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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
ReverbReverb is an effect that simulates the reflection of sound waves from the surfaces of an enclosed area such as a room or hall. After the initial direct sound arrives at the listener, reflections from the surrounding surfaces follow and gradually decrease in intensity as they are absorbed.
reverb
produced in a room or hall, but the sound of a ‘spring’ or ‘plate’
ReverbReverb is an effect that simulates the reflection of sound waves from the surfaces of an enclosed area such as a room or hall. After the initial direct sound arrives at the listener, reflections from the surrounding surfaces follow and gradually decrease in intensity as they are absorbed.
reverb
device:

Spring Reverb

This device originated with guitar amplifiers of the 50s, and is still commonplace today. A spring
ReverbReverb is an effect that simulates the reflection of sound waves from the surfaces of an enclosed area such as a room or hall. After the initial direct sound arrives at the listener, reflections from the surrounding surfaces follow and gradually decrease in intensity as they are absorbed.
reverb
is a simple device with an electrical
Contact MicA microphone designed to be in physical contact with the object producing sound. Vibrations are picked up through direct contact rather than from sound waves in air.
transducer
at one end, a
PickupA device for converting sound into an electronic signal, usually by direct contact with the instrument body or by magnetic interaction with the strings, as opposed to a microphone which picks up sound vibrations in the air.
pickup
at the other end and a number of springs in between. The input signal is converted into a physical
ImpulseA signal or sound with a very short (in theory infinitely short) duration.
impulse
by the
Contact MicA microphone designed to be in physical contact with the object producing sound. Vibrations are picked up through direct contact rather than from sound waves in air.
transducer
at one end of the springs - this produces motion in the springs which is converted back into an electrical signal by the
PickupA device for converting sound into an electronic signal, usually by direct contact with the instrument body or by magnetic interaction with the strings, as opposed to a microphone which picks up sound vibrations in the air.
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
ReverbReverb is an effect that simulates the reflection of sound waves from the surfaces of an enclosed area such as a room or hall. After the initial direct sound arrives at the listener, reflections from the surrounding surfaces follow and gradually decrease in intensity as they are absorbed.
reverb
. This can be ‘tuned’ to some extent by varying the number of springs and using springs of different tensions. The signal from the
ReverbReverb is an effect that simulates the reflection of sound waves from the surfaces of an enclosed area such as a room or hall. After the initial direct sound arrives at the listener, reflections from the surrounding surfaces follow and gradually decrease in intensity as they are absorbed.
reverb
unit is then mixed with the
DryA signal or recording that has no effect applied to it. Effects units often incorporate a control to adjust the mix of dry and 'wet' signals.
dry
guitar signal, usually by means of a rotary mix control.

Spring
ReverbReverb is an effect that simulates the reflection of sound waves from the surfaces of an enclosed area such as a room or hall. After the initial direct sound arrives at the listener, reflections from the surrounding surfaces follow and gradually decrease in intensity as they are absorbed.
reverb
tends to emphasise treble frequencies, though the result is rarely harsh. The best spring
ReverbReverb is an effect that simulates the reflection of sound waves from the surfaces of an enclosed area such as a room or hall. After the initial direct sound arrives at the listener, reflections from the surrounding surfaces follow and gradually decrease in intensity as they are absorbed.
reverbs
have a warm, organic sound particularly beloved of blues guitarists. Also, a sharp, slightly alarming sound reminiscent of vintage sci-fi
EffectsGeneral term applied to audio processors for dynamics, time, ambience and equalisation whether in the form of 19" rack units, guitar floor pedals, or software plug-ins.
effects
can be produced by moving or hitting an
AmpereUnit of current; the amount of electricity flowing through a conductor. One Ampere is equal to the flow of 6.25x10^18 electrons through a conductor in one second.
amp
fitted with spring
ReverbReverb is an effect that simulates the reflection of sound waves from the surfaces of an enclosed area such as a room or hall. After the initial direct sound arrives at the listener, reflections from the surrounding surfaces follow and gradually decrease in intensity as they are absorbed.
reverb
– this is one aspect that has yet to be emulated digitally!

Plate

This is a very similar to spring
ReverbReverb is an effect that simulates the reflection of sound waves from the surfaces of an enclosed area such as a room or hall. After the initial direct sound arrives at the listener, reflections from the surrounding surfaces follow and gradually decrease in intensity as they are absorbed.
reverb
, but uses a metal
PlateType of reverb originally associated with pop/rock recording from the 50s to the 70s. A plate reverb comprises a large metal sheet with transmitting and receiving transducers on each side. The complex signal from the receiver is mixed with the dry signal in order to create a reverb effect. Plate reverb emulations are now common to most electronic/software reverbs, where it is thought to be particularly flattering to vocals.
plate
or ‘sheet’ instead of springs. The result is usually rather smoother.
PlateType of reverb originally associated with pop/rock recording from the 50s to the 70s. A plate reverb comprises a large metal sheet with transmitting and receiving transducers on each side. The complex signal from the receiver is mixed with the dry signal in order to create a reverb effect. Plate reverb emulations are now common to most electronic/software reverbs, where it is thought to be particularly flattering to vocals.
Plate
ReverbReverb is an effect that simulates the reflection of sound waves from the surfaces of an enclosed area such as a room or hall. After the initial direct sound arrives at the listener, reflections from the surrounding surfaces follow and gradually decrease in intensity as they are absorbed.
reverb
units are very bulky and were designed for studio use.
PlateType of reverb originally associated with pop/rock recording from the 50s to the 70s. A plate reverb comprises a large metal sheet with transmitting and receiving transducers on each side. The complex signal from the receiver is mixed with the dry signal in order to create a reverb effect. Plate reverb emulations are now common to most electronic/software reverbs, where it is thought to be particularly flattering to vocals.
Plate
ReverbReverb is an effect that simulates the reflection of sound waves from the surfaces of an enclosed area such as a room or hall. After the initial direct sound arrives at the listener, reflections from the surrounding surfaces follow and gradually decrease in intensity as they are absorbed.
reverb
is a tried and tested effect, particularly on vocals.

