Stepping into the world of effects, there is no way you missed the phrase “Reverb”. It is because this effect is not only the masterpiece of all the effects out there but also the most widely used in all kinds of music genres from pop, country to heavy stuff like rock, punk, metal, etc. So, let’s take a look into the world of the REVERB EFFECT.
The reverb (or reverberation) pedal has many effects such as Fuzz, Overdrive, Reverb and Delay; offering you the ability to change the sound and the tone of a musical instrument in a way that you’re keen on or the music genre probably requires. That’s one of the reasons why, besides the arrangement, one song could sound so different depending on the individual style of the guitarist. And the effects themselves soon become the irreplaceable elements to create your own styles.
Dynamic effects alter an audio signal based upon its frequency content and amplitude level – Compression, Distortion, Overdrive, Fuzz
Modulation Effects – Wah Wah, Phaser, Flanger, Chorus, Pitch, Octave…
Time-based effects – Reverb, Delay, and Echo
Spectral effects – EQ and Panning
In this article we look at the following;
2. What’s the Difference Between Delay and Reverb?
3. How can I create reverberation effects?
4. How to effectively use the reverb pedal
5. Why you should add reverb to your effect chain.
6. Review of the 6 best Reverb Pedals
The concept of reverberation physically lies on the phenomena that when a dry sound wave or a signal wave is produced it is reflected or bounced back and absorbed multiple times by the surface of the objects in a specific space (which could be furniture, the wall, people and air in a small room or a hall, for example). You can easily recognize it when the first sound stops but its reflection still continues as the amplitude is decreasing to the point of zero.
Due to the huge pleasant reverberation sound effect, people always love attending a live concert in a hall or performance space with sound-reflective surfaces. That’s how the reverb effect is naturally created in a space. Moreover, the reverb effect is also created electronically through effect equipment that can add these pleasant sounds to the vocal or instrument in both live performances and studio recording. Effects units that are specialized in the generation of the reverberation effect are commonly called ‘reverbs’.
2. What’s the Difference Between Delay and Reverb?
So, you may have wonder whether reverb or echo or delay is the same thing or not. The answer is yes, but no.
When you shout out loudly in a cave or a valley you may hear your voice is spread out, delaying resonance and repeating several times. For example when you yell “Hey”, you may experience many words “Hey, hey, hey” repeatedly bounce back to you. Delay is the repeating of the same signal, like an echo, gradually decaying. It is because the delay signal is detectable from 50 to 100 ms after the dry signal
When you yell into a valley or a mountain range and you hear your voice repeat several times, those are clear reverberations bouncing back at you – repeats of the same sound. Delay is the repeating of the same signal, like an echo, gradually decaying. You can change the number, volume, modulation, and space between each echo.
‘Reverb’ as we know it is essentially the same thing, except the delay of the wet signal so close to the input one (mostly under 50 ms) that they merge into one long, slow-decaying echo. Here’s a handy diagram that sums up the difference:
3. How can I create reverberation effects?
Chamber reverberators: This kind of reverb is created in a physical space which is made to work as an echo chamber. Yes, the sound comes naturally and sounds really atmospheric like playing gospel songs in a cathedral. However, it is hard to apply to a recording or specific live performance due to the requirement of a good sound- reflected space.
Plate reverberators: A plate reverb system uses a transducer, similar to the driver in a loudspeaker, to create vibrations in a large plate of sheet metal. This large plate of sheet metal creates the resonance, echo sound, and then records it into the contact microphone that later, merges into the dry signal for the final output. The reverb time can be adjusted through a damping pad. The closer the damping pad to the metal plate, the shorter the reverb time as it prevents the amplitude of oscillation of the plate.
Similar to plate reverbs, a spring reverb is based on the motion of a vibrating spring in a physical space. This is the oldest form of an artificial effect tool and evokes the vintage sound.
Digital reverberators are more widely used than other types. It includes many feedback delay circuits to create a large, decaying series of echo. Some advanced digital reverbs can offer players the time and frequency domain of a specific kind of reverberation in different spaces.
Reverberation, or informally, “reverb” or “verb”, is one of the most universally used audio effects and is often found in guitar pedals, synthesizers, effects units and digital audio workstations (DAWs)
A reverb pedal can be used to attain a number of different effects; whether you’re looking to capture a certain space such as a church hall, drench your clean lines in hypnotic ambiance, or simply mimic an old-school spring mechanism, there’s a wealth of options available on the market. When it comes to choosing the reverb pedal that’s right for you, there are a number of things that you need to consider –
4. How to effectively use a reverb pedal
There are a bunch of types of Reverb pedals on the market, with many adding functions to your needs whether you are a basic or an advanced user and each reverb unit has it own way to help you tell the story. But all of them will probably share the same principles. Here are some common control modes that most likely be found on a Reverb Pedal.
