The main difference between an algorithmic and convolution reverberation plug-in is that the former makes use of specified mathematic algorithms hence the name itself to generate a sense of space whilst a convolution reverb utilizes impulse response samples to do so.

These impulse response samples are recorded from real physical spaces using microphones to capture the acoustic response of the environment. Arguably so, convolution reverbs are often the first preference when sound mixing engineers want to give instruments in the mix a realistic acoustic space, and depth listeners are often used to.

Nevertheless, the same phenomenon can also be achieved with good-sounding algorithmic audio software plug-ins but it may sometimes require an expert understanding of reverb parameters to dial in realistic results.

Pros of an algorithmic reverb​

The following is a list of advantages of using an algorithmic reverb:
  • it gives you more control over your desired sound
  • it uses less CPU compared to convolution reverbs
  • it can generate surreal spaces for sound design purposes

Pros of a convolution reverb​

The following is a list of advantages of using convolution reverbs:
  • it sounds more natural without tweaking the parameters
  • it reduces OCD levels, especially when mixing orchestral music

When should you use algorithmic or convolution reverberation?​

The decision of choosing between either an algorithmic or a convolution reverb is entirely a matter of choice and for your intended purpose. It’s all about what works in the mix but definitely not suitable for audio mastering.

It’s also important to remember that with orchestral music, which is often performed and listened to in a concert hall, most people's ears are already used to the aforementioned concert hall sound. Anything else may sound creative and that's fine, but it's a little less natural to the purists.
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Mpumelelo von Mumhanzi
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