The Greater True Reverb
is of course natural room ambience
, with a hardwood floor
for choice, and recorded with Sennheiser
s if God
has granted you the wherewithal to buy or rent a few. The Lesser True Reverb
is spring reverb
or plate reverb
is fond of plate reverb
, and it comes as no surprise), made with analog circuitry
and electromechanical transducers
using the Lord
's own laws of nature
The False Reverb
is Digital Reverb
, an abomination
and a sin against sound.
This is why
: As sound waves
bounce around a room, they progressively break up; the attack
blurs, they become muddy, they lose high-end definition
. When Steve Kilbey
sings of "echo drenched inside reverb rain
" ("Warm Spell
", The Church
, originally a flexi-disc
but since reissued on an odds'n'sods compilation
which is well worth digging up), he's unwittingly cutting very close to the heart of the matter
: Digital reverb
sounds like rain because the attack of the original sound is preserved intact unto the nth generation; you're hearing the same "tick tick tick" over and over again instead of a proper softening and mellowing of the signal in successive generations. Analog circuitry
-- or better yet an electromechanical
device like a spring or plate -- cannot reproduce a sound perfectly; with each generation, the signal naturally
degrades further, and the ear is pleased. Digital signal processors
can attempt to emulate
this degeneration (though most don't bother), but it will always be a lifeless and reductive
imitation of an infinitely complicated natural process.
Recording is not about perfection
is for God
alone. Rather, the art of recording lies in properly-marshalled imperfection
, a living, decaying organic worldlet constructed in miniature on the tape. Therein lies the closest approach to true
" that is granted to us desperate and distorted mortals on our sorrowful Earth.
So the next time you drool over one of those fancy-shmancy rackmounted Alesis
units in a store, shun temptation! Just say "Get thee behind me, digital signal processing!
the bastard, shake the dust off your sandals, and go.
The young man below is naiïve and thoughtless. I am perfectly capable of distinquishing between delay
. Digital reverb sounds bad
. In fact, it sounds just like I describe it above. If you can't tell the difference (or if you don't give a damn), you'll be condemned to listeners as useless as you are. This incoherent leftist jabber about "thickening agents" is wholly beside the point. If you describe what you're doing as "thickening", does that make it okay for it to sound like crap? No. That's ludicrous.
For the uninformed (including our young friend): "Delay" is when you have a single echo going; "reverb" is when you have several with slightly different periods. If a single echo has an excessively sharp attack, adding more of the same won't change anything. This becomes obvious when you actually listen to the gear we're discussing.