Let’s talk about reverb—an echoey effect that adds depth and atmosphere to the sound. The title of this post uses the word “echo.” Isn’t that a different thing? Actually no! They are both time-based audio effects resulting from the reflection of sound on hard surfaces.
We think of echo as the sound you get after yelling “hello” into a canyon and getting “HELLO…hello…lo..lo..lo..lo.” Reverb is the same idea but because each “echo” (reflection) happens so soon after the direct sound, we don’t notice they are separate. But you probably don’t care about that :-P.
Here is a post to help you grasp the basics and beyond, with expert insights from 4 different sources presented in a simple language to help you dive into the world of reverb.
So, whether you’re a budding musician or an experienced producer, let’s embark on a journey to understand what reverb is, the several different types of reverb, and what to use them for.
I selected 4 “guides” on reverb. These are from Sweetwater, MakeUseOf.com, Ledgernote and Stock Music Musician.
Types of Reverb: Sweetwater’s Simple Guide
Let’s kick off our exploration with Sweetwater’s insightful breakdown of five distinct reverb types, each bringing its unique flavor to the sonic palette.
- Hall Reverb: Imagine the expansive acoustics of a grand concert hall. Hall reverb mimics this space, creating a sense of vastness and immersion. It’s perfect for those seeking a rich and enveloping sound, making it ideal for orchestral arrangements or grandiose ballads.
- Chamber Reverb: Picture a smaller, more intimate setting like a cozy chamber. Chamber reverb provides a warm and reflective ambiance, making it suitable for genres like jazz or acoustic performances where a touch of intimacy is desired.
- Room Reverb: Transport yourself to a room with reflective surfaces. Room reverb gives a natural, organic feel, as if the sound is bouncing off the walls. This type is versatile, working well in various genres, from pop to rock, to add a sense of space without overpowering the mix.
- Plate Reverb: Envision a large, metallic plate vibrating with sound. Plate reverb produces a bright and smooth echo, making it a favorite for vocals and adding a glossy sheen to instruments like guitars or drums.
- Spring Reverb: Think of the vintage reverberations from a spring inside an amplifier. Spring reverb delivers a characteristic twang, often associated with classic guitar tones. It’s an excellent choice for adding a touch of nostalgia to rock or blues compositions.
Sweetwater’s guide is here: https://www.sweetwater.com/insync/5-types-of-reverb-explained-hall-chamber-room-plate-and-spring/
Building upon the foundation set by Sweetwater, MakeUseOf offers practical insights into effectively using different reverb types. Let’s dive into the specifics of their definitions of some of the same kinds of reverb:
- Hall Reverb: MakeUseOf suggests employing Hall reverb to create a sense of grandeur and space in your music. It’s particularly effective in genres like orchestral compositions, rock ballads, or any piece where a larger-than-life ambiance is desired.
- Chamber Reverb: For a more intimate and close-knit feel, MakeUseOf recommends Chamber reverb. This type is perfect for jazz performances, acoustic sets, or any scenario where a cozy atmosphere is essential to enhance the musical experience.
- Room Reverb: MakeUseOf emphasizes Room reverb as a versatile choice, suitable for a broad range of genres. It adds a natural, organic touch to your sound, making it a go-to option for pop, rock, or electronic music where a balanced sense of space is crucial.
- Plate Reverb: When aiming for a polished and smooth sound, MakeUseOf suggests reaching for Plate reverb. This type works wonders with vocals, bringing out a glossy sheen, and is also well-suited for instruments like guitars and drums, providing a refined and professional touch.
- Spring Reverb: MakeUseOf recognizes Spring reverb’s vintage charm, especially in guitar tones. Adding a touch of nostalgia to your compositions, this type is recommended for rock, blues, or any style that benefits from a classic, retro vibe.
MakeUseOf’s guide is here: https://www.makeuseof.com/types-of-reverb-how-to-use/
Armed with these practical tips, musicians can now not only understand the different reverb types but also apply them strategically in their compositions. Whether aiming for grandiosity, intimacy, versatility, polish, or vintage appeal, the diverse world of reverb is at their creative disposal.
Venturing further into the technical aspects of reverb, Ledgernote offers an in-depth exploration of different reverb types, shedding light on how they work and how to control them for optimal results.
Algorithmic Reverb: This type, as detailed by Ledgernote, is created through complex mathematical algorithms. It’s versatile and well-suited for digital environments, offering precise control over parameters like decay time and pre-delay. Algorithmic reverb finds its place in genres requiring meticulous sound design, such as electronic music.
Convolution Reverb: Ledgernote introduces Convolution reverb, which captures the sound of real spaces. Ideal for achieving natural and authentic environments, this type is recommended for genres like classical music or film scoring, where realism is paramount.
Hall and Room Reverb Control: Ledgernote emphasizes the importance of controlling parameters like pre-delay and decay time in Hall and Room reverb. Adjusting these settings allows for tailoring the reverb to specific musical contexts. Hall reverb, with its spacious sound, is suited for orchestral pieces, while Room reverb can enhance the intimacy of acoustic performances.
The Ledgernote article is here: https://ledgernote.com/columns/studio-recording/types-of-reverb/
From Stock Music Musician
Here are a few more bits of reverb goodness from Stock Music Musician:
- Reverse Reverb: Turn the conventional on its head with Reverse Reverb. Stock Music Musician suggests applying this technique for transitional effects. By leading into a sound backward, you create an otherworldly and attention-grabbing introduction, perfect for adding intrigue to intros or transitioning between sections in various genres.
- Gated Reverb: Stock Music Musician introduces Gated Reverb, emphasizing its role in creating unique and dynamic sounds. Particularly effective on drums, this technique involves cutting off the reverb abruptly, delivering a crisp and impactful effect. Gated Reverb can bring energy and excitement to drum-driven genres like pop, rock, or electronic music.
- Ambient Reverb for Texture: For those aiming to add depth and texture, Stock Music Musician suggests experimenting with Ambient Reverb. By applying subtle, long-tail reverbs to various elements, such as pads or background instruments, you can create an atmospheric and immersive sonic landscape, ideal for ambient or cinematic genres.
Here is the StockMusicMusician article: https://www.stockmusicmusician.com/blog/types-of-reverb
So yeah! There is a lot to know about reverb and there are several different kinds of reverb. So it can be confusing as to what reverb to use when. “I need some verb for my voice. What is the difference between hall and plate? And what is spring?” Hopefully this post and the source articles/guides will be useful for you if you find yourself asking that question.