• Wish list
  • Choose your store
    All countries
  • 0

Thomann's Cool Online Guides: Reverb Effects

3. Classic Reverb Devices

The sound that many musicians, particularly guitarists, think of as ‘reverb’ is in fact not natural reverb produced in a room or hall, but the sound of a ‘spring’ or ‘plate’ reverb device:

Spring Reverb

This device originated with guitar amplifiers of the 50s, and is still commonplace today. A spring reverb is a simple device with an electrical transducer at one end, a pickup at the other end and a number of springs in between. The input signal is converted into a physical impulse by the transducer at one end of the springs - this produces motion in the springs which is converted back into an electrical signal by the pickup. The elasticity of the springs results in a complex pattern of motion which persists for some time, and this gives a sound somewhat akin to natural reverb. This can be ‘tuned’ to some extent by varying the number of springs and using springs of different tensions. The signal from the reverb unit is then mixed with the dry guitar signal, usually by means of a rotary mix control.

Spring reverb tends to emphasise treble frequencies, though the result is rarely harsh. The best spring reverbs have a warm, organic sound particularly beloved of blues guitarists. Also, a sharp, slightly alarming sound reminiscent of vintage sci-fi effects can be produced by moving or hitting an amp fitted with spring reverb – this is one aspect that has yet to be emulated digitally!

Plate

This is a very similar to spring reverb, but uses a metal plate or ‘sheet’ instead of springs. The result is usually rather smoother. Plate reverb units are very bulky and were designed for studio use. Plate reverb is a tried and tested effect, particularly on vocals.

Chamber/Tunnel

Before the advent of digital processing, ‘Echo chambers’ represented the only way of adding any kind of ‘real’ sounding reverb. The idea is to capture the reverberation of a real physical space by playing and recapturing sound in that space. The space in question may of course simply be the studio’s live room rather than a dedicated reverb chamber - the legendary British producer Joe Meek’s place in studio folklore is partly associated with his technique of using the studio bathroom for this.

Dedicated echo chambers are nowadays the esoteric (and expensive) preserve of a few high-end studios. In order to compete with the audio quality of digital processors, they must be very well sound-proofed. To this end, a few purpose-built studio complexes feature purpose-built underground reverb tunnels.

The operation of any reverb tunnel or chamber is a straightforward matter – dry sound is played from a speaker and picked up by a microphone placed some distance away. The length of reverb achieved depends on the size of chamber, the building materials and coverings, and the placement of both the speaker and microphone. For maximum flexibility, it makes sense to capture as much ‘wet’ reverb sound (as opposed to the ‘dry’ sound direct from the speaker), as ultimately the wet/dry balance can be controlled in the mix.

Hall/Ambience

It’s easy to overlook the fact that many great recordings have simply been made in venues with pleasant natural reverb, such as concert halls and churches. The ethos behind much classical recording involves capturing an accurate stereo image of an ensemble, including the sound of the venue. When accurate stereo imaging is the priority, a simple arrangement of two or three microphones is usually used - this permanently captures any reverb along with the direct sound. The opposite approach, for maximum mixing flexibility, involves multiple close microphones capturing an essentially dry sound. To add reverb to this, ‘ambient’ 'microphones may be placed at some distance from the ensemble (often pointing away) and recorded separately.

A great sounding concert hall or recording space may of course be used as a reverb chamber, as in the case of the strings on The Beatles’ ‘Eleanor Rigby’, which were originally recorded fairly dry in Abbey Road Studio Two. When re-mixing the track some thirty years later, George Martin used the larger live room of Studio One to add reverb.

Your Contact Persons
Phone: +49-9546-9223-20
FAX: +49-9546-9223-24
Question!
Question! Give the right answer and win 1x Stairville Outdoor Stage Par 12x3W Tri worth €122.
How do men with high voices call themselves?
Conditions of participation
Terms and Conditions for participation
in online competitions

Note: Participation in an online competition runs independently from any purchase at Musikhaus Thomann e.K. The following Competition Rules apply when participating in any online competition run by Musikhaus Thomann:

  1. Competition

    1. The competitions are organised by Musikhaus Thomann e. K., owner: Hans Thomann, Treppendorf 30, 96138 Burgebrach, Germany.
  2. Participation

    1. Competitions are only open to persons of full age.
    2. To take part in the competition you must answer all questions correctly, fill in the registration form and submit your entry to Musikhaus Thomann e. K. by pressing the "send" button.
      By pressing the "send" button the participant accepts the aforementioned terms and conditions.
    3. The participant is responsible for entering their email and/or postal address correctly. Entries to the competition will be logged electronically.
  3. Qualifying Entrants

    1. Staff of Musikhaus Thomann e. K. and any cooperation partners and their dependants are excluded from participation.
    2. Should these conditions of participation be violated, especially by using illegitimate means, Musikhaus Thomann e. K. reserves the right to exclude persons from the competition. In case of such violations prizes can be withdrawn and claimed back subsequently.
  4. Announcing the winner

    1. The winners will be notified by Musikhaus Thomann e. K. by email or in writing and their names may be published on the homepage www.thomann.de. The winner accepts this form of publication explicitly.
      Should for whatever reason the winner not claim their prize, then a new winner will be drawn.
    2. The prize presented to the winner may not be identical to the item description. There can be deviances regarding the model, colour etc.
    3. The merchandise prizes will be sent by Musikhaus Thomann e.K. or by one of its contracting delivery companies, per freight forwarder, courier or postal service to the postal address indicated by the winner.

      The delivery is free of charge. Only extra transport costs and customs/duties must be covered by the winner. In the case that the delivery has to be made through a freight forwarding company the freight forwarding company will contact the winner to arrange delivery timings.
    4. An exchange, cash alternative or replacement prize is not possible.
    5. The claim to the prize or replacement of the prize cannot be assigned to a third party.
  5. Data protection

    1. The participant accepts explicitly that Musikhaus Thomann e. K. saves all necessary data for the duration of the competition and forwards them exclusively for purposes related to the winning process to the respective cooperation partner, who is also permitted to save the personal data only for the duration of the competition. The participant is free to withdraw his entry at any time. Please direct the withdrawal to:

      Musikhaus Thomann e. K.
      to the data protection officer
      Treppendorf 30
      96138 Burgebrach, Germany
    2. Musikhaus Thomann e. K. is obliged to consider the regulations for data protection according to the Federal Data Protection Law (BDSG) valid at the conclusion of the competition. In this context the general data protection regulations under notes regarding data protection should be noted.
  6. Liability

    1. Musikhaus Thomann e. K. will be released from any obligations by handing out the prize.
    2. Musikhaus Thomann e. K. is not liable for the insolvency of a cooperation partner and the resulting consequences for the implementation and processing of the competition.
  7. Other

    1. Legal proceedings are barred.
    2. The law of the Federal Republic of Germany applies exclusively.
Our groupies
My bass arrived today and I'm delighted with it, it far exceeded my expectations - in short, it's wonderful!
xxxisstace@xxxnternet.com, 28.05.2015

Reverb Effects overview