In praise of crappy reverbs
High-end reverb has its place, and I think it’s important that everybody have one world-class reverb at their disposal. (This doesn’t have to be expensive, by the way.)
And I’ve been at this a while, so I’ve collected a number of legitimately world-class reverbs! It’s an embarrassment of riches over here.
And yet, when I want to create a little space around something, am I reaching for the $300 plugin model of the $20,000 reverb? Heck no I’m not. I’m reaching for the $30 emulation1 of the Alesis Microverb (which cost $249 new, back in the day).
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So … why do I do this? I have some of the literal best reverbs ever made. So why am I so often going for the crappy ones?
Because, oftentimes, a crappy reverb has a way of sitting in a mix that a “nice” reverb simply can’t achieve. All the things that make it crappy — the noise, the low bandwidth, the aliasing, the graininess — are huge assets when you want to create an intentional space that defines itself without taking up too much room in your mix.
Bonus points if you bring your pans inward and focus the crappy reverb narrowly around its source. Instant 3D!
I’m not spending more than $40 on this — jamie