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electronic MUSICIAN

 

 

May 9

Written by: masterblogger
5/9/2011 7:20 AM  RssIcon

AskIK Multimedia’s Classik Studio Reverb plugins provide four different algorithmic reverbs.

 

I’ve seen references to “convolution reverb” and “algorithmic reverb.” What’s the diff erence between them? Is one type better than the other? How do you know which kind is best for a particular project?
JOE PASQUALE, HACKENSACK, NJ

Convolution and algorithmic reverbs use diff erent technologies. A convolution reverb gets its sound by loading an impulse, which is a sampled “snapshot” of a room’s decay characteristics. One way this is performed is by recording a starter pistol shot and decay. Loading this impulse into a convolution reverb tells it how to process an incoming signal so that it decays in the same way as the impulse.

Algorithmic reverb synthesizes a room’s characteristics by creating algorithms that generate a particular number of refl ections, subject them to highfrequency damping, add pre-delay, simulate a particular room size, and so on. Although this is an “imaginary” reverb, the algorithms are based on analysis of the way acoustic spaces aff ect sound. You can think of convolution reverb as similar to keyboard samplers, while algorithmic reverb is more like virtual analog synthesizers.

As for which type to choose, convolution reverb is more “literal,” while algorithmic reverb is more “impressionistic.” Convolution reverb is more fl exible in that you can load diff erent impulses and obtain entirely diff erent sounds—even impulses of tunnels, or something like the body of an acoustic bass. However, it’s less fl exible in other ways because changing individual parameters—decay time, damping, and so on—is diffi cult, or in some cases, impossible. Algorithmic reverb limits you to the chosen algorithm, but you have far more fl exibility to edit the algorithm’s parameters.

Each type of reverb has its own sound quality, and neither one is “wrong” unless it doesn’t sound right in the context of your music. Try diff erent types of reverb, and it should be obvious which works best with your recordings.

THE EDITORS

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