BandLab update brings powerful new tools for all music creators

Image Credit: BandLab

A fresh look and new Sampler and Mastering tools make the BandLab update an even more tempting prospect for beginner music producers looking for free music software.

Social music making platform BandLab has just had an upgrade, aiming to give emerging producers everything they need in one free platform. BandLab 10.0 adds more music tools and social elements, including direct uploads to TikTok.

BandLab is a massively popular and ever-growing place to make music online, now boasting over 37 million users around the world. Its appeal stems from its unpretentious easy-to-master music production tools, its cloud-based software, and also the social nature of the platform which means users can share their creations instantly and collaborate with other people on BandLab online. And, crucially, the platform is completely free to use.

BandLab 10.0 update
Image Credit: BandLab

The update, BandLab 10.0, gives the platform a fresh look with a dark mode option, bringing with it a brand new Sampler and upgrades to the automated Mastering tool.

The sampler is an add-on to its Mix Editor, letting users create their own samples. Creators can now import up to a minute of their own audio or video to make beats from, or choose from the library of royalty free BandLab Sounds.

The updated Mastering feature meanwhile can now render tracks ten times as fast as its competitors. Developed by GRAMMY Award-winning engineers, the tool gives a professional final touch to songs.

Online Mastering is touted by BandLab as a serious tool, not a gimmick, and the update gives it a powerful upgrade. In keeping with BandLab’s mission to level the playing field for all artists, the tool can be used by all users including those on smartphones and tablets.

BandLab update 10.0 free music software
Image Credit: BandLab

BandLab CEO Meng Ru Kuok said: “This is a major milestone release. We envision BandLab evolving beyond helping creators make music, to helping them earn a living and grow their audience. We are the best cross-platform, accessible place to make music, and we want to keep pushing the boundaries of music creation to the next level.

“The new sampler and other functions, the new look and social features, are designed to take their creativity to another place. It’s part of what we see as a continuing investment in the broader music creation ecosystem.”

Kuok said BandLab’s aim reaches beyond making “cool tools,” ultimately hoping to help music creators overlooked by the professional world of music production to thrive. The social tools are a big element of this, letting users share their creative process with other creators and fans. As part of the update, users can now directly upload their sounds to TikTok so songs can be discovered outside of the app.

As BandLab continues to streamline and add more features, whilst still retaining its accessibility, the platform is only going to see a continued rise in popularity. We’re watching with interest.

How to download Apple Music songs to your Apple Watch for offline listening

Image credit: Alvaro Reyes

Downloading your Apple Music library to your Apple Watch for offline playback is incredibly easy, here’s how!

As with all Apple products, Apple Music is designed to work seamlessly with other Apple products – including the Apple Watch. The user-friendly app allows users access to stream radio stations, podcasts, and download songs for offline listening. The last point we will be showing you how to do today. 

It’s no secret that Apple Watch users can download Apple Music tracks onto the device, but why should you use this feature? Well, phones are getting larger, and having a thousand-pound computer shaking around in your pocket whilst exercising is anxiety-inducing, to say the least. This is where the Apple Watch comes in to use, you can upload your music to the watch, connect your Bluetooth headphones and listen to your favorite music, without needing your phone. 

So, to begin you will need to open the Apple Watch app on the paired iPhone, scroll down and tap music. At the top of this page, there will be an option called ‘Recent Music’. If this is enabled, your phone will automatically add music you’ve listened to recently on Apple Music. 

How to download specific songs & albums to my Apple Watch?

However, if you want specific music you can also do that by tapping ‘Add Music’ (positioned below ‘Recent Music’.) This will bring up your Apple Music library, offering instant access to your playlists, albums, singles, artists, etc. You will also have a search bar to seek out specific artists to download to your Apple Watch. Once you have selected the intended item to download tap the ‘+’ icon at the top right of the screen. This will add it to the download queue, with the download starting once the Apple Watch is charging near the paired iPhone. 

Can I remove downloaded songs from my Apple Watch? 

