6 of the best vintage reverb emulations

arturia
(Image credit: Arturia)

Over the past week, we've been getting a little misty-eyed over vintage hardware here at MusicRadar HQ, showing you how to capture the sound of some legendary pieces of gear using modern software.

Today, we turn our attention to software emulations of classic reverbs, lining up six of the most commendable options from UA, Soundtoys, Arturia, Eventide and Cherry Audio.

1. Soundtoys SuperPlate

soundtoys superplate

(Image credit: Soundtoys)

Platforms: Mac/PC | Price: £119/$147 | Buy

One of the newest and best reverb plugins, SuperPlate is an incredible five plate reverbs in one. Plates are not exactly practical these days but still sound incredible and this is simply the best way to enjoy a lot of them. You get emulations of an EMT 140, EMT 240, Audicon, EcoPlate III, and Stocktronics RX4000 – that’s a lot of vintage plate reverbs that would take up a lot of room (not to mention cash) condensed into one plugin.

2. Cherry Audio Stardust 201

cherry audio

(Image credit: Cherry Audio)

Platforms: Mac/PC | Price: £15/$19 | Buy

Technically the original Roland Space Echo was more delay than reverb but with so many features packed into this emulation, it seems fair to include it here. Stardust 201 is a fantastically flexible emulation; it’s cheap and sounds great. You get seven tape-head modes for a wide range of tape echo modes, a spring reverb, chorus and overdrive. One of the best reverb/delays out there.

3. Eventide SP2016

eventide

(Image credit: Eventide )

Platforms: Mac/PC | Price: £213/$265 | Buy

As one of the first studio effects boxes back in 1982, and even one that you could upgrade by plugging into, the original hardware reverb broke ground in many ways. It sounded great too. This emulation covers all the ground of the original – from room to plate reverbs – and sounds as good. Great for no-frills ambience and mighty lushness.

4. Universal Audio Lexicon 224

lexicon reverb plugin

(Image credit: Universal Audio)

Platforms: Mac/PC | Price: £174/$215 | Buy

A seriously good emulation of a very serious digital reverb, as used by everyone from Talking Heads to U2 in the late ’70s and ’80s. Lexicon were the big name in studio reverbs back in the day, with the 224 contributing much to that reputation. UA’s take is typically accurate, with the same algorithms as used in the original. It’s one of the most expensive reverbs here but thankfully you don’t need UA hardware to run it.

5. Audio Ease Altiverb

AUDIO EASE PLUGIN

(Image credit: Audio Ease)

Platforms: Mac/PC | Price: £479/€499 | Buy

Bit of a lazy inclusion, this, because while Altiverb is not a vintage reverb emulation, it is an emulation of everything! You get convolution reverbs of some of the most famous locations in the world – Sydney Opera house to Wembley Stadium – and recording studios like Hansa. Even studio reverb gear. See? It does everything.

6. Arturia 3 Reverbs You'll Actually Use

ARTURIA plugin

(Image credit: Arturia)

arturia

(Image credit: Arturia)

arturia plugin

(Image credit: Arturia)

Platforms: Mac/PC | Price: £85/$99 each | Buy

Arturia named this bundle 3 Reverbs You Will Actually Use, and you really will. OK, only two of these are emulations of vintage reverbs, but very fine ones they are too. You get a fantastic version of an EMT 140 plate, plus Rev SPRING-636, an emulation of the Grampian 636 spring reverb. Add in a new algorithmic reverb called Intensity and this is truly a reverb delight.   

Andy Jones

Andy has been writing about music production and technology for 30 years having started out on Music Technology magazine back in 1992. He has edited the magazines Future Music, Keyboard Review, MusicTech and Computer Music, which he helped launch back in 1998. He owns way too many synthesizers.

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