Convolution Reverb: Make the Reverb of Your Dreams

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Ever wondered what your tracks would sound like recorded in a trash can, on a bus, or in Wembley Stadium? Welcome to the wonderful world of convolution reverb!

What is Convolution reverb?

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Convolution reverb is a process used for digitally recreating the reverberation of physical or virtual space.

This means that unlike digital reverb you can make your vocals or instruments sound like they’ve been recorded in real spaces and the sky’s the limit in what’s possible.

You can now get realistic simulations of everywhere from Sydney Opera House to Tombs in the Great Pyramids in Egypt and even make your own. It really is mind-blowing!

To make your own simulated reverb, you need to collect an impulse response. This involves playing any short loud sound which excites the space, so it can be anything from a sweep tone, starter gun, or snare drum crack and recording it to capture how it reverberates in the space.

The software then processes this signal and recreates the unique behavior of the space. Convolution reverb is therefore only ever as good as the impulse response you take.

How to create convolution reverb…

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One of the most popular and well-respected convolution reverb plugins is Altiverb. It’s not cheap but if you’ve got the budget then it’s a really powerful tool. They have lots of amazing spaces you can use from all over the world and it also has a ‘chaos‘ function which is really fun to play with! 

Ableton has recently introduced an awesome convolution reverb in Ableton Live 9, and Logic Pro X also has Space Designer. There are even powerful free convolution plugins such as SIR1 and Reverberate LE that perform really well.

So why not download a convolution reverb plugin and get experimenting? It’s a lot of fun hearing how your track would sound in some of the world’s best venues and a great way to learn about room acoustics.


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Joe Scarffe

Joe is the CMO at Twine.

When he’s not moaning about the state of the music industry or public transport in Manchester, he works with the Twine community and handles social media, the blog and partnerships with companies and institutions.