Thankfully removing music is as easy as adding music to your Apple Watch. On the same ‘Music’ page in the Apple Watch app, swipe left on a downloaded album/track and tap delete. To delete multiple items at once, tap ‘Edit’ at the top-right of the screen and tap ‘-‘ icon next to all the ones you want to be removed. 

Top 10 new music books in 2021 – so far

Need a beach read? Look no further – we’ve gathered the best new books about music released in the first half of 2021.

Looking for a new book about music to read this summer? We’ve found ten must-read music books, newly released in 2021.

There’s collections of practical advice to help you manage your music career, autobiographies of musical icons to inspire you to create, and fact-packed books for music scholars.

Whether you’re headed to the beach to enjoy the sunshine or curled up inside out of the cold, here are ten of the best new music books to lose yourself in wherever you are in the world.

The Musical Human by Michael Spitzer

How has music evolved over the past 165 million years?

Spitzer’s book explores what we have in common musically with birds, insects and animals, from the first notes on paper to modern music on Spotify.

Slightly skewed towards classical music than popular music, this is nevertheless an engaging read for anyone interested in why humans are drawn to music.

Sound Advice by Rhian Jones and Lucy Heyman

An accessible guide to keeping yourself healthy as you set out on a career in music, both mentally and physically.

Offering practical advice about issues like money management, there’s facts about the structure of the industry and advice from the likes of Taylor Swift and Loyle Carner.

Backed by leading figures in the industry, Sound Advice is a fantastic treasure trove of information for all musicians and producers.

Billie Eilish by Billie Eilish

Fans of Billie Eilish need this glimpse inside the singer’s life, exploring her touring experiences and childhood with exclusive photos.

It’s easy to forget how young Eilish is – already one of the biggest musical icons of the 21st century, aged 19.

Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen by David Boucher and Lucy Boucher

Celebrate Bob Dylan’s 80th birthday year by taking a deep dive into his link to Leonard Cohen.

How does the music of both artists link to poetry, and how did they manage to escape early portrayals of themselves as “the angry young protest singer, and the godfather of gloom?”

As you would expect from work of academia, it’s thoughtful and heavily researched – but at the same time accessible, and wry rather than dry.

Not a linear biography, Deaths and Entrances instead explores Dylan and Cohen’s personalities, the context of their influences, and delves into the relationship between poetry and song.

Two Beats Ahead by Panos A. Panay and R. Michael Hendrix

Why is silence so important in EDM? What’s the key to great music collaboration?

With the tagline What Great Musical Minds Teach Us About Creativity and Innovation, Panay and Hendrix’s inspiring book brings together case studies and interviews with the likes of Beyoncé and Hank Shocklee.

Explore how creativity and art can lead to entrepreneurial triumph.

Bessie Smith by Jackie Kay

Much-loved Scottish poet Kay mixes poetry, fiction, prose and biography to tell the astonishing story of blues singer Bessie Smith in this reissued book.

As a girl Kay idolised Smith, a queer Black woman who drank bathtub gin by the pint-load, once fought off a group of the Ku Klux Klan alone, and whose first recording for Columbia Records sold 780,000.

If fiction is more your cup of tea, seek out Kay’s novel Trumpet.

Tarzan Economics by Will Page

An engaging and easy-to-digest read exploring the economics of the modern music industry by Spotify’s ex-Chief Economist.

With case studies from Radiohead to Starbucks, this call to disruption is for anyone interested in the economics of streaming, or wondering how to make a success of their own business.

Beeswing by Richard Thompson

A humorous, delightful memoir from one of the UK’s most brilliant songwriters and guitarists.

The book tells the story of the dramas, relationships and his search for meaning through Sufism, focusing on the early parts of Thompson’s folk-rock career.

Long Players edited by Tom Gatti

Literature meets music again in this anthology of 50 writers discussing their favourite albums.

Writers from Marlon James to Ian Rankin offer a cross-genre selection ranging from Duke Ellington to Lizzo, across genres and decades.

