The hypnotic shimmer of spring reverb has been essential to iconic records since the 1950s. Originally created by sending audio signals through metal springs, spring reverbs add lush texture and atmosphere to any track.
While hardware spring reverbs are coveted for their distinct organic sound, modern plugin emulations can capture their magic at a fraction of the cost. With realistic bouncing springs and customization options, they bring vintage vibes to productions, old and new.
In this guide, we’ll highlight the top spring reverb plugins for evoking the splendor of analog while opening creative possibilities. From faithful replicas to creative twists, these are the best tools for putting some spring in your step.
Spring by Eventide
I’m a big fan of Eventide’s plugins, and Spring is no exception. It accurately emulates the distinctive metallic “boing” and warm ambiance of physical spring reverbs found in guitar amps.
The modeling is so realistic you can tweak parameters like spring tension and damping to dramatically change the tone and behavior, allowing creative sound design possibilities beyond what real springs can produce. The smooth Decay time of up to 20 seconds also imparts a lush, expansive character.
Features and Controls
Spring comes loaded with an intuitive set of parameters to precisely shape your reverb. You can adjust the Tension and Number of Springs from 1-3, with more springs producing a richer, more complex sound.
Separate High and Low damping filters provide tone shaping. The Tank switch selects between two different reverb tank sizes for short, bright reflections or longer, deeper diffusion. There is also a full set of Tremolo controls with Speed, Depth, and pre/post reverb routing.
The Ribbon controller is a standout feature, allowing you to program a morph between two different settings for seamless transitions. The HotSwitch also lets you instantly jump to an alternate setting for dramatic effect.
While Spring excels at classic guitar amp and surf rock tones, it is versatile enough for drums, vocals, and synth too.
The extended Decay time and Modulation control in particular, lend themselves well to ambient sound design. The Ribbon and HotSwitch also make Spring an excellent tool for dynamic automation in mixing.
User Interface and Usability
The interface is clean and intuitive, with all main controls accessible upfront. Interactive features like the Ribbon and HotSwitch also promote real-time tweaking and experimentation.
Eventide absolutely nailed the spring reverb sound with Spring. Its warm vintage tones and metallic sheen work magic on the guitar, while the abundance of creative controls encourage experimentation.
If you’re looking to add authentic spring reverb character to your mixes, I highly recommend giving Eventide’s Spring a try. It’s an inspiring plugin that has already become a go-to in my productions.
Spring Reverb by Softube
This is a plugin designed to emulate the sound and behavior of vintage spring reverb tanks. It can be used to add a classic, retro reverb effect to vocals, guitars, drums, and more.
It has a distinctively vintage spring reverb tone that is warm and gritty. The modeling is very convincing and has all the little quirks and imperfections of real spring reverbs.
The decay has the characteristic springy twang and bounce. The controls allow you to shape the sound to your liking.
Ease of Use
The interface is simple and intuitive. There are not too many controls which makes it easy to dial in a good sound fast. The most important parameters (Mix, Springs, Tension) are right there front and center. Advanced features like Shake are optional.
- Great vintage spring reverb sound
- Intuitive and easy to use
- Low CPU usage
- Shake control for creative effects
- Affordable price
- Only models one reverb tank
- No modulation or stereo options
- Can’t tweak the reverb decay shape
I really like the simplicity of the interface! It only has a few buttons and controls, which makes it very easy to use.
This plugin is hugely popular among guitarists but also sounds great on drums, vocals, and keys – pretty much anything you want to add some spring reverb to. Definitely worth checking out!
Springs by AudioThing
This plugin emulates the sound of classic spring reverbs from the 1960s-1980s. It features 17 different spring reverb models, ranging from 1-6 springs, that recreate iconic units like the Roland RE-201 Space Echo and the Accutronics tanks used in the BBC’s studios.
It uses a combination of convolution and modeling to capture the unique sound of each spring reverb. Each model has its own character – some are bright and twangy, others are darker and smoother.
Beyond the reverb, Springs also includes a flexible Baxandall EQ with bass, mid, and treble controls to shape the tone.
- Huge range of authentic, vintage spring reverb sounds
- Captures the nuances of real spring reverbs very convincingly
- Easy to dial in a good sound with the simple, focused controls
- Baxandall EQ helps fit the reverb into a mix
- Resizable and great-looking interface
- Very lightweight on CPU
- Only controls the length of the reverb, not the initial delay/pre-delay time
- No stereo width control on the reverbs
- EQ is only available on the output, not the input signal
Springs by AudioThing nails the elusive magic of real spring reverbs in plugin form. I use this plugin quite a bit, especially for experimental purposes.
I often throw it on a track just to see what kind of sound I can get out of it. I’ve had some very interesting results, and I’m always surprised at the different textures that this plugin can create.
Overall, it is an outstanding spring reverb that gives you the heart and soul of real spring tanks in your DAW.
Rev SPRING-636 by Arturia
The Rev SPRING-636 is an amazing software recreation of the legendary Grampian 636 spring reverb. I have never had the pleasure of using the real thing, but from what I can tell, TAE® and Phi® modelling technologies have done an incredible job of recreating its unique tonal character.
The feature that I love most about the Rev SPRING-636 is the Vintage Pre-Amp. It really allows you to dial in the tone you want, whether you’re going for a classic spring reverb sound or something a little more modern.
The Reverb Length and Mix It Right features are also great for getting the sound just right, and the Pre-delay & Pre-Filter section is essential for shaping the reverb’s character.
- Excellent emulation of the distinctive Grampian spring reverb sound
- Intuitive interface with visual feedback of the virtual spring tank
- Flexible tone-shaping options with the preamp, EQ, and dynamics sections
- Useful modulation effects like vibrato and tremolo
- Low CPU usage
- Only models a single reverb tank, no options to change “spring” type
- Preamp distortion can be harsh at extreme settings
- Modulation effects are basic compared to dedicated plugins
If you need advanced modulation effects, you may want a more full-featured plugin, but for straightforward spring reverb emulation, the Rev SPRING-636 is hard to beat.
Twangström by U-He
Twangström is a software spring reverb plugin modeled after three popular hardware spring reverb tanks found in guitar amplifiers.
It utilizes physical modeling to simulate the mechanical reverberation of real spring tanks, rather than just capturing their impulse responses. This allows for much more flexibility and control over the reverb sound.
Some of the key features of Twangström include:
- 3 modeled spring tanks with different characteristics
- Physical modeling controls like Decay, Tension, Density, etc.
- Drive and Tone sections for saturation and EQ shaping
- Multimode filter with morphing between modes
- Flexible envelope follower
- LFO with 8 waveforms and tempo sync
- Modulation matrix for creative sound design
- Incredibly realistic and responsive spring reverb modeling
- Lots of sound shaping options for sculpting the reverb tone
- Creative modulation capabilities for unique effects
- Intuitive and visually appealing interface
- Very CPU efficient
- It can sound too dark/muddy on some material compared to brighter reverbs
- Modulation is complex and not visually represented
- Presets could be better categorized
This is probably the weirdest and most unique-sounding spring reverb I’ve ever used, perfect for creating strange and otherworldly sounds. It excels at getting thick, lush reverbs perfect for guitars, synths, and vocals.
I highly recommend Twangström to anyone looking for something a little out of the ordinary. Lots of options for creative experimentation, and the price is very reasonable.
There are probably hundreds of different reverbs on the market, but spring reverbs will always have a special place in my heart. I hope this article has helped you to choose the best spring reverb plugin for your needs.
I’d love to hear how you like using spring reverb in your productions, so feel free to drop me a comment below!
Thanks for reading, and happy producing!