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Tutorial: Tips for Using Reverb

By moosers on 09/07/2009 - (Anyone)
< All tips & tutorials

Introduction

In this tutorial, I will outline the basic types of reverbs and explain a little bit about where they came from and what they sound like.  While this should get you on the right path, the only way to get accustomed to the different types of reverbs is to do it yourself and practice with them!  Reverb is an important part of mixing and getting sounds as it can add depth and space to a dry sound.

Step 1

Some of the basic types of reverbs including spring, plate, hall, room, church, gate and modulation.  While there are of course others, I will focus in on a few of these as it would take way too long to go over every type of reverb emulation.  A lot of reverbs now are of course digitally made, but many of these reverbs have an analog origin beyond just the sound that you get while in a room.  Many new users to reverbs will only see all the different types of presets and not know what they do exactly or where they came from.  The picture shown is that of the TL Space Reverb plug-in, which is what I would recommend getting if you are looking for reverb in your digital audio workspace.

Step 2

One of the most basic types of reverbs is spring reverb.  These originated within guitar amps and hardware reverbs as like the name states, it does have an actually spring in it to provide the effect.  Most of the old Fender amps like the Twin Reverb and the Deluxe have spring reverbs in them to get them that great reverb sound.  The sound of the spring is hard to explain without hearing it, but it is one of the most used types of reverbs around and is definitely one of the most heard.

Step 3

Probably my favorite type of reverb is plate reverb.  It has a real haunting sound that doesn't sound like any other reverb.  An actual hardware plate reverb is actually a giant plate that vibrates when you send the signal to it, casuing the vibrations to make the reverb effect.  Probably the most famous plate reverb is the EMT 140 as this is the one you will see in most studios that actually still have a reat plate reverb.  The sound from the EMT 140 is outstanding and is the best reverb that I have heard or used outside of getting reverb from a real room.

Step 4

Next, let's talk a little bit about hall, church, and room reverbs.  You will basically only see these types of reverbs in plug-ins and they are just there to emulate exactly what the name will say.  There aren't really any specific individual hardware devices that will create these types of sounds; they are merely emulations of room sounds.  There are endless versions of these types of reverbs, all of which can be pretty spacious and great sounding.  The best way to get these types of reverbs is of course by going to an actual hall, room, or church, but when this isn't possible as is the case most of the time, a good plug-in or pedal emulation isn't too hard to find.

Step 5

While there are endless different types of reverbs, a few other notable ones include gate and modulation.  They are almost the opposite of each other as gate reverb is one that is short lived and will cut off soon after you hit the note and modulation will last for days after you hit the note.  Gate reverb is heard in a lot of country music and modulation is great for adding huge spacey sounds to a song.  Both are some of my favorite types of reverbs and both can be found on the Boss RV-5 as shown.

Conclusion

While the only true way to learn all the different types of reverbs and what they can do is practice, this tutorial should give you a good idea of the different types and what they can do.  I hope you find it helpful!
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