Each chapter offers entertaining and poignant glimpses into the private lives of the authors, as well as an insight into how writers tend to zone in on the lyrics and structure of songs.

Rememberings by Sinéad O’Connor

No regrets or apologies in this riveting memoir.

Sinéad O’Connor’s casual, chatty style carries you along through stories from her turbulent childhood, tales from the music industry at the height of her success, and the disorderly past few decades.

Above all, O’Connor’s provocative and sparkling voice shines clearly throughout.

Feeling inspired? If you’re making great music and want the world to hear it, check out RouteNote’s digital music distribution. We release tracks by independent musicians and producers to Spotify, Apple Music and all the top streaming services. Head here to find out more.

99 Drum Samples I and II are currently free from 99Sounds

Image Credit: 99Sounds

Both premium-quality sample pack libraries are currently on a pay-what-you-want basis with no minimum payment.

Indie sound design label 99Sounds have released their follow-up to 99 Drum Samples and dropped their minimum $9.99 requirement for both collections of drum samples. 99 Drum Samples I and 99 Drum Samples II are multi-genre, royalty-free drum libraries containing 99 and 110 individual samples respectively. In Drum Samples I you’ll find 6 claps, 1 cowbell, 4 crash cymbals, 11 closed hi-hats, 26 kick drum samples, 5 open hi-hats,10 percussions, 2 ride cymbals, 3 shakers, 22 snare drums and 9 toms. Drum Samples II is packed with 11 claps, 13 hi-hats, 37 kicks, 13 percussions and 36 snares.

With over 450,000 downloads, 99 Drum Samples I is the most popular 99Sounds library to date. Five years later, 99Sounds are releasing their sequel, 99 Drum Samples II. 99 Drum Samples II is the must-have unique drum collection for all producers. As with the previous pack, 99 Drum Samples II is suitable for various music styles such as hip-hop, trap, dubstep, electronic, synthwave, lo-fi, pop and much more.

99Sounds says their sample packs are crafted using various analogue and digital synthesizers, acoustic drums, classic drum machines and field recordings, then processed and cleaned using multiple onboard effects and studio gear. 99Sounds “used analog distortion, high-end preamps, cheap tape recorders, field recorders, guitar amps, a spring reverb, an old Tascam PortaStudio 4-track, a vinyl deck, and a vintage tape delay unit.” They even used a Game Boy to resample some of the sounds from the retro console.

“The samples have been carefully edited, trimmed, and normalized to -0.3 dB (except for some of the cymbal hits, which are peaking around -3 dB).” All individual samples are in 24-bit WAV format, ready to be dropped into your next big track. Download both packs for $0 or make a donation to support their future work and cover hosting costs. Simply head here, click Part 1 and Part 2, enter your price and an email address to access the download.

Being royalty-free means you can use the samples in your next commercial music project without fear of getting a copyright strike. Head to RouteNote, to upload your track to all major stores, streaming services and social platforms for free with just a few clicks.

Top 5 bookshelf speakers under $800 (per pair)

Got some spare cash to spend on upgrading your speaker system? What are best pairs of bookshelf speakers money can buy under $800?

We’ve had a look at the best bookshelf speakers between $600 and $800 so you can give your computer, record player, CD player or TV the much needed hi-fi upgrade it’s been after.

If your budget can’t stretch this high, fear not. We’ve rounded up the best pairs under $100, $200, $300, $400 and $600.

1. Klipsch RP-600M – $629
  • 400W peak power handling: Helps ensure rich, dynamic sound.
  • One 1″ titanium LTS (Linear Travel Suspension) vented tweeter and one 6.5″ cerametallic cone woofer: Provide clear-sounding highs and lows.
  • 90° x 90° Tractrix horn technology: Delivers the power, detail and emotion of a live music experience with clean and natural sound.
  • Two-way speaker system: Sounds like one source rather than several separate sources.
  • MDF cabinet with textured wood grain vinyl: Combines stylish aesthetic with absolute durability, which results in a seamless integration into any decor.
  • Robust input terminals: Single five-way input terminals accept banana plugs or bare wire up to 12 gauge for flexible, lasting connections, while the vibrant color coding provides easy setup.
  • Dramatic details: Copper anodized trim rings, cast aluminum feet, satin painted baffles and a laser-etched logo give the Reference Premiere series a modern, premium look.
  • 45Hz – 25kHz frequency response: Provides faithful sound reproduction.
  • 96dB sensitivity: Ensures crisp, robust audio.
  • 8 ohms impedance: Conducts power through the speaker.

