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Synthesizing new sounds through reverb

From: Foundations of Audio: Reverb

Video: Synthesizing new sounds through reverb

I hope you have seen that reverb is the basis for some pretty out-there effects, from nonlinear reverb, to gated reverb, to reverse reverb, we've see how reverberation can be the basis for synthesizing wholly new sounds. While the idea of reverb comes from real rooms, the reverb we create in a studio take some left turns. But we're not even close to done yet. Let's take a look at some other unusual uses of reverb that fabricate new sounds. The goal here is to show you that there are many avenues to explore. If you're feeling inspired, go for your own modifications, variations, and entirely new inventions.

Synthesizing new sounds through reverb

I hope you have seen that reverb is the basis for some pretty out-there effects, from nonlinear reverb, to gated reverb, to reverse reverb, we've see how reverberation can be the basis for synthesizing wholly new sounds. While the idea of reverb comes from real rooms, the reverb we create in a studio take some left turns. But we're not even close to done yet. Let's take a look at some other unusual uses of reverb that fabricate new sounds. The goal here is to show you that there are many avenues to explore. If you're feeling inspired, go for your own modifications, variations, and entirely new inventions.

Convolution offers a really exciting opportunity for using reverb processing to manipulate our sounds. Recall that convolution allowed us to take the impulse response of any space and apply it to any of our audio tracks to create the illusion of our tracks having been performed in that space. But convolution isn't limited to impulse responses for fancy halls and performance spaces, we can also use convolution to create the sound of our tracks in other innovative or alternative spaces. If you don't feel like a symphony hall or an opera house will do, you can use convolution to create the sound of your track in a pipe, a water tank, a power plant, a chimney, or a shoebox.

If you have the impulse response of any other sort of space, you can convolve it with your tracks to get an entirely new sound. And you can also convolve your tracks with non-space waveforms. That is why not involve your vocal with a snare drum, or your snare drum with the sound of breaking glass, or your ukulele with the waveform of didgeridoo note? Convolution as an application can convolve any audio track with any other short waveform. Let's take a listen to one example. This percussive groove has room for a bit of wacky convolution.

(music playing) Hidden in the loop are some quick muted strums on guitar, offering a very short percussive detail. (music playing) And because someone was kind enough to put the resonance of an empty 5-gallon glass water bottle in a convolution reverb, we can convert the strum into an interesting new percussion sound, rounder and fuller.

(music playing) Add some interesting echo... and drop it in the mix. (music playing) Convolution can be taken to rather absurd extremes. I love this stuff, so I'm counting on you to explore this further. And speaking of absurd extremes, let's return to reverb Chambers.

reverb Chambers can be a beautiful, honest, acoustic way to introduce reverb to your production. But there's nothing stopping us from processing those reverb Chambers. What if you introduced pitch shifting to your Reverb Chamber? For example, here's a Reverb Chamber in which the return from the reverb was pitch shifted down by one octave. And I also allow it to be time stretched. So now the reverb tail is an octave lower, and it lasts twice as long. A snare becomes a kind of gong. (music playing) You can shift it up or shift it down.

You can increase the duration, preserve the duration, or shorten the duration of that reverb. When you're synthesizing new sounds, aggressively manipulating any reverb can lead to outrageous and sometimes inspiring tracks, whatever suits your production goals. All too often reverb effects are dialed up, tweaked, set, and left to run on their own, static for the entire mix. I'd like to encourage you to fiddle around a bit more. Why not apply a reverb effect to a single note, hit, fill, word, or phrase? Listen to this groove as we transition from an A section to a double time B section.

(music playing) The first snare hit here as we transition from the A section to the B section is begging for an extra kick of reverb. We don't want this much reverb every single time to snare hits, that would clutter our mix, but we can get away with a little extra just this once. Listen to the extra kick of reverb when the tune jumps into double time.

(music playing) And just as the reverb can come and go when we need it, we can also use the automation in our Digital Audio Workstation to manipulate the reverb parameters themselves during the course of our mix. The Reverb Time can be allowed to get longer or shorter, to get brighter or duller, to get warmer or thinner, it's up to you. Listen carefully, because the manipulation of certain reverb parameters can lead to audible artifacts.

Listen for clicking and zipper noises as the reverb parameters are changed. When that happens, you're out of luck. You'll need to reach for a different parameter or a different reverb or make the parameter moves more slowly or do the move when the reverb is muted, if the music allows. But many reverb devices pride themselves on letting you massage and manipulate and modulate various parameters within the presets, live, without unwanted sonic side effects. So you can manipulate the spectral content of the reverb in tempo with the tune, or change the Reverb Time in a way that's tied to the groove.

All the tracks in your mixes are probably quite dynamic, you ride faders, muting and unmuting tracks as you wish. Your effects, especially reverb, can be just as dynamic as your tracks. There's nothing to stop you from changing the reverb from verse to chorus to bridge, and even from bar to bar and beat to beat. This sort of dynamic reverb that changes so often can be an intriguing kind of ear candy that pulls listeners into your mix and sets it apart. Convolution craziness, chamber reverb creativity, and dynamic reverb all drive home one essential point: reverb is a rich effect that loves to be part of a more elaborate signal processing scheme.

I hope you're feeling creative, because there's much to explore, and that's what we'll do in the next movie.

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This video is part of

Image for Foundations of Audio: Reverb
Foundations of Audio: Reverb

39 video lessons · 8554 viewers

Alex U. Case
Author

 
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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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