Although clarity and realism are often considered the most important characteristics of a good digital reverb, it’s worth bearing in mind that there are other reasons to use reverb as a creative tool. This is electronic music, not a direct-to-disc audiophile recording of a classical concert; most of us are less concerned with whether our music sounds ‘real’ than with whether it sounds good. As such, there’s room in every producer’s arsenal for a digital reverb with enough character to match a plate or a spring. Something distinctive and coloured which can be used to create unique soundscapes, twist synths and drums into new sonic territory or just experiment with unashamedly unrealistic sounds.
We were half tempted to include something suitably 90s like an Alesis Quadraverb or Midiverb on our list for that unmistakeable Aphex/Squarepusher sound, but ultimately convenience has to win out over nostalgia. There are plenty of excellent plugin options to choose from which will add heaps of character to your tracks while retaining all the ease-of-use of the software approach.
most of us are less concerned with whether our music sounds 'real' than with whether it sounds good
Rob Papen’s RP-Verb is an incredibly powerful option with some excellent built-in modulation effects (the envelope follower options are particularly useful). Audio Damage’s Eos is a very versatile and incredibly well priced option. But our pick of the new-school reverb plugins is D16’s Toraverb. It’s stunningly flexible, intuitive to program, it works on pretty much any sound you can imagine and it sounds incredible. But perhaps the best part is that at just 39 Euros it’s one of the biggest bargains around. You owe it to yourself to check it out.