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Foundations of Audio: Reverb
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Getting great impluse response


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Foundations of Audio: Reverb

with Alex U. Case

Video: Getting great impluse response

Convolution relies on measured impulse responses to bring the sound of another space to our tracks. We need to recognize that every impulse response we load into our convolution engine was measured by someone else. Mistakes might be made, and a flawed impulse response will produce flawed reverb. We must seek out the best impulse responses and watch out for poorly measured ones. No single impulse response describes an entire hall. The impulse response, that signature pattern of reflections for a hall, depends on the location of the sound source and the location of the receiver and the state of occupancy of the hall.
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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
      7m 37s
    11. Get in the Mix: Gating reverb to emphasize any track in your production
      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
      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

Getting great impluse response

Convolution relies on measured impulse responses to bring the sound of another space to our tracks. We need to recognize that every impulse response we load into our convolution engine was measured by someone else. Mistakes might be made, and a flawed impulse response will produce flawed reverb. We must seek out the best impulse responses and watch out for poorly measured ones. No single impulse response describes an entire hall. The impulse response, that signature pattern of reflections for a hall, depends on the location of the sound source and the location of the receiver and the state of occupancy of the hall.

Picture a concert hall with a stage for all the musicians and about 2,000 seats out on the orchestra floor for the audience. The impulse response is unique from each and every instrument location on stage to each and every seat location. So while someone might offer you the impulse response for your convolution reverb from some famous hall that you know and admire, there is no guarantee that the impulse response is from a good seat. You need to know something about the methods used when measuring the impulse response. Where do they put the sound source to trigger the pattern of reflections, and where do they put the measurement microphone to capture it? Moving either one of these, the sound source or the receiver position, gives you a different impulse response.

With 2,000 seats and, say, a 100 stage positions, there are 200,000 possible impulse responses. So we have this constraint on convolution. No single impulse response describes an entire hall. It's not enough to know you have an impulse response for a great hall; you need to also know that the impulse response is for a good seat for sound sources and a sweet spot on stage. And those coveted halls might sound great at a sold-out concert, but are the seats full when they grabbed the impulse response? Occupancy certainly influences the reflection pattern.

A seat with someone in it reflects sound differently than an empty seat. There is more. The measurement quality used to obtain the impulse response is also important. If shoddy equipment is used or poor technique is employed, it absolutely pollutes the impulse response, leading to a poor sounding reverb. Convolution reverb is only as good as the impulse response itself. For the impulse responses you use it really helps to know something about their measurement history, the placement strategies, the occupancy of the hall, the skills, and experience of the people who captured the impulse response, the gear they used, et cetera.

Be an informed user of convolution. Listen carefully for flaws every time you load up a new impulse response. Seek out the best reviewed impulse responses, so that you can bring the other spaces of the world into your mix with confidence and great-sounding results.

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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