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Whether one is producing music, podcasts, game sounds, or film sound effects, Digital Audio Principles provides the tips and techniques that will make the project a success. Author Dave Schroeder explains the basics of digital audio production techniques and covers the essential hardware and software. He also discusses sound theory, frequency response, the range of human hearing, and dynamic range.
Reverb is probably a one of the more important effects you can use in your audio production and music creation and mixing. Reverb is actually a natural effect that happens in the world all around us all the time. Basically, it's the reflections that are produced by a sound event and make it seem like that sound is going on. They kind of add a tail or decay to a sound you hear. If you've ever clapped your hands in a big church or a cement parking garage, you've heard a very long reverb. If you've ever sung in a bathroom with a lot of tile, you've also taken advantage of these reflections.
You sound a little better singing in the shower because that reflection actually makes your voice seem like it's bigger and goes on farther, and a little bit smoother, because of all these different reflections. So a reverb plug-in is trying to recreate the effect of the reverb that happens in the real world. We want to recreate that because it tends to make things more listenable. When we hear things without any reverb, they can sound a little unnatural. Reverbs are also important because it allows us to locate what kind of room a sound is in and where it might be in that room.
We can tell if those footsteps walking across the floor are in a big gymnasium, or if they're in a small room. It also makes a lot of music more listenable. That's one of the big things when you go to big concert halls and symphonic concert halls, a lot of time and money goes into figuring out how to make those orchestra halls have the great reverb quality to them. So reverb's very important in terms of making music palatable, kind of listenable, smoothing things out, and making it sound a little bit bigger and better than it is. But also it makes things seem natural to us as well.
So let's take a look at using reverb for those purposes. But also, now the reverb is a processing option, we can use it for lots of effects that really you wouldn't find out there in the world but are really cool and great for adding to what we're doing. So we're going to go ahead and start by putting some reverb on a nice drum track, just messing around with it a little bit to see what kind of different effects we can get. So I'm going to go ahead, and we'll use the old drumbeat here. We'll solo that, insert our friend D-Verb.
Most software that you work with will probably come with some sort of reverb option right off the bat. Sometimes, it'll just be file-level. It might not be a plug-in. But there is a ton of really nice ones out there that you can buy as kind of third-party plug-ins. Having a quality reverb plug-in goes a long, long way in terms of making your mixes sound better. They're very processor intensive, because it has to calculate and simulate tons of little reflections and reproduce them pretty accurately. So there is a lot of thinking that goes into reproducing reverb.
So we have the reverb plug-in open. You can see that we kind of have some different choices; they call it the algorithm, but they're represented by a room. This algorithm is the math that figures out what kind of reflections happens in what kind of spaces. So we can simulate a church, or different sizes of rooms, or a plate, which is actually a man-made device that they built a long time ago to also try and simulate reverb for recordings that we actually have gotten so used to because we've heard it in so many recordings that we want to keep using it. We want to be able to have access to that type of reverb as well.
So let's go ahead and feed the drums in here, and see what kind of sound we have. I'll set the Input to 0. I'll start with a mix that's completely dry. (Music Playing: Now let's add a little bit of reverb to the mix. (drums playing) (drums playing) So there we are in the church.
We can switch it around to room, and we'll start with a large room. (drums playing) We'll switch to a small room. (drums playing) Let's make that pretty wet. (drums playing) So we can go back and forth and pick these kinds of different rooms or environments, and get a lot of different interesting effects. We can try and go for nice, realistic, accurate effects, and try and act like we've placed this drum set in let's say a small club venue, which let's go ahead and just give that a shot.
(drums playing) Let's call it a hall, maybe a small hall. (drums playing) So that's cool. You kind of can imagine maybe a small 500-person club, something like that, or we can make it the arena. (drums playing) For those about to rock, we salute you. So that's reverb.
You can do some pretty amazing things with it. Now let's go ahead and play with this on a voice, and see what kind of effects we can get. We'll take that plug-in out. We'll go and take a listen again to our voiceover. Now normally, you won't find yourself applying a lot of reverb to like a voiceover production, like a podcast or a broadcast or an industrial training film or something like that where you're doing voiceover, just because we want to keep that voice kind of as clear and easy to understand as possible.
Sometimes, adding a lot of reverb makes things a little bit harder to understand when it comes to the voice. But I'm going to show you the effect we can have. You can use it on vocals in music and get great effects. It does a real nice job of kind of smoothing out the voice. Sometimes, it can make it stand out more in a mix. You can use kind of a special reverb effects to give it kind of a cool feel. We'll take a look at just a couple of these things. So let's play our voice track back. (Female Speaker: Welcome to the lynda.com video training podcast for Friday, January 19th, 2006.) (Female Speaker: Oops. 2000. January 19th, 2007. This is episode 47. This week learn to sync poser models to an audio file with a movie from--) So there we have it kind of in a smaller room.
(Female Speaker: Welcome to the lynda.com video training podcast for Friday, January 19th, 2006.) (Female Speaker: Oops. 2000. January 19th, 2007. This is episode 47. This week learn to sync poser models to an audio file with a movie from) Now if you want to go back to the 80s, and try and get a cool kind of vocal effect from the 80s.
(Female Speaker: Welcome to the lynda.com video training podcast for Friday, January 19th, 2006.) (Female Speaker: Oops. 2000. January 19th, 2007. This is episode 47. This week learn to sync poser models to an audio file with a movie from) (Female Speaker: Poser 7 Essential Training with Larry Mitchell.) So there is a lot of different kind of effects you can get. You can use it on the voice on vocals on different instruments. If you're doing post-production on a film of recorded dialogue in different places and want to try and make it sound like those people are in the room that they're actually shot in or filmed in, you can go and add some reverb slightly to kind of put them in a place.
A lot of times it's hard to record someone who is at the other end of the parking garage that you're filming. But then you can have them come into the studio, record a voiceover track, and then add some reverb. So when you actually see that voice track synced up to the footage you believe that actually that person is speaking in that big open space. It has that reverb. You'll know if you watch a lot of movies, sometimes they'll do an overdub, and they'll have like one line in there where they're taking the swearing out or something like that. They work pretty hard to try and match the ambience, or the reverb effect of the room that that person is in, but a lot of times they botch it.
I don't know if they don't care, or they're just doing a rush job. But you'll kind of hear the words where they edit out the swear words. You can tell it's a completely different track. But if you play around with it enough, you can probably make that sound like it took place in the same location by adding some reverb and adjusting some EQ. Reverb's also really useful for sound design in terms of sound effects, making things sound bigger than they are, making things sound farther away than they are. You really have to start to play with it. You'll get a sense of what's possible as you add effects.
It's a really interesting thing. Reverb's also really useful in sound design, in terms of doing special effects, because you can make things seem like they're farther away than they really are, or make them sound bigger or girthier, more dramatic than they really are. Also, the type of reverb you choose can kind of dictate what people perceive the physical quality of that object is. If it's a robot, and you put it a certain kind of reverb on its big footsteps, you can make it seem like it's this big hulking metal thing, even though it might be an animation. There is no metal at all. It's just a bunch of drawings.
So reverb can be really useful in a lot of different ways. It can do a lot to enhance your recordings.
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