The main difference between an algorithmic and convolution reverb is that an algorithmic reverb makes use of computational mathematics to generate reverberation whilst a convolution reverb utilizes impulse response samples to do so.
These impulse response samples used in a convolution reverb plugins are actually recorded from real spaces using microphones to capture the acoustic response of the environment.
Arguably so, convolution reverbs are usually a 1st preference when mixing engineers want to give instruments in the mix a real acoustic space and depth. Nevertheless, this can also be achieved with good algorithmic reverbs but will more likely require an expertise understanding of reverb parameters.
Advantages of Algorithmic Reverbs
The following is a list of advantages of using an algorithmic reverb:
- Algorithmic reverbs will give you more control to the desired sound
- Algorithmic reverbs use less CPU compared to convolution reverbs
- Algorithmic reverbs can create unnatural and surreal spaces.
Advantages of Convolution Reverbs
The following is a list of advantages of using convolution reverbs:
- Convolution reverbs sound more natural without tweaking parameters.
- Convolution reverbs make life easy especially when mixing orchestral music.
When Should You Use Algorithmic or Convolution Reverb?
The decision of choosing between algorithmic and convolution reverb is entirely a matter of choice and for your intended purpose. It’s all about what works in the mix or whether you are using reverb for sound design.
It’s also important to remember that with orchestral music, which is often performed and listened to in a concert hall, most people ears are already used to the aforementioned concert hall sound. Anything else may sound creative but not so natural.