2. Definitive Technology D9 – $749
  • High-Performance Bookshelf Speakers: Feature a proprietary 5.25″ BDSS woofer, a 1” Aluminum Dome Tweeter with 20/20 Wave Alignment Lens & Laterally Offset Tweeter Assembly for a smoother high-frequency reproduction, articulate midrange and punchy bass
  • Futuristic Design for an Outstanding Performance: The 5 x 9-inch Oval Passive Bass Radiator drives a deep and clean bass response with crystal clear audio, while the elegant & timeless look blends perfectly with your home décor. These speakers truly deliver a premium listening experience
  • Multiple Speaker Setup Options: Use as standalone speakers in a 2.0 channel system, a 2.1 channel system with a sub, or setup a sophisticated and complex home theater system with your choice of amplifier, receiver or Definitive Speakers
  • A Class Apart: One of the most trusted names in audio speakers and premium home entertainment, Definitive brings to you the best audio quality crafted with 25 years of constant innovation, relentless engineering, latest audio technology and iconic intelligent designs
  • Optional Demand ST1 Speaker Stands: Elevate your sound with the Demand ST1 speaker stands (sold separately) to raise the height of these speakers by 32″ and to keep them in place on a carpet or a solid floor surface. The stands also come with threaded inserts

3. KEF Q350 – $699.98
  • 6-1/2″ aluminum woofer: Along with 1″ aluminum tweeter for a complete range of sounds.
  • 2-way speaker system: Sounds like 1 source rather than several separate sources.
  • Bass reflex enclosure: With a rear-firing port promotes optimal performance.
  • Removable black grille: Remains acoustically transparent while protecting the speaker’s components. (Sold separately).
  • 63Hz – 28kHz frequency response: Ensures a wide range of accurately reproduced sound.
  • 87dB sensitivity: Ensures crisp, robust audio.
  • 8 ohms nominal impedance: Ensures efficient conduction of power through the speaker.

4. Edifier S3000 Pro – $799.99
  • Refined, elegant design: The matte black finish with dark wood paneling creates a look that combines high-tech modern sensibilities with rustic, old-world design.
  • Wireless left and right speakers: Enjoy true freedom when placing your speakers, and open up a variety of new options for creating your ideal home audio setup.
  • High-resolution audio: Certified Hi-Res, these speakers offer a better response at a wider range of frequencies and will help you discover new sensations when you play your favorite songs or movies.
  • 38Hz – 40kHz frequency response: Ensures accurate sound reproduction.
  • 6.5″ aluminum-alloy diaphragm bass unit: Enjoy better lows and mids, as the rigid, lightweight 6.5″ driver delivers a clearer, more precise sound.
  • Planar diaphragm tweeters: Planar ribbon tweeters provide an excellent transient sound response for more detailed, delicate sounding highs.
  • Bluetooth V5.0 with Qualcomm aptX HD decoding: Designed to deliver 24-bit wireless HD audio wirelessly over Bluetooth so you can enjoy music with hardly any interference.
  • KleerNet wireless technology: Enjoy lower latency, lower bandwidth use, resistance to interference, and ultralow battery consumption compared to traditional digital speakers.
  • More ways to connect with music you love: Connect your speakers to a wide range of different audio devices through Coaxial, optical, RCA, USB, and balanced inputs.
  • Wireless remote control: Take control of your audio from anywhere in the room using a convenient wireless IR remote.

