REVERB: the Shimmering, Majestic Truth

Let’s take a break from the endless and depressing topic of COVID-19, shall we? Music creators, there is something important I would like to discuss with you, at a time when many of you are undoubtedly cloistered in your homes, hard at work on new music. I’m super excited to hear what you all come up with; I am sure much of it will be deeply inspired, moving work. 

BUT FIRST, I will let you in on a secret: whether your work is a pile of shit or a masterpiece, many of you will ruin it by adding artificial reverberation in post-processing. 

via GIPHY

If you somehow got this far into this article without me boring you to tears, you may be wondering what on Earth I am talking about. Reverberation (or “reverb”) is what happens when sound bounces back at you from surfaces around you. If you’re in a small room, reverb sounds like a subtle overtone to your voice. If you’re in a church, it sounds overwhelming and lasts much longer. HOWEVER, if you’re in a recording studio, people use (read: overuse) artificial reverb, in which case… It sounds like you’re 13 again and singing angsty songs about how mad you are at your mom. Don’t. 

Worst of all, it’s contagious! Music creators of all ages and angst levels are using excessive amounts of artificial reverb in their work. It’s pissing me off! Adding reverb in post-processing should be like playing a good bass part: if you’re doing it right, most listeners won’t even know it’s there.

It’s not just in music, either: have you ever noticed a scene on TV when the character is outdoors and it sounds like they’re indoors? That’s because some knucklehead thought it was a good idea to add a room reverb to the voice track in post. W H Y oh why? Beats me.

In the spirit of keeping things positive, I will end with a simple request.

While you’re in your home studio working on your next awesome or sub-par release that I’m going to have to listen to and review whether it’s good or not… PLEASE think of me for like, one second, and just turn the reverb down a little bit, OK? Better yet, use delay instead.

tl;dr – fuck off with your artificial reverb

Written by Henri Brillon
*Edited by Dominic Abate

About Henri Brillon 25 Articles
Don't let Henri's conventional style fool you; there's a maze of subtle sounds in that noggin of his. After discovering his dad's records and CDs, Henri became a lover of classic hard rock. He then found his true passion for any music that breaks the rules: progressive, psychedelic, improvisational, metal, experimental and more. At concerts, the musical experience is equally as important to Henri as the intellectual one; good shows should trigger personal reflexion and deep questions! When he's not busy feeding the mainstream monster as web editor at The Beat 92.5, Henri assumes bass guitar duties for Montreal pop-funk band Neon Rise. He's also been known to strum out the occasional acoustic folk ballad under his own name – sometimes in English, sometimes in French. Henri dabbles in photography and videography, and has been an avid skier his entire life.

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