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Understanding reverb vs. delay

From: Audition CS6 Essential Training

Video: Understanding reverb vs. delay

Now let's talk about Reverb and Delay effects. Both have a number of purposes in audio engineering, and they're kind of but not completely similar. Reverb and Delay can be used to fill out the sound of a singer's voice a little bit more. They can be used to give the impression that a speaker is talking in a specific acoustic environment like a large auditorium, even if it wasn't recorded in one. And they can generally just make your audio sound a little bit bigger. But what's the difference? You will find that people sometimes confuse Reverb and Delay with each other. Basically Reverb--short for Reverberation--is an effect that mimics the sound of your audio bouncing off the walls and other surfaces in the room and then coming back to your ears.

Understanding reverb vs. delay

Now let's talk about Reverb and Delay effects. Both have a number of purposes in audio engineering, and they're kind of but not completely similar. Reverb and Delay can be used to fill out the sound of a singer's voice a little bit more. They can be used to give the impression that a speaker is talking in a specific acoustic environment like a large auditorium, even if it wasn't recorded in one. And they can generally just make your audio sound a little bit bigger. But what's the difference? You will find that people sometimes confuse Reverb and Delay with each other. Basically Reverb--short for Reverberation--is an effect that mimics the sound of your audio bouncing off the walls and other surfaces in the room and then coming back to your ears.

Delay--also called Echo--is an effect that takes your audio and plays it back or echoes it several times in succession. But it's generally the same sound played back over and over again. It's the sound of the initial echo. Reverb is different and that it assumes more of a natural room sound. Most of the times you're not going to be recording your subject in the dead center of a room so there are going to be walls and ceilings at different distances from the source of the sound. Therefore, the echoes reverberating off the closer surfaces will get back to you sooner than the echoes reverberating off the walls and ceiling that might be further away.

Reverb takes all of these echoes into account to create the effect. Delay is usually more focused on that first or initial echo. I've opened up this file called Snare Drum, and this is just four snare hits. And I'm using this as an example because these are very short percussive sounds, which will make it easier for you to see the difference between Reverb and Delay. Let's listen once. (video playing) Okay, so that's a pretty dry drum sound. Let's start with Delay. I'm going to go to Effects, Delay and Echo. Now we have three effects to choose from here. We've got Analog Delay, Delay, and Echo.

Now, just understand that Delay and Echo are used interchangeably by most audio people. I'm going to go with Analog Delay since it has the simplest settings, and here I'm going to make sure I have the default preset selected. It's powered on. Let's go ahead and play this. (video playing) So we're clearly hearing the snare drum sound echoed back to us at least twice after each hit with each subsequent echo being a little quieter or fading out. Let's click Apply and see what this looks like. So you can hear what it's done to the waveform.

Now for each drum hit you can see these two echoes. So that's a very basic and simple Delay effect. Let's undo that. Now there are several other and more involved Delay effects you can apply. I'll just keep this playing and try out a couple. (video playing) So I'm actually getting a different rhythm applied at this point, so each of these settings is created using a different combination of these sliders. So that's Delay.

I'm just going to close this without applying anything. Now let's look at Reverb. Go to Effects > Reverb, and we'll choose Convolution Reverb, and we've had a look at this already. And this is a great set of tools for placing your recording into different acoustic environments. I'm going to choose classroom, and I'm just going to make sure I have the default setting here, and let's listen to that. (video playing) So already, this is making my snare drum sound much bigger. Instead of that single echo that's repeated with a Delay effect, the Reverb effect recreates the effect of your sound echoing off multiple surfaces in returning to your ears individually.

Generally all the Reverb effects have a room-sized slider which is for determining how large or small your virtual room is, the larger the room, the more reverberation. And as always, you're free to drag around the sliders to customize your sound, or you can choose from any of the presets here. This is the one I created earlier. (video playing) So watch the waveform when I click Apply here. So rather than the repeated echoes we saw with the Delay effects, I could see that waveforms have much less of an initial attack and stretch out much longer.

