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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.
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