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This installment of Foundations of Audio explains one of the most essential ingredients in audio mixing, reverb—the time it takes for sound to bounce, echo, and decay during a live performance or recording. Reverb gives a natural richness to your recordings, which is possible to reproduce. Producer and audio engineer Alex U. Case covers the acoustic, mechanical, and digital means for creating reverb, and charts the parameters (room size, density, etc.) you'll need to know to take advantage of the original recording space and enhance it in post. He then shows how to simulate reverb digitally with effects, adding timbre, texture, and contrast, and improve the sound of your mixes with a sense of space and depth.
These techniques can be practiced with the free Get in the Mix sessions, currently available for Pro Tools and Logic Pro.
As with all effects, your use of reverb is motivated by specific strategies, and the list of reasons to reach for reverb might be longer than you think. Of course, the very idea of reverberation, the resonant sound of a space, is intimately tied to the spaces where music happens. So we think of artificial reverb as a way to simulate the sound of a space in our recording. Simulating space is just the beginning. reverb can do so much more, and we cover all of these in this course.
reverb influences the timbre and the texture of the tracks in our multi-track productions. reverb also creates contrast, drier signals next to wetter signals so that listeners can hear more depth and detail and complexity in your multi-track production. reverb is often used specifically to emphasize certain tracks, phrases, or moments of musical magic, enhancing their own audibility and attracting the listener's attention. reverb can also do the opposite, it's sometimes used to blur and obscure elements of your multi-track mix, to shade things in, to make people work a little harder, piquing their interest, triggering a search for those complexities in your recording that they may not notice on the first or second listening but that they hope to find next time they hear it.
reverb is also an essential storytelling tool. We can use it to help invoke a scene change where one part of the song has a very different reverberant quality than another. We sometimes shift the reverb as we go from bridge to chorus and from chorus to verse and so on so that the features of our mix support the composition and arrangement as much as possible. Lastly, reverb is the basis for several sound synthesis techniques, gated reverb, reverse reverb, using convolution to contrive wholly new works of audio fiction, pitch shifting the reverb, and more.
Using reverb is the basis for sort of sound creation, sound design, or sound synthesis technique knows no bounds. This course dedicates more than a dozen movies for this long list of reverb Effects showing you how to think about each type of effect and choose the right reverb with the right parameters for the job. Next we'll start with the most natural and most obvious use of reverb, simulating space.
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