Adding reverb to your productions can often be the best and quickest way to add realism, as we detail in our feature on using reverb in music production here. With that in mind, here are 10 great reverbs for orchestra and soundtrack production, for all budgets and major platforms. 

Audio Ease Altiverb

Audio Ease Altiverb – best for a pro, convolution sound

Some call this the ultimate convolution reverb and it’s easy to see – and hear – why. Convolution reverbs model the acoustic properties of physical spaces by capturing their impulse responses, and use that data to effectively recreate the space in a virtual environment. Altiverb, then, models the most famous spaces out there, so you can place your orchestra recordings and samples in some of the best concert halls in the world. From the Amsterdam Concertgebouw, ‘the most prestigious classical music concert hall in the world’, to the iconic Sydney Opera House, they are all here. It’s a pro-choice plugin, albeit one at a pro price. 

Baby Audio Spaced Out

Space Out by Baby Audio – best for spaced-out reverbs (of course it is!)

Spaced Out is one of the newest plugins on the reverb block and based on the Roland Space Echo, itself a legend in effects processing. However, it’s very much a modern take of that hardware unit, a plugin with hands-on, X-Y real-time parameter tweaking, a 16-step delay sequencer, other great modulation features, and some incredible presets. It is therefore not necessarily one for ‘standard’ reverbs in classical music production, but more for experimentation and out-there effects. In fact as well as great-sounding reverb textures, it’s capable of a variety of more multi-effect delayed action. A great, creative tool. 

Eventide Blackhole

Eventide Blackhole – best if you own a restaurant at the end of the universe

Also leaning more towards the more ‘out there’ side of soundtrack production, Eventide’s Blackhole has become legendary in reverb circles. It’s best for simulating out-of-this-world spaces that don’t exist, as opposed to those real-world convolution emulations of places that do. Eventide even calls it an ‘Extraterrestrial reverb’ such are its vast sound and range of applications. That said, behind the controls labeled with non-descript names like ‘Gravity’, lie more down-to-Earth reverb functions. You can therefore pull the resulting sound down to ground level and apply it successfully to standard instrumentation.

But we think that would be missing the point and not utilizing Blackhole’s vast capabilities – this really is designed for making an orchestra sound like it’s being played at the restaurant at the end of the universe. We also love that, for not much more outlay ($299), you can get a pedal version, and (for just $19.99) an iOS Blackhole too. 

Fabfilter Pro-R

Fabfilter’s Pro-R – best for graphical tweaking and sounds as good as it looks

Fabfilter makes some of the best plugins out there – just look at the number of awards the Dutch developer has won – and Pro-R is the company’s beautiful-looking and sounding reverb. Using it is simplicity in itself – Fabfilter says ‘you achieve the reverb sound you are looking for, without requiring a degree in reverb’. There’s a Space control for room size, another for Decay Rate (plus a graphical EQ to apply to this for extra character), and a post EQ to really shape the results.

With more descriptive controls – Brightness, Character, and so on – the whole Pro-R experience feels a lot more musical than it does a science lesson. It also sounds as good as it looks and, along with Blackhole, is available on the iOS platform too.

Lexicon MPX Native Reverb

The MPX Native is best for legendary Lexicon goodness

Lexicon has a huge rep when it comes to reverbs, and MPX Native is possibly the easiest and cheapest way to buy into its sound (and is often on sale). You get seven Reverb Types, 100 presets plus simple controls for main parameters like Reverb Time, Diffusion, and Color. It’s a simple UI too, which makes twisting your sound a breeze, and the plugin really does deliver the Lexicon sound – ideal for any instrument type – in spades. While this is the cheapest way to get that Lexicon sound, we’d also recommend considering the bundle of seven reverbs for an entire suite of legendary Lexicon goodness, as it is currently half price at just $330.

Logic ChromaVerb

ChromaVerb is the best-sounding entry-level reverb, but Logic only

Logic’s Space Designer is the DAW’s convolution reverb but ChromaVerb still models spaces, with 14 algorithms offering more general room emulations: from the smallest Room, right up to Airy, a light, big, breezy, and infectious reverb. Classical and soundtrack composers are well catered for with the medium Chamber and large Concert Hall options. There there are standard reverb controls alongside less typical modulation options and a useful graphic EQ. Apple Mac Logic users can rejoice as ChromaVerb is part of the DAW’s vast suite of bundled plugins, which is the draw that tempts many into the world of Logic. It’s a shame that the rest of us might have to consider the old Mac v PC debate to use ChromaVerb. (And, no, we’re definitely not going into that here!)

Sonnox Oxford Reverb

Classic looks and a classic sound from the Sonnox Oxford

Like others here, the Oxford Reverb is an algorithmic reverb with users allowed to get creative with the parameters within these room simulations. It enables full control over early reflections used to envisage the dimensional space of an environment, and also the reverb tail that gives this space its character. This, Sonnox says, gives a reflective reverb like this a more user-controllable experience, and as the Oxford Reverb has been considered a standard by so many for so long, who are we to argue?

It might look a little dated compared to some of the cooler, younger models included in this roundup, but the Oxford Reverb is the daddy of them all, with many incredible features, and certainly enough on offer for experimentation and deep tweaking. 

TC Electronic VSS3

TC’s VSS3 is best for that classic 6000 sound minus the huge price tag

VSS3 – the ‘VSS’ meaning Virtual Space Simulation reverb – is based on the Legendary System 6000 system that we detail in our main feature on reverb in soundtrack production. It is the closest plugin you’ll get to that industry-standard reverb, without having to splash out silly money on the original hardware, and is also part of a suite of plugins modeled in exacting detail on all of the processing that the 6000 can deliver. The complete suite costs $900 but $199 gets the reverb alone and is well worth it, for one of the most iconic reverbs ever. 

Universal Audio EMT 140 Classic Plate Reverberator

The EMT 140 is best for the classic mechanical hardware plate sound, but ironically requires its own hardware

The usual caveat applies with Universal Audio plugins in that you’ll need the company’s hardware to run them on – which will mean shelling out around $700 on an interface. However, not only does the company make great hardware, the software that runs on it is exceptional, the EMT 140 being a case in point. Once again, the EMT 140 features in our reverb production tutorial, and is an emulation of three original hardware plate reverbs installed at The Plant Studios in Sausalito, California.

The focus is on recreating the original sound, going right down to component level detail. These mechanical plate reverbs have a sound and an even diffusion that has added character to many iconic recordings in pop history. As good as these are on individual instruments – drums in particular – the 140 is also great to add character to any cinematic (especially strings) or soundtrack work. It’s almost worth the price of an interface on top of its retail tag.

Valhalla Supermassive

Valhalla’s Supermassive comes at anything but a supermassive price. Best for… being free!

We simply had to include and finish with a free plugin in our top 10, and while there are quite a few good free reverbs out there, none have made quite the impact of SuperMassive. Like Blackhole above, it might not necessarily suit the more cinematic side of production but for soundtracks, it is perfect for creating space-age sounds and HUGE reverb textures. And it’s free, so what more can we say?