Reverb Giveth, Reverb Taketh Away

Continuing the space theme, today I present two different views on reverb. Sonic reflections are very important to how our brain assembles auditory input to create an image of the environment we occupy, and getting these reflections right adds a lot to the perceived realism of a recording…

The Benefit Of Room Reverb

Production Advice recently pointed out this video on songwriting, with particular reference to the change in the sound at 5’18”. Basically, up until this point the audio included input from the teacher’s microphone, but just then the engineer cut off this microphone, dramatically altering the sound – in fact, the extra microphone was providing some room ambience that improved the overall feel of the sound.

Now obviously this isn’t a video with a polished audio track, but it does illustrate the impact that additional microphones can have on the sound – and how a much better recording can be made (in certain circumstances) by including the room, rather than attempting to make the sound as anechoic as possible.

The Benefit Of Less Room Reverb

On the flip side, it’s important to have a properly acoustically treated room for mixing. But even when recording, the benefit of capturing an instrument or vocal as cleanly as possible is neatly illustrated in this post at Home Studio Corner.

At the end of that post, there are two audio clips of the same vocal recorded on the same microphone. The first is recorded in an untreated (reflective) bedroom, and the second is recorded in an acoustically treated studio.

When you listen to the first clip, it sounds pretty good – but when you compare it to the second clip, the effect of the reflections on the first clip can be easily heard, and the quality of the second recording clearly exceeds that of the first in terms of punch, tone and solidity.


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