Tips for Getting a Vintage Sounding Reverb


Hey, guys. Eric Tarr here for theproaudiofiles.com. I’ve got a tip that I want to show you today
about how you can achieve more of a vintage vibe and vintage sound to a reverb that you’re
working with. The idea here is based off — or the concept
comes from the fact that some of the early hardware digital reverbs from EMT and Lexicon
— the digital technology at that time was not what it is today. Nowadays, we’re working
with sampling rates of 44.1, 48kHz, maybe even 96kHz. But at the time of the early hardware digital
reverbs, they only had sampling rates maybe 20-24kHz. Same thing with the bit depth. Now
we’re working with 16, 24 inside of our digital audio workstation, even 32-bit floating point. But on those early hardware digital reverbs,
maybe they only had 10-12 bits? So what I’m going to do is just work with an average stock
reverb plug-in, then add some lo-fi processing to it to replicate or simulate what was going
on with the digital technology used in those early Lexicon and EMT style reverbs. I’m going to do this on this song. First on
my vocals, and then on the drums. Before I get to the reverb, let me just play the track
back so that you can hear what it sounds like. [mix plays] Alright, you get the idea.
First off, let me start out with the vocals. I’ll solo this. I’m going to buss it over
to this parallel auxiliary track called “Lo-Fi.” This is where I’m going to be inserting my
reverb. In fact, on my send I’ve got a pre-fader send. That way I’ll be able to even mute the
vocal track and just listen to the reverb by itself. That’s helpful, specifically when I’m just
dialing in the sound. Then it’s better after the fact to change this to a post-fader. Alright, to create this kind of effect, start
out with just a reverb sound and dial it in to get something close to what you’re looking
for. So here, I’ll start out. Here’s just your stock D-Verb plug-in with Pro Tools.
You can use a different one if your DAW has a different reverb plug-in, or even a third-party
one. So what I’m going to do is just send some
signal into it, listen back and try to find a sound that’s pretty good. [vocals and reverb] Maybe going to mute the vocals so we can just
listen to the reverb by itself. [verb plays] Alright, next up is to add the lo-fi processing.
A couple of different ways you can do this — and I would encourage you to even experiment
with this — is to think about using lo-fi processing pre-reverb effect and also post
reverb effect. So I’m going to use here — this is another
stock plug-in — the AIR Lo-Fi plug-in. Here, you can actually inside of the session change
the sampling rate of the signal, or resample the signal just by going through this plug-in,
and also change the bit depth. So I’m just going to listen to the reverb
here and then roll back the sampling rate and the bit depth. You’ll hear it really start
to get crunchy. [reverb with lo-fi] So this is where I’m using the lo-fi processing
pre-effect. I could also do it post-effect. Just a different idea there. [reverb] By itself, very crunchy, but I can mix it
in with the vocal then. [vocal and reverb mix] Now in the context of the mix… [mix] Just a cool idea then to add some more vintage
feel to it. Alright, let me switch over and start working
on the drums. So instead of working with the vocals, let me pull up the drums here. Why
don’t I do the same thing. Send it over and just focus on the reverb to begin with. Here, I’m actually going to specifically go
for that gated reverb sound, and in fact, with a plug-in like D-Verb, there’s an algorithm
— this non-linear one — that will accomplish that kind of Phil Collins gated reverb sound.
So I’ll just turn this one on. Let’s listen to it back now without the lo-fi
processing. [drums play] Alright, next up is just to experiment with
some of that distortion. [adjusting Lo-Fi on reverb] Alright, so hopefully that gives you guys
another trick — another thing you can experiment with, depending on if your song you think
calls for that kind of sound. Try it out with the Lo-Fi distortion processing before the
reverb, after the reverb, and actually a combination of both of them. You’d be surprised at what
you can do. Try out maybe more of a subtle kind of an
effect, or even more of a dramatic kind of effect. That’s all I’ve got for you. Take care, guys.

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