Sanford Reverb is a free reverb plugin that gives you full control over the reverberation of your sound. It used to be a paid plugin, but free since 2015. This review will give you some insights in how this plugin works and what you can do with it!
I use this plugin for all sorts of productions; it’s perfect for ambient sounds since there’s a modulation section which can make it real trippy. But you can definitely use this plugin for drums as well. As an example I gave 1 snare three kinds of reverb so you can hear what’s possible. The first is the original sample. The second and third reverbs are made by me. The fourth is made with one of Sanford’s presets.
Snare 1: Original (no reverb)
Snare 2: Custom Reverb 1
Snare 3: Custom Reverb 2
Snare 4: Rumble Room Preset
Sanford Reverb Overview
This plugin is divided in 5 sections: Early Reflections, Mix, Reverb, Filter and Modulation. It also comes with 20 presets, which are really well designed and the names of the presets will definitely give you a good indication of what the reverberation will sound like.
This section makes Sanford Reverb such a good plugin. For those who don’t exactly know what early reflection are, see image below, or check out our article “What is Reverb?”. There are 6 early reflections available, 3 for each channel. Each has it own controls: Time, Pan, Level and an On/Off switch.
Time is the amount of time that passes before you hear the reflection. This can really shape your reverberation. Do you want them to follow up quickly or do you want a gap in between two reflections? It’s all possible.
With Pan you can, obviously, pan the sound. This way you can let all the reflections come from your left, I however recommend that for “normal reverberation” you use 2 or 3 for left and the same for right.
The Level parameter determines the loudness of the early reflection. Usually the first reflection is the loudest, the third the weakest. But as I said before, this plugin gives you full control so you can experiment with it and adjust it however you like!
The mix section has 4 controls: Dry, ER, LR and Out. These controls are featured on most reverb plugins so you’re probably familiar with them.
With the Dry parameter you control how much of the initial input is passed on to the Sanford Reverb plugin. ER stands for Early Reflections and determines the level of all the early reflections. LR is the same, but then for the level of Late Reflections (reverb tail). And Out controls the overall output level of the plugin.
This is your most typical filter. A Low Cut (highpass) and High Cut (lowpass) filter. There’s not much to say about this filter/section. It does what it has to do and that’s filtering out unwanted frequencies.
This section gives you control of the Pre-Delay, Time and Damp. It also holds a Freeze function, which lets you freeze the reverb, making it play continuously without fading away. This way you can listen carefully to your reverberation.
Pre-Delay is the amount of time (ms) it takes before the reverb progress starts. This way you can simulate how long it takes for the sound to reflect and gets back at you.
With the Time knob you set the amount of time it takes for your reverberation to fade out. When you close this knob, you will only hear the early reflections and no tail at all.
Damp is a feature I wasn’t that familiar with when I got this plugin, however I really like it now and I think a reverb plugin is not complete without one (most have it as far as I know, some name it differently). I didn’t know how to put the effect of this control into words, so I opened the manual. Sanford describes it perfectly, so I will just quote the manual: “The Damping control determines the damping frequency. The lower it’s set, the more quickly the reverb will lose higher frequencies. This helps simulate the absorbent quality of a room. For example, a room with carpet on the floor will lose higher frequencies more quickly than an uncarpeted room.”
Modulation lets your sound “move”. So in this situation it will add motion to your late reflections. It’s pretty straight forward, the Depth controls the depth of the modulation and the Speed controls you the speed/rate of the modulation (how often it bounces up and down).
I’ve downloaded this plugin when it became free and I’m still using it since. What I like the most about this plugin is that you can adjust the time, pan and level of the early reflections. I also like the presets it comes with, they will give you a good starting point to create your own unique reverb.