5. Polk Reserve R200 – $699
  • Solid, Versatile Bookshelf Loudspeaker: Featuring the new 1″ Pinnacle Ring Radiator Tweeter & a 6.5″ Turbine Cone Woofer, the technologically advanced Polk Reserve R100 Small Bookshelf Speaker ensures ultra-clear, crisp highs, smooth, detailed midrange & rich, effortless bass
  • Unmatchable Audio Performance: With Hi-Res Audio Certification, Dolby Atmos and IMAX Enhanced, the R200 offers an unparalleled audio experience by delivering clear and dynamic high-frequency response with exceptional audio clarity. It supports hi-res audio formats like DSD, FLAC, WAV, ALAC and MQA
  • Impactful Bass for All Your Entertainment: Features Polk’s Patented X-Port Technology with Eigentone Filter (ETF) inside a bass reflex cabinet with a rear-firing port that eliminates unwanted noise, offering tight, distortion-free bass for your music, movies, and video games
  • Pairs Perfectly with Any Home Theater System: This compact bookshelf speaker can be used as the front stage or as side and/or rear surrounds for any multi-channel home theater setup. The premium, large 5-way binding posts ensure easy & efficient setup with loss-less connection
  • Acoustically Designed Cabinet: Build to minimize diffraction and create an open sound stage, the Reserve Series cabinets are carefully cross-braced, while the acoustically inert anti-diffraction magnetic grilles offer a clean, modern aesthetic without sacrificing sound quality
  • Multiple Placement Options: Place this loudspeaker on a stand (sold separately), shelf, tabletop, or any flat surface, or mount it on the wall – it delivers the same extraordinary performance either way. The integrated rubber feet allows stable placement and protects the mounting surface
  • Create a 5.0 Channel Home Theater Setup: Add another R200 speaker and pair with two R500 towers and a R300 center channel, or pair with three R350 LCR Speakers as L/R surrounds and center channel to build a surround sound system. Add R900 height module for more depth. (All Sold Separately)

Instagram is testing link sharing via stories for all its users

Image credit: Instagram

Instagram is now testing allowing its users share links via their story with the new linking sticker.

Up until now Instagram limited who can post swipe-up links in their stories, normally you would need that coveted blue tick or have 10,000 followers. However, all Instagram users will now be able to add a link sticker, which can be found stickers tab when creating a story. It will work the same way that the swipe-up does, but you will double tap on the sticker instead of a swipe. 

The test is designed to learn how people will take advantage of the link sticker and Instagram will be watching for the types of links people post, keeping a close eye on misinformation or spam. Stickers also align to how people are currently using the platform, according to Instagram’s Head of Product, who in a recent interview with The Verge said: “That is the sort of future system we would like to get to.” Adding: “And that’s what we hope to roll out, if we’re able to make this work.”

Links will be limited to stories with no plan to bring them to the feed or any other area of the app. 

This is a great addition to the app and will empower content creators on the platform. Allowing them to use the platform to push viewers to their blogs, shops, and charities. 

Top 5 bookshelf speakers under $600 (per pair)

Whether you’re looking for a new pair or upgrading an existing pair, here are the best bookshelf speakers money can buy between $480-$600.

Bookshelf speakers are perfect for high-fidelity music listening, whether you’re streaming from services like Spotify HiFi or Apple Music Lossless Audio, or playing music from a record player, CD player, computer or TV, these speakers will not disappoint.

If your budget doesn’t stretch that far, find our round-up of bookshelf speakers under $100, $200, $300 and $400.