· Attack – This function offers you the ability to adjust the delay time of the wet signal to the dry input signal. With the low mode, you may see the reverberation follow right after and textural, turn it up you will find yourself in a deep hallway and spacy
· Decay – opposite to the attack control, decay is how long the reverb effect will fade away and last. When set low, your reverb sound will be short, but set it high, and the sound will last like forever.
· Mix/level – This knob controls the intensity of the effect to the dry signal waves due to the feedback circuit.
· Tone – the ‘tone’ knob has many forms, you can imagine it is like the ‘colour’ of the reverb. This can mean anything from a bass-heavy rumbling echo to a breathy reverb sound. This depends very much on stylistic preference and your own taste!
It’s worth noting that there are some additional controls that you may encounter when looking for the perfect reverb effect. Here are a couple of less common examples:
· Shimmer – will lift the input signal up by an octave (12 semi notes) and adds it to the reverb mix. The combination of various range and frequencies altogether from low to high in harmony make the sound more dreamy, harmonized and pleasant
· Dampen – this function will control the high frequencies of reverberations, making them sound deeper and less harsh. This works particularly well if you want a subtler ambiance that doesn’t highlight the attack of your tone.
· Modulation/sway – With the low mode, the sound would be subtle and waxy. Turn it up and you will experience a huge echo in the ear
Like all other time-based effects, the reverb pedal can easily be mixed with other effects in a signal chain. It is because reverb only alters the quality of the sound in a linear process which will not severely affect the tone of the sound like other kinds such as phaser or distortion. A reverb pedal is most widely used at the end of the effect chain to finally “retouch” other elements in general. You should notice that if you put it in the front of other effects, the delay would probably be shortened. However, it is just a matter of style, you can totally change it to your own will.
5. Why you should add reverb to your effect chain?
There are loads of ways you can use a reverb pedal in your rig. Here are some of the most common applications that you might want to consider:
· Add Flavor to your styles – Have you ever noticed that playing a whole simple song or music genre that does not use hard-core effects could sound boring and unattractive. A little reverb between the verses and sections can help smooth over your playing no matter if it is a studio recording or live performance.
· Pleasant Texture – if you want to add some seasoning to your sound and lift other effects to a whole new level, the reverb will do the trick. Good use of functions such as decay, the tone can create a really catchy sound.
6. Review of the 6 Best Reverb Pedals
1. TC Electronic Hall of Fame Reverb Pedal
TC Electronic Hall of Fame Reverb Pedal is a real beast to make your sound way better than usual without worrying you will lose the natural tone. There are many mods you can choose to make your guitar sound like you are performing in an acoustic room, a hall to a large cathedral. The Decay Knob will well support you in every music genre from short to long decay.
This item is really a “hall of fame” effects pedal. You cannot require more from this guy over here.
+ true bypass circuit prevents losing tone.
+ Effortlessly setting up; equipped with stereo in and out.
+ Great tone
2. MXR M300 Reverb Guitar Effects Pedal
MXR M300 Reverb Guitar Effects Pedal is a perfect match for those who are looking for a pedal that play well functionally and versatilely. Due to its six different modes: room, pad, epic, mod, plate and string will offer you the flexibility and quality of the costly rack-unit.
+ Include six distinctive kinds of reverberation.
+ High end quality
+ Delay trails modes and true relay bypass.
3. Electro-Harmonix HOLY GRAIL NANO Reverb Pedal
You can play a little bit classic and vintage style with the string mode or play it out loud to put “the holy grail” out with the hall effect. And lastly, the flerb. Three different modes may be enough for simple usage. And the quality is really impressive
With the compact out-look, who could imagine the Electro-Harmonix HOLY GRAIL NANO Reverb Pedal could deliver a really impressive tone quality.
+ The spring reverb is suitable for classic and vintage performances
+ No need for batteries due to a strong power supply (96DC-200BI)
4. Boss RV-6 Digital Reverb
Boss brand is no longer strange to anyone who want to purchase a good piece of reverb. With 6 distinctive mode, you can play with a versatility in songs, genres and styles. The Boss is by far the industry leader in effect pedal, and this item is included.
+ Simple control options.
+ Equipped with 8 sound modes for major versatility.
+ A bit costly
5. Biyang Rv-10 3-mode Stereo Reverb Guitar Effects Pedal Stereo- TRI Reverb
Tri Reverb RV-10 – Simple and basic. But this graffiti designed pedal could offer all you need as an effective pedal. To be on the list, don’t forget this guy has a cool quality, too. And the price is so affordable for your poor budget
+ Metal steel out-look for enhancing durability.
+ Tri reverb brings you a good sound quality due to providing analog circuit
+ Easily switch between three different modes; room, spring, and hall.
With the price so affordable, you may think there is not much left to talk about with this Electro-Harmonix Oceans 11 Reverb. But you will probably think again because there is such a versatility in settings from mod and shimmer to polyphonic octave. There are also a bunch of options like echo, style, plate, string, hall, reverse, etc
Wide variety of reverbs for its size
Great octave shimmers
Infinite footswitch option
Secondary functions are awkward to access