Chamber/Tunnel

Before the advent of
DigitalAll digital equipment, formats and systems represent audio in numerical code or form. Digital information is a precise way of expressing any of information that can be quantified in some way.
digital
processing, ‘Echo chambers’ represented the only way of adding any kind of ‘real’ sounding
ReverbReverb is an effect that simulates the reflection of sound waves from the surfaces of an enclosed area such as a room or hall. After the initial direct sound arrives at the listener, reflections from the surrounding surfaces follow and gradually decrease in intensity as they are absorbed.
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
ReverbReverb is an effect that simulates the reflection of sound waves from the surfaces of an enclosed area such as a room or hall. After the initial direct sound arrives at the listener, reflections from the surrounding surfaces follow and gradually decrease in intensity as they are absorbed.
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
AudioGenerally used to mean "sound"; technically it describes periodic fluctuations of air pressure or electrical energy at frequencies and amplitudes within the human range of hearing; sound, or electrical energy that represents sound; acoustic, mechanical, or electrical frequencies corresponding to normally audible sound waves.
audio
quality of
DigitalAll digital equipment, formats and systems represent audio in numerical code or form. Digital information is a precise way of expressing any of information that can be quantified in some way.
digital
processors, they must be very well sound-proofed. To this end, a few purpose-built studio complexes feature purpose-built underground
ReverbReverb is an effect that simulates the reflection of sound waves from the surfaces of an enclosed area such as a room or hall. After the initial direct sound arrives at the listener, reflections from the surrounding surfaces follow and gradually decrease in intensity as they are absorbed.
reverb
tunnels.

The operation of any
ReverbReverb is an effect that simulates the reflection of sound waves from the surfaces of an enclosed area such as a room or hall. After the initial direct sound arrives at the listener, reflections from the surrounding surfaces follow and gradually decrease in intensity as they are absorbed.
reverb
tunnel or chamber is a straightforward matter –
DryA signal or recording that has no effect applied to it. Effects units often incorporate a control to adjust the mix of dry and 'wet' signals.
dry
sound is played from a speaker and picked up by a
MicrophoneA device which converts airborne sound into an electrical signal.
microphone
placed some distance away. The length of
ReverbReverb is an effect that simulates the reflection of sound waves from the surfaces of an enclosed area such as a room or hall. After the initial direct sound arrives at the listener, reflections from the surrounding surfaces follow and gradually decrease in intensity as they are absorbed.
reverb
achieved depends on the size of chamber, the building materials and coverings, and the placement of both the speaker and
MicrophoneA device which converts airborne sound into an electrical signal.
microphone
. For maximum flexibility, it makes sense to capture as much ‘wet’
ReverbReverb is an effect that simulates the reflection of sound waves from the surfaces of an enclosed area such as a room or hall. After the initial direct sound arrives at the listener, reflections from the surrounding surfaces follow and gradually decrease in intensity as they are absorbed.
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
ReverbReverb is an effect that simulates the reflection of sound waves from the surfaces of an enclosed area such as a room or hall. After the initial direct sound arrives at the listener, reflections from the surrounding surfaces follow and gradually decrease in intensity as they are absorbed.
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
ImagingThe ability of a recording/reproduction process to capture spatial information (lateral position and depth).
imaging
is the priority, a simple
ArrangementSetting of a piece of music. An arrangement can add details omitted by the composer, or may replace those originally notated and be merely based on the original work.
arrangement
of two or three
MicrophoneA device which converts airborne sound into an electrical signal.
microphones
is usually used - this permanently captures any
ReverbReverb is an effect that simulates the reflection of sound waves from the surfaces of an enclosed area such as a room or hall. After the initial direct sound arrives at the listener, reflections from the surrounding surfaces follow and gradually decrease in intensity as they are absorbed.
reverb
along with the direct sound. The opposite approach, for maximum mixing flexibility, involves multiple close
MicrophoneA device which converts airborne sound into an electrical signal.
microphones
capturing an essentially
DryA signal or recording that has no effect applied to it. Effects units often incorporate a control to adjust the mix of dry and 'wet' signals.
dry
sound. To add
ReverbReverb is an effect that simulates the reflection of sound waves from the surfaces of an enclosed area such as a room or hall. After the initial direct sound arrives at the listener, reflections from the surrounding surfaces follow and gradually decrease in intensity as they are absorbed.
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
ReverbReverb is an effect that simulates the reflection of sound waves from the surfaces of an enclosed area such as a room or hall. After the initial direct sound arrives at the listener, reflections from the surrounding surfaces follow and gradually decrease in intensity as they are absorbed.
reverb
chamber, as in the case of the strings on The Beatles’ ‘Eleanor Rigby’, which were originally recorded fairly
DryA signal or recording that has no effect applied to it. Effects units often incorporate a control to adjust the mix of dry and 'wet' signals.
dry
in Abbey Road Studio Two. When re-mixing the
Track1) The act of making a recording as distinct from mixing it. 2) An individual recorded song or other piece of music, as opposed to an album containing many such tracks. 3) The recording of an individual instrument or sound source within a multi-track recording.
track
some thirty years later, George Martin used the larger live room of Studio One to add
ReverbReverb is an effect that simulates the reflection of sound waves from the surfaces of an enclosed area such as a room or hall. After the initial direct sound arrives at the listener, reflections from the surrounding surfaces follow and gradually decrease in intensity as they are absorbed.
reverb
.

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