What is Reverb

Learn in plain english what reverb is

Have you ever wondered what ‘Reverb’ actually is? 

Well, you’ve reached the right place to learn more about what reverb is, what does it do and how it can affect your music.

BUT first…  let’s just explain that this isn’t the scientific definition of what Reverb is.  It’s the down to earth, plain speaking, real world explanation for any beginner looking for the answer to this commonly asked question.

The Definition

Reverb is created when sound is reflected from objects around you causing a number of reflections which then decay.

It’s one of the most popular effects in music.

Do not confuse it with Delay, which are timed echos of a specific audio clip.

Types of Reverb

1) Natural Reverb

We as humans, have always experienced natural reverb when watching live events that give a sense of realism to their performance. Natural reverb is simply achieved by recording in a reverberant space, which creates room noise which is them captured on the recording.

From tiled bathrooms to large gyms or sports halls, they all produce different sounding reverbs with different decay times.

Studios invest heavily into creating the right sounding room that produces a specific reverb.  At Electric Bear Studios we decided to develop a fairly no-reverberant, tight live room sound to give us the option of adding artificial reverb in post production.

2) Artificial Reverb

Artificial Reverbs were first introduced in the 1930’s & 40’s to create an adjustable reverb.  The main problem with natural reverb is it’s not really adjustable, yes you can create different reflections within a room by adding more surfaces but typically a room reverb is set.  You would have to have multiple rooms with different reverbs to have options which take time, money and space.

Artificial reverbs create a similar effects but through a more compact solution in which most of them have adjustable parameters such as the time length of the reverb and the decay.  There are a several types of artificial reverb which are listed below:

   Springs: Sound is passed through metal springs to create the effect.  Typically used on Guitar Amps and Snare drums to get a gritty kind of reverb sound

   Plates: Sound is passed over a thin solid metal object (sheet metal usually) to resonate and create the reverb sound.  They create warmer and more realistic sounding reverbs which can be commonly found to assist vocals.

   Digital & Software Plugins:  They use algorithms and digital processing to create reverb through more compact and adjustable methods.  Instead of using Physics to create reverb you use Digital technology.

 

 

Reverb is great when use appropriately.

You can create smooth and silky vocals.  Create a monster sounding drum kit or create ambience for the guitar. 

Generally reverb is used to create realism to the mix, to sooth your listeners ear to if they were listening to the music in a real room with the best possible mix.

If can also be used to create cool effect that are un-realistic and creative.  That’s completely up to you.

BUT Be careful, use too much reverb and it will spoil the track.  Use the right amount that gives the desired effect without adding unnecessary ‘mud’ or noise.

Remember, It’s all down to how the final mix sounds.  Just get it sounding right.

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