The Best Snare Reverb to Use (With Settings)

I’ve talked a lot about mixing snare drum to get this essential and driving element of your drums and entire mix sitting just right. Aside from practical effects for sculpting the frequencies and dynamics of your snare, many people rightly like to use reverb on their snares. The reason for this is it adds width to an instrument which is best center panned (see my drum panning guide), and very importantly it helps to add some sustain on top of whatever you added via snare compression. With that in mind, let’s talk the best snare reverb to use to achieve these benefits before we get into specifics with settings.

Snare Reverb

snare reverb

The best type of reverb to use on the snare is arguably a plate reverb.

Plate reverbs emulate the reflections created by creating vibrations through a metallic plate. Sonically it’s a cleaner, brighter reverb than you’ll hear in nature. This allows you to apply it to an instrument like the snare or vocals (another instrument where plate reverb is the best choice) and enjoy the depth and width of reverb-like reflections without the clutter or smog which room reverbs bring.

Plate reverb on snare keeps your snare snappy and responsive and somehow, despite being an artificial reverb, sounds very natural on a snare, like an extension of the instrument itself.

This is likely because of the tonal quality of a plate in that mid-frequency region which overlaps around the fundamental and overtones of the snare itself.

Here is a snapshot at the settings I like to dial in as the best for plate reverb on a snare:

snare plate reverb

Not all of these settings will apply to your plate reverb.


The decay refers to how long until the reverb signal fades. As you can see, I’ve got a relatively short decay on my snare plate reverb.

Regardless of the type of reverb you’re using, you generally want to keep your decay short and under 1 second to keep from smothering the transients of the next hit.

This still gives your snare that split second of extra sustain plus any width and depth you may want to go with it.


A reverb’s predelay is basically its attack; this determines how soon after the initial sound that you hear the reverberation.

I like a predelay between 10-30ms for my snare reverb as this creates separation between the initial sound and the delayed reverb, adding depth.

This also helps to preserve the transients by allowing that dry signal to sound first.


I typically create a specific reverb for my snare with settings I’m not applying to anything else. As such, I generally use my snare reverb as an insert directly on the track rather than a send.

With that in mind, you need to adjust the “Mix” setting to blend in the amount of reverb you want on the snare. Setting this to 100% means we’ll only be hearing the “wet” reverb version of the snare.

A little bit of reverb goes a long way on a snare, so you can generally get by with and have the best results staying below 50% like the 28% I’ve got dialed in.

Everything else in terms of width and coloring or filtering the sound is to taste. I’m using the Valhalla Plate in the examples above which allows you to model and simulate different types of metal to compose the plate, leading to darker or brighter sounds.

If you don’t have a plate, you can tailor a more conventional room style reverb to be reminiscent of a plate.

I put together my snare reverb settings cheat sheet for demonstrating ideal snare reverb settings regardless of the type of reverb you have:

snare reverb

As you can see, it’s not too dissimilar from the plate reverb settings I have above.

Generally speaking and regardless of reverb type, ideal snare reverb settings typically consist of a short decay time below 1 second to keep your snare clean and the reverb responsive, a predelay of 10-30ms to create separation from the dry signal, and filtering 600-6000Hz (Abbey Road Reverb filtering) keeps the reverb and mix clean.

You’ll note I have this example’s “Mix” set to 100% which you should only do when you’re using the effect as a send rather than putting it directly on the snare itself.

Otherwise and like I mentioned, coloring the snare’s reverb is all a matter of taste. I prefer to keep it slightly on the brighter end, especially when I’m pairing it with a rounder or warmer sounding snare.

Lastly, the width of the reverb will be situational, depending on what else is happening in your mix and the amount of “real estate” that you have to work with.

Regardless, snare reverb is a tried and true way to add a little more tail at the end of your snare and give it a little more fatness and presence in the mix.

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