to add SOLO to your list of go to reverb VSTs.
Altiverb is by far the best convolution reverb VST on the market in 2020. What’s a convolution reverb? You may may be asking. Also known as an impulse response reverb, this type of reverb is a sample of an actual physical space. Other digital reverbs known as algorithmic reverbs operate through a series of mathematical equations to virtually create a space.
In the same way that VSTs can profile classic reverb units, engineers are able to profile rooms. The software measures the way a space responds to sound and creates a virtual room based off the collected data.
Convolution reverb is the most realistic option to real world reverb. Because of this, it is not usually used as an effect in the same way other reverbs are. Instead it is an indispensable asset to the post sound engineer when recreating a specific space for a film.
It is also useful to the home audio engineer who may want to make their recordings sound like they were recorded in a much higher quality room.
12. Wave’s IR Library
Although Altiverb is an amazing reverb VST, it’s not very affordable and a little overkill for most home studio situations. Because of this, we recommend Wave’s IR plugins when looking for a high quality, cost-effective convolution reverb.
Offering several different versions of the IR plugin, all are essentially the same thing optimized for various mixing scenarios.
IR-L Convolution Reverb: https://www.waves.com/plugins/ir1-convolution-reverb
IR-L Convolution Reverb (Lite): https://www.waves.com/plugins/ir-l-convolution-reverb
IR-Live Convolution Reverb: https://www.waves.com/plugins/ir-live-convolution-reverb
IR360 Convolution Reverb (Surround Sound): https://www.waves.com/plugins/ir360-convolution-reverb
13. UAD Dreamverb
At a unique halfway point between algorithmic reverb and convolution reverb lies UAD’s Dreamverb. This is an extremely realistic room modeler that allows the engineer to create a reverb from scratch.
Users can choose from a combination of materials, room sizes and shapes, as well as many more customizable parameters. For a full overview of its many features check out the video below.
UAD Dreamverb: https://www.uaudio.com/uad-plugins/reverbs/dreamverb.html
14. Your DAW’s Stock Reverb
Contrary to what you may think, the stock reverbs plugins that come with DAWs are very usable. Although it gets a bad rep, I’ve mixed many songs with Pro Tools basic reverb VST D-Verb.
When working with most stock reverbs the presets are a good starting place but they won’t sound perfect. To get amazing results you may need to dig around a little with the settings and tweak things.
I recommend adding a stock EQ VST after the reverb plugin to get the best results. This will allow you to shape the sound even more to your liking. Try rolling off a lot of the high end first and see how things sound. This area usually tends to be where cheap digital reverbs sound the most unrealistic.
15. Slate Digital VerbSuite Classics
If you’re still uncertain after reading all of this as to what is the best type of reverb VST for you, I’d recommend picking up VerbSuite Classics.
It offers a wide collection of classic reverb recreations whether it be plate, algorithmic or convolution reverbs. Given the wide range of sounds available, VerbSuite is an extremely affordable option.
The quality or flexibility of each reverb isn’t as great as the style specific VSTs. However, this is a great place to get familiar with the many options and colours available in the world of reverb.
Slate Digital VerbSuite Classics: https://www.slatedigital.com/verbsuite-classics/
Best Reverb VST Conclusion
In conclusion the best reverb VSTs in 2020 are:
- UAD Lexicon Digital Reverb
- Lexicon PCM Reverb
- SoundToys Little Plate
- Slate Digital Lustrous Plates
- SoundToys EchoBoy
- UAD Galaxy Tape Echo
- FabFilter Pro-R
- UAD AKG BX20 Reverb
- Reverb SOLO
- Waves IR Library
- UAD Dreamverb
- Your DAW’s Stock Reverb
- Slate Digital VerbSuite Classics