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Reverb Basics

Reverb Basics

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Published by simonballemusic

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Published by: simonballemusic on Dec 08, 2011
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07/10/2013

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Music Technology – Reverb
1
Reverb
 
Sounds bounce off the surfaces of any space, or off objects within a space, repeatedly,gradually dying out until they are inaudible. The bouncing soundwaves result in areflection pattern, more commonly known as a reverberation (or reverb). The earlypart of a reverb consists of a number of discrete reflections that you can clearly discernbefore the diffuse reverb tail builds up. These
early reflections
are essential to howyou perceive the space of a room. All information about the size and shape of a roomthat the human ear can discern is contained in these early reflections. As a rule, a widerearly-reflection spacing is interpreted by the brain as a larger space.The first form of reverb used in music production was actually a special room with hardsurfaces (called an echo chamber). It was used to add echoes to the signal. Mechanicaldevices, including plates and springs, were used to add reverberation to the output of musical instruments and microphones.Digital recording introduced digital reverb effects, which consist of thousands of delaysof varying lengths and intensities.
 
Music Technology – Reverb
2
Reverb in Practice
Artificial reverb is an integral part of music production, as it puts back the sense of space and place that's removed by close-miking voices and instruments in an acousticallydead studio. The reverb type and its settings need to be chosen carefully if the humanhearing system is to accept it as natural — or at least believable.On the most fundamental level, both delay and reverb are about adding thecharacteristics of an acoustic environment, either by creating simple echoes or bysimulating more complex patterns of sonic reflections. The reason these effects areusually so important at mixdown is because the individual parts in most modernmultitrack projects communicate very little in the way of a common sense of space, andas such sound a bit 'dislocated', rather than seeming to belong on the same record.Obviously, synthesizers and sampled sounds often have no sense of acoustic realism to
 
Music Technology – Reverb
3
them at all, but even miked instruments are often recorded very close up to reduceroom reflections as much as possible. This means decisions about the nature of theproduction's overall acoustic space can be deferred until the final mixdown.
For this reason, the primary objective of reverbs and delays is to reconnecttracks that have no inherent connection by giving them some sharedacoustic characteristics.

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