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History & Development of Reverb

Recorded reverb was essentially the audible byproduct of a physical distance between a sound source and a microphone. Record companies sought out appropriate rooms for a desired effect. Bill Putnam Sr. who was the first to use artificial reverb creatively on a pop recording in 1947, with the use of the first reverb chamber (the studio bathroom!). The result was a huge hit by The Harmonicats called "Peg o' My Heart" on his own Universal label. An echo chamber is a hollow enclosure used to produce echoing sounds, usually for recording purposes.

An acoustic echo chamber is built by building a room with non-parallel surfaces and then applying shellac to all surfaces to get them acoustically reflective. A speaker and one or more microphones are installed in the room to pick up the reflections of the speaker's output. This type of reverb was very popular in the 60's and was one of the basic elements of the famous "Motown Sound." Digital reverberation devices simulate this sound with Chamber or Echo Room programs. Abbey Road Studios Echo Chamber

German company EMT (Elektromesstecknik) made a huge breakthrough in 1957 with the release of the EMT 140 Reverberation Unit - the first plate reverb. A plate reverb system uses an electromechanical transducer, similar to the driver in a loudspeaker, to create vibration in a large plate of sheet metal. A pickup captures the vibrations as they bounce across the plate, and the result is output as an audio signal. Early units had one pickup for mono output, later models featured two pickups for stereo use. The reverb time can be adjusted by a damping pad, made from framed acoustic tiles. The closer the damping pad, the shorter the reverb time. However, the pad never touches the plate. Some units also featured a remote control.

History & Development of Reverb

A type of electromechanical reverb device.It produces a reverb effect by inducing sound vibrations at one end of a long wire (which is coiled into a spring shape to reduce the amount of space it takes up, hence the name). Another transducer at the far end picks up the vibrations.As the waves reflect back and forth from one end of the spring to the other, and back, a reverb effect is produced. Spring reverbs are often criticized for their harsh, trebly sound (and susceptibility to external vibration), but they are inexpensive to build and have been used in the past in many highly regarded keyboards such as the Hammond B3 organ and guitar amplifiers like the famous Fender Twin Reverb (first produced in 1963).

Digital reverberators use various signal processing algorithms in order to create the reverb effect. Since reverberation is essentially caused by a very large number of echoes, simple reverberation algorithms use multiple feedback delay circuits to create a large, decaying series of echoes. In audio signal processing, convolution reverb is a process for digitally simulating the reverberation of a physical or virtual space.