1. Elac Uni-Fi 2.0 – $480.04 (sale price)
  • True 3-Way Speaker Design
  • Newly Developed Concentric Driver Featuring a 4″ Aluminum Midrange and a 1″ Wide-Roll Surround Tweeter
  • New Single-piece Aluminum Cone 5-1/4″ Bass Driver
  • 6-Ohm Nominal impedance for compatibility with virtually all receivers and amplifiers
  • Front Firing Ports Allow for Flexible Room Placement

2. KEF Q150 – $599.98
  • 5-1/4″ aluminum woofer: Along with 1″ aluminum tweeter for a complete range of sounds.
  • 2-way speaker system: Sounds like 1 source rather than several separate sources.
  • Removable black grille: Remains acoustically transparent while protecting the speaker’s components (sold separately).
  • Bass reflex enclosure: With a rear-firing port promotes optimal performance.
  • 51Hz – 28kHz frequency response: Ensures a wide range of accurately reproduced sound.
  • 86dB sensitivity: Ensures crisp, robust audio.
  • 8 ohms nominal impedance: Ensures efficient conduction of power through the speaker.

3. DALI OBERON 1 – $599
  • Contemporary design: The rounded edges and rustic fabric of these new DALI front grilles add a lighter and more contemporary visual look to the OBERON series. This look is enhanced by the elegantly shaped aluminium base mounted on the two floor-standing models.
  • Patented SMC: The iron pole piece of the OBERON woofer magnet is crowned by a patented SMC disk – minimizing the negative effects of the iron. The use of the SMC disk greatly reduces mechanical distortion, which lowers third order distortion.
  • Wood fibre cone: The OBERON woofer features a wood fibre cone with a blend of fine grain paper pulp, reinforced with wood fibres, which creates a stiff, light-weight and well-behaving structure. Creating unfiltered sound with high accuracy.
  • Easy to position: The OBERON series has been selected to achieve a wide dispersion pattern. This ensures a well-integrated sound, even when listening at a significant off-axis angle. An added benefit is seriously reduced harmonic distortion and diffractions causing frequency distortion.

4. Definitive Technology D7 – $499
  • High-performance bookshelf speakers: Feature a proprietary 4.5″ BDSS woofer, a 1” Aluminum Dome Tweeter with 20/20 Wave Alignment Lens & Laterally Offset Tweeter Assembly for a smoother high-frequency reproduction, articulate midrange and punchy bass
  • Stunning futuristic look: Enjoy a truly premium listening experience with these elegant and timeless looking speakers that come in a clean, modern industrial design and a bead blasted finish, and blend perfectly with any home décor
  • Multiple speaker setup options: Use as standalone speakers in a 2.0 channel system, a 2.1 channel system with a sub, or setup a sophisticated and complex home theater system with your choice of amplifier, receiver or Definitive Speakers
  • A class apart: One of the most trusted names in audio speakers and premium home entertainment, Definitive brings to you the best audio quality crafted with 25 years of constant innovation, relentless engineering, latest audio technology and iconic intelligent designs
  • Optional demand ST1 speaker stands: Elevate your sound with the Demand ST1 speaker stands (sold separately) to raise the height of these speakers by 32″ and to keep them in place on a carpet or a solid floor surface. The stands also come with threaded inserts

5. Wharfedale Diamond 12.2 – $499
  • Klarity woofer: Klarity mica-infused Polypropylene cones with moulded radial ribs result in a lightweight cone with high rigidity, low colouration, and lightning-fast response.
  • Polyester film tweeter: Optimized to deliver open and smoothly extended high frequencies with low distortion at high volumes.
  • Sophisticated crossover network: Ulilizes a complex Linkwitz-Riley 24dB/octave topology featuring Air-core coils to produce the lowest possible distortion.
  • Resonance control cabinet: Cabinet walls that employ a multi-layered sandwich design with intelligent Spot Bracing to suppress resonance.
  • High quality binding posts: Two sets of high quality angled 5-way binding post terminals for optional bi-wire connection and easier cable management.

Slate Digital’s SEISMIC is a free drum sample pack, with 800 royalty-free drum samples

These free drum loops, percussion loops, one shots and construction kits are perfect for your pop, hip-hop, dance and electronic tracks.

SEISMIC from Slate Digital is full of loops and one shots with hard hitting snares and kicks, construction kits to layer, cut and mix, and more. In this pack you’ll find:

  • 229 modern drum loops
  • 187 modern drum one shots
  • 153 world percussion loops
  • 152 world percussion one shots
  • 80 signature percussion loops

All samples are free to download, royalty-free to use in your commercial projects and in WAV format ready to drop into your next release. Simply head here to download, enter your email address and mobile number, and Slate Digital will email you once your sample pack is ready to download.

