In the expansive universe of sound engineering, a peculiar phenomenon often leaves people intrigued and fascinated – reverse reverb.
Often dubbed as the ‘backward echo effect,’ reverse reverb isn’t a new kid on the block, but its spellbinding impact on music has been profound.
However, many still scratch their heads, wondering: What is reverse reverb & how to create a backward echo effect?
Peeling back these layers of mystery is nothing less than embarking on an audiophile’s journey.
Here, I will delve into the definition of reverse reverb and show you simple steps to create that mesmerizing backward echo effect yourself. Put your headphones on; this will be quite an immersive experience!
What Is Reverse Reverb?
Reverse reverb, also known as reverse echo or backward reverb, is a sound effect created by recording the reverb or echo of a sound and then reversing it. It was first developed in the 1960s and used extensively in various music genres to add an eerie or surreal effect to recordings.
The process involved includes recording the echo from an instrument or vocal and then playing that recording back in reverse. The end effect is a swelling sound that crescendos up to the original note or chord.
Comparative Analysis: Reverse Reverb Vs Echo
The distinction between reverse reverb and echo requires us to delve into the fundamentals of sound manipulation.
While both methods are integral in audio engineering, their characteristics and actualization process vary significantly.
Echo, a part of our everyday acoustic experiences, implies the repetition of sound after it is reflected off a surface far from the source.
In music production, echo refers to a distinct repeat of a sound with a delay sufficient to be perceived as separate from the source.
As previously explained, reverse reverb is not merely about repeating sounds but ingeniously twisting them in reverse.
The creation process starts with reversing an audio clip, adding reverb to this reversed portion, and then flipping it back.
It creates more of a sound ‘build-up’ without any discernible delay repetition and has a unique decaying ‘tail’ that leads into your original dry signal.
|Delay effect on the original signal
|Reversed audio with added reverb
|Replayed delayed note or sound bite
|Swelling, atmospheric undertones leading into dry signal
So, when you contrast both effects in this simple table, you can see their differences from how they’re generated to their impact on the end-listener.
Combining these dynamic tools can take any ordinary track to extraordinarily captivating levels.
The Role of Reverse Reverbs in Achieving Backward Echo Effects
Reverse reverb creates a distinctive, often surreal feel to the sound – think of it as an unprecedented auditory suspense element.
Before we delve into how to create this magical effect, let’s outline its role and benefits:
- Creating Sonic ‘Ramps’: A backward echo is handy when your track needs a smooth and steady shift from tranquil silence to vivid sounds. It’s like a sonic ‘ramp,’ transporting the listener from one scene to another with gradual intensity.
- Adding Depth and Dimension: If your audio piece feels flat or one-dimensional, a touch of reverse reverb can surround it with layers of depth and complexity. This will give your audience an immersive listening experience.
- Enhancing Transitions: Reverse reverb can also be employed strategically during transitions. These atmospheric echoes help bridge sections smoothly and instill impact.
