Choosing the right reverb for vocals can sometimes be complex. Depending on the type of reverb and the reverb itself, the results will differ considerably. In this article I’m going to tell you about 5 reverbs that I think are the best for vocal mixing in 2022.
Understanding the basics of the reverbs you use is very important before wanting to use more. In the next section, you will find a list of the 5 main types of reverb you will meet in music production. But if you already know and master those types of reverb, you can skip this point!
1. Hall reverb
Hall reverbs generally represent large, big and smooth spaces. Concert halls, cathedrals or churches are generally the spaces that a hall reverb tends to imitate.
2. Room reverb
Room reverbs follow the same principle as hall reverbs. But in this case, the spaces that room reverbs tend to imitate are smaller and warmer. It can go from a studio, to a bedroom or even a garage.
Room reverbs are extremely useful to put certain elements of a mix in the same space.
3. Plate reverb
Plate reverbs tend to imitate one of the oldest techniques of the recording studio history. The initial technique is to run the sound through a metallic plate. The vibrations generated are then recorded. This is a plate reverb.
The timbre of a plate depends on the actual type of plate you decide to work with. But they are known to produce a very bright and smooth sound result.
4. Chamber reverb
Chamber reverbs are probably the most atypical ones of this list. Initially, the principle of a chamber is to send the dry source via a speaker in a room (not bigger than your bedroom). Thanks to the extremely reflective walls, the pretty long reverb generated by the surfaces is then re-recorded by the sound engineer.
Despite those reflective surfaces, this type of reverb sounds thicker since the space is pretty small compared to hall reverbs.
5. Spring reverb
If you’re a guitar player, you probably already met that kind of reverb. In fact, spring reverbs are known to be the most used reverbs in guitar amps. Let’s see together how it works!
A spring reverb follows the same principle as a plate, except instead of working with a plate, we work with a spring. The sound result is less smooth than its neighbors. In fact, it sounds like a lot of repetitive and very close echos. The human ear perceive that as a reverb.
How are these reverbs generated ?
There are 2 ways to digitally generate those reverbs… :
- Algorithm reverbs : They correspond to the reverbs produced via an algorithm. In other words, via mathematical calculations. Their purpose is to emulate one of the 5 previous types of reverbs.
- Convolution reverbs : More complex, convolution reverbs use impulse responses of physical and real-life spaces to digitally re-create how their acoustic space sound. That means that this type of reverb can be extremely realistic. Convolution reverbs are often used in movies.
Perfect, we’re good to go now!
The top 9 reverb plugins for vocals in 2022 are:
- Pure Plate
- Little Plate
- Verbsuite Classics
1. Little Plate (Soundtoys)
Bundle : Soundtoys 5 (499$)
Announced by the manufacturer as… : Warm, rich and spacious. Inspired by the original EMT 140.
Our favorite preset : Their “warmup” vocal presets
Our review :
Little Plate is our #1 choice when it comes to vocal mixing. For the simple reason that this reverb plugin sounds warm and smooth, without being complicated to use. Used in a subtle way, you will quickly hear that this plugin is the definition of efficiency.
However, if you’re looking for something more powerful and aggressive (i.e. for rock, punk or any genre that requires more aggressiveness). You shouldn’t choose that reverb as your go-to vocal reverb. If it’s your case, the second plugin we present should be interesting for you!
2. Verbsuite Classics (Slate Digital)
Bundle : All Access Pass (149$ / year)
Announced by the manufacturer as… : The only plugin that brings together all the classic digital reverb units of the history
Our favorite preset : CLA AL2 Vox Verb
Our review :
You can go everywhere with that plugin in your pocket. From a simple doubling to a huge cathedral emulation, Verbsuite Classics got you covered!
As many of its competitors, Slate Digital loves to separate its presets in different categories depending on the source you’re working on (vocals, guitars, drums,…). But, honestly, my best advice would be to travel through all these categories to find the reverb you need.
But why does this reverb sound so great and so real ? Because it’s a convolution reverb that tends to emulate the most-used analog reverbs in history. The presets you’re gonna use with that plugin are presets that’s been used for years (and still used today) by the greatest engineers in the world.
The preset you will use tomorrow is maybe the reverb used on your favorite Marvin Gaye’s song. Next week, you’ll maybe try a room preset used on a Michael Jackson’s hit! Pretty cool, isn’t it ?
3. H-Reverb (Waves)
Bundle : Waves H-Series (59$)
Announced by the manufacturer as… : A rich and deep reverb that sits beautifully in the mix
Our favorite preset : All the “Vocal” presets are amazingly great
Our review :
The cool thing about that reverb is that you have a lot of parameters to move in a one and single tool. Enveloppe, filters, dynamics, modulation,… You have everything you need in front of you, to create your own reverb.
In the other hand, you can simply keep it simple and hide all those “extra” parameters. You will then be able to use all the “classic” parameters like pre-delay, decay time, size, etc,…
If you have a very specific idea in mind, the H-Reverb is probably the best choice to take.
4. VintageVerb (Valhalla)
Bundle : None (sad…)
Announced by the manufacturer as… : A reverb inspired by the most beloved reverb hardware from the 1970s and 1980s
Our favorite preset : Concert Hall (Yep, the default preset!)
Our review :
Valhalla is known to be one of the most creative reverb manufacturer of the world. And when you combine this creativity with a reverb supposed to be vintage, it creates one of the most satisfying plugins ever made.
Just open up the plugin, and you will have that weird feeling of the “Okay, that sounds great already!”.
From unexpected and creative effects to the most simple reverbs, the VintageVerb has probably something special to give to your vocals. The really cool thing about this plugin is that you can start simple and finish with something totally different just by tweaking the knobs a little bit.
Our best advice would be : Try, tweak ,and be creative!
5. Pure Plate (UAD)
Bundle : Bundled with UA hardware products
Announced by the manufacturer as… : The reverb that provides UA’s revolutionary plate reverb emulation in a simple, affordable package.
Our favorite preset : Wet Solo OFF – Treble at 3:00 – Reverb Time at 3s – Low Cut at 90 Hz – Guaranteed result!!
Our review :
Back to simple things! UA is known for their amazing plugins, especially for their hardware units emulations. And, honestly, that Pure Plate is far from being disappointing.
What differentiates this reverb from its competitors is that beautiful warmth is the low-mid frequency range. It provides vocals an incredible sense of reality. This is probably one of the most realistic plate reverb plugins you’ll find on the market.
Are those reverbs the only ones that will give you goosebumps every time you open them up with a vocal track ? Certainly not, but by using one of those reverbs on your vocals, you will find what you need. Whatever the genre, the type of vocal and the vibe, this top 5 reverb plugins got you covered!
Keep in mind that all our articles are made to help you, to to impose rules on you! You’ll maybe find your favorite and go-to vocal reverb for out of this top 5. That’s not a problem! Keep digging for new sounds and your music will thank you later…
This was our top 5 reverb plugins for vocals in 2022, don’t forget to…
HAVE FUN !!