Listen to the demo below.

Once you’ve enhanced your tracks with these samples, upload them to all major stores and streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, YouTube Music, Amazon Music, Deezer, TIDAL and many more, with just a few clicks thanks to RouteNote’s free distribution.

Free plugin alert – T-RackS Classic Clipper

Image Credit: IK Multimedia

Get free music software T-RackS Classic Clipper from IK Multimedia – a free plugin usually worth $50.

The good folks at IK Multimedia are offering a free plugin, and all you have to do is subscribe to their newsletter. The free music software is the T-RackS Classic Clipper, a mastering soft clipper that would usually set you back $50 but is currently being offered as a free gift.

First off, the Classic Clipper has a sweet look, with a cool orange vintage design. The free plugin offers you control over dynamics at the mastering stage, utilising peak clipping to control peaks instead of using peak limiting.

free plugin t-racks classic clipper mastering plugin
Image Credit: IK Multimedia

Give your track some personality or lend it distortion effects. IK Multimedia said: “A good example of this can be a snare track, or bass track which may be weak or dynamically inconsistent: running them through the Clipper and raising the level will saturate them nicely making them more present and bold in the mix.”

Controls are super-simple, with Slope, Gain and Output controls. The T-RackS Clipper can be used in the free T-RackS 5 CS and the T-RackS 5, either as a DAW plugin or standalone.

Find out more and get your free plugin here. Be quick – the promotion ends on 29 June.

What are the different types of reverb? A guide

Image Credit: Paul Esch-Laurent

Starting to explore reverb effects as a beginner producer? Let’s look at the different types of reverb you might come across in your producing.

Who doesn’t love a bit of reverb. It’s the most commonly used effect by producers, beginner and established. Reverb plugins for DAWs can have lots of options however, and for the beginner producer things can get overwhelming, fast.

On your average reverb plugin, there’ll be more than one kind to choose from – and you can use more than one. Let’s quickly explore the basic types of reverb.   

What is reverb?

It’s the natural sound of a space, as sound waves bounce around it. The bigger the space, the longer the reverberation – a small space makes for a short, snappy reverb.

Room reverb

Room reverb replicates the sound of a small space, such as a bedroom, and all the surfaces inside that sound waves can bounce off from. It gives unprocessed sounds a natural ambience, fitting them nicely into the mix without being too obvious. Whatever instrument it’s applied to, a touch of room reverb gives a warming colour, bringing sounds right in front of the listeners and also lending touch of space to dreary sounds.

Plate reverb

Rather than imitating a space, plate reverb is instead a type of artificial reverb. The original hardware was popular in 1960s Abbey Road recordings of The Beatles, before digital plate reverb became popular in the 1980s. As the name suggests, a metal plate is used to create its sound. Plate reverb is characterised by adding a bright, even echo to a mix.

Hall reverb

Hall reverb is designed to make the sound seem like it’s being played in a space the size of a concert hall – coming with the territory, orchestral tracks for example embrace the grand sound of a hall reverb perfectly. The subsequent long decay of the sound tailing away is relevant to the size of the space. Beware of muddying up your mix when you apply hall reverb to your instrument tracks.

Spring reverb

Spring reverb is an artificial reverb. Spring reverb plugins digitally replicate the original hardware, which featured a spring between a pickup and transducer. It’s commonly found in guitar amplifiers. The coiled spring vibrates, bouncing the echoes inside the unit. Intrigued? Here’s a great free plugin of a spring reverb effect:

Chamber reverb

Chamber reverb immediately injects a lot of atmosphere, but without the sometimes muddy quality of hall reverb. The chamber effect is similar to playing an instrument in a bathroom, with a ton of reflective surfaces – you’ll get colour and energy added to your sound.

Still confused? Read our introduction to reverb and how best to use it.