So even though my snare drum might have been recorded in a recording studio, I've now made it sound like it was recorded in a cavern or a large reflective room of some sort. Whether this is a good or bad thing depends on what you're trying to achieve. You will find that adding a little Reverb to a singer can fill out the voice and hide weaknesses sometimes, but neither Reverb nor Delay are a magic solution to fixing a bad vocal. So that's the difference between Reverb and Delay. These are effects you will learn a lot about just by experimenting on your own. But if you want to learn more about Reverb and Delay and get the necessary background so you'll understand what the available settings do in each one of the effects that are available, be sure to check out the course called Audio Mixing Boot Camp on the lynda.com Online Training Library.

Show transcript

This video is part of

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Audition CS6 Essential Training

56 video lessons · 22233 viewers

Garrick Chow
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 7s
    1. What is Audition?
      1m 7s
  2. 1m 55s
    1. Welcome
      54s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 1s
  3. 21m 6s
    1. Understanding the Audition interface
      8m 49s
    2. Setting up input and output
      4m 7s
    3. Setting essential preferences
      8m 10s
  4. 25m 3s
    1. Importing audio files
      6m 39s
    2. Extracting audio from a CD
      4m 6s
    3. Importing video files
      2m 21s
    4. Recording audio
      4m 50s
    5. Creating a multitrack session
      7m 7s
  5. 8m 8s
    1. Understanding frequency
      1m 50s
    2. Understanding amplitude
      1m 40s
    3. Understanding sample rate
      2m 34s
    4. Understanding bit depth
      2m 4s
  6. 37m 59s
    1. Understanding the Waveform Editor interface
      6m 2s
    2. Making selections
      6m 5s
    3. Adjusting the clip amplitude
      2m 49s
    4. Fading clips
      4m 5s
    5. Normalizing
      5m 17s
    6. Copying, cutting, and pasting
      7m 40s
    7. Undoing, redoing, and using the History panel
      4m 5s
    8. Generating silence
      1m 56s
  7. 24m 1s
    1. Using the Spectral Frequency Display
      2m 53s
    2. Using the selection tools
      7m 18s
    3. Using the Spot Healing Brush
      6m 34s
    4. Removing background noises
      7m 16s
  8. 46m 31s
    1. Understanding destructive vs. nondestructive effects
      12m 35s
    2. Applying compression
      9m 20s
    3. Understanding reverb vs. delay
      4m 44s
    4. Working with filters and EQ effects
      6m 46s
    5. Using special effects
      4m 26s
    6. Isolating vocals in a stereo track
      4m 27s
    7. Working with time and pitch effects
      4m 13s
  9. 1h 18m
    1. Creating a multitrack session
      6m 1s
    2. Recording and importing audio
      9m 42s
    3. Understanding the multitrack interface
      5m 20s
    4. Understanding the Mixer panel
      6m 13s
    5. Editing clips in Multitrack View
      9m 49s
    6. Grouping clips together
      2m 43s
    7. Creating bus groups
      7m 42s
    8. Routing and working with sends
      4m 7s
    9. Using automation
      12m 25s
    10. Pre-rendering tracks
      2m 19s
    11. Exporting the mix
      4m 13s
    12. Exporting the session
      3m 22s
    13. Burning the mix to a CD
      4m 45s
  10. 25m 17s
    1. Working with audio from video
      6m 23s
    2. Importing a sequence from Premiere Pro
      3m 59s
    3. Adding a soundtrack to a video
      3m 45s
    4. Exporting a session back to Premiere Pro
      3m 32s
    5. Using Automatic Speech Alignment
      7m 38s
  11. 9m 46s
    1. Understanding the interface
      6m 17s
    2. Using pan envelopes
      2m 44s
    3. Exporting a multichannel mix
      45s
  12. 52s
    1. Next steps
      52s

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