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Foundations of Audio: Reverb

Creating reverb acoustically through a reverb chamber


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Foundations of Audio: Reverb

with Alex U. Case

Video: Creating reverb acoustically through a reverb chamber

Room tracks aren't the only way real rooms contribute reverberation to our studio recordings, we can also use a reverb Chamber. Recall from Sabine's Equation for reverb time that the Reverb Time increases as the cubic volume, the three-dimensional size of the room is increased. But this doesn't mean that a small volume can't reverberate. Small spaces can still offer long reverb times as long as they have little to no sound absorption. Small sound reflective spaces dedicated to the purpose of creating reverberation are called reverb Chambers.
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  1. 9m 41s
    1. Welcome
      1m 58s
    2. What you need to know before watching this course
      2m 18s
    3. Songs you should listen to while watching this course
      2m 46s
    4. Using the exercise files
      55s
    5. Using the Get in the Mix session files
      1m 44s
  2. 6m 44s
    1. What is reverb?
      2m 35s
    2. Why do we use reverb?
      4m 9s
  3. 24m 33s
    1. Capturing reverb acoustically through room tracks
      5m 33s
    2. Creating reverb acoustically through a reverb chamber
      2m 51s
    3. Creating reverb mechanically using springs and plates
      5m 8s
    4. Creating reverb digitally via algorithms and convolution
      4m 51s
    5. Optimizing signal flow, effects loops, and CPU resources
      6m 10s
  4. 39m 10s
    1. The anatomy of reverberation
      3m 8s
    2. Mastering reverb time, predelay, and wet/dry mix parameters
      5m 36s
    3. Understanding the frequency dependence of reverberation
      4m 56s
    4. Tapping into advanced parameters such as diffusion, density, and more
      4m 37s
    5. Reference values from the best orchestra halls
      5m 40s
    6. Hearing beyond the basic parameters
      5m 31s
    7. Touring the interfaces for six reverb plugins
      9m 42s
  5. 1h 32m
    1. Choosing the right reverb for each of your tracks
      2m 17s
    2. Simulating space with reverb
      5m 42s
    3. Hearing space in the mix
      6m 33s
    4. Timbre and texture
      3m 36s
    5. Shaping tone and timbre with reverb
      5m 49s
    6. Creating contrasting sounds for your tracks
      4m 43s
    7. Using nonlinear reverb to help a track cut through
      4m 25s
    8. Emphasizing the reverb using predelay
      3m 24s
    9. Strategically blurring and obscuring tracks
      1m 46s
    10. Get in the Mix: Changing the scene by changing reverb UPDATED
      7m 37s
    11. Get in the Mix: Gating reverb to emphasize any track in your production UPDATED
      5m 52s
    12. Reversing reverb to highlight musical moments
      9m 36s
    13. Synthesizing new sounds through reverb
      6m 42s
    14. Get in the Mix: Supporting a track with regenerative reverb UPDATED
      6m 31s
    15. Getting the most out of room tracks
      17m 39s
  6. 11m 32s
    1. Setting up your own reverb chamber: The architecture
      2m 2s
    2. Setting up your own reverb chamber: The audio
      4m 8s
    3. Using convolution correctly
      2m 32s
    4. Getting great impluse response
      2m 50s
  7. 1m 29s
    1. Next steps
      1m 29s

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Foundations of Audio: Reverb
3h 5m Appropriate for all Dec 14, 2012 Updated Jan 24, 2014

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • What is reverb?
  • Understanding how acoustic reverb works in rooms
  • Working with the signal flow, effects loops, and available CPU resources
  • Understanding core parameters, like reverb time and pre-delay
  • Simulating space
  • Creating nonlinear reverb
  • Building pre-delay effects
  • Using reverse reverb
  • Using convolution correctly
Subjects:
Audio + Music DAWs Mixing Music Production Audio Plug-Ins Audio Foundations Mastering
Software:
Logic Pro Pro Tools
Author:
Alex U. Case

Creating reverb acoustically through a reverb chamber

Room tracks aren't the only way real rooms contribute reverberation to our studio recordings, we can also use a reverb Chamber. Recall from Sabine's Equation for reverb time that the Reverb Time increases as the cubic volume, the three-dimensional size of the room is increased. But this doesn't mean that a small volume can't reverberate. Small spaces can still offer long reverb times as long as they have little to no sound absorption. Small sound reflective spaces dedicated to the purpose of creating reverberation are called reverb Chambers.

The focus on sound reflectivity narrows our options. Most residential construction is sheetrock, which isn't a full bandwidth reflector. That is sheetrock doesn't reflect all frequencies evenly, but concrete, stone, tile, these are reflective materials begging to make some reverb. This suggests we should consider bathrooms and basements, maybe a garage, or even the kitchen as potentially valid spaces for creating a reverb Chamber. Here is the sound of a snare drum using a bathroom as a chamber.

(music playing) I know things are starting to sound a little homemade as I suggest you generate reverb for your mix from a kitchen, a basement, or a bathroom, but the history of recorded music is rich with examples of doing exactly this. The old grand studios in New York and Los Angeles often used bathrooms, basements, and attics as chambers. Old-school, high-end recording studios, with their carefully designed live rooms and control rooms, made reverb Chambers out of any other odd space available.

You've heard it in music recordings that you've listened to from the '50s and well into the '80s. The short bright glow on vocals from the early Beatles recordings comes courtesy of a storage closet. That bright shimmer on so many Motown recordings was created in an attic. Listen to the vocal reverb on Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett, and you're hearing glorious all-analog chamber reverb. Seek out recordings from studios such as Abbey Road, Columbia Studios, A&R, The Power Station, Avatar, United Western, Gold Star, Motown, and Capitol Studios, to name just a few.

Some of the most important recordings in the history of recorded music came from these studios, and their chambers were a featured part of their sound. If reverb chambers are good enough for them, I think they're good enough for us. We need to choose a space that's sound reflective, and that's quiet enough to do this work. We put a loudspeaker in this space to energize the chamber and a pair of microphones or more in the space to capture the chamber. In this way your found space becomes a source of reverb for your multi-track recordings.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Foundations of Audio: Reverb.


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Q: This course was updated on 4/16/2013. What changed
A: We added a bonus chapter, "Advanced Reverb Techniques," with new movies on setting up your own reverb chamber, using convolution to simulate a space, and getting great impulse responses.
Q: This course was updated on 01/24/2014. What changed?
 A: The Get in the Mix videos have been updated to the most recent version of Pro Tools. Also, the course now includes free Get in the Mix sessions for two more DAWs: Logic Pro X and Pro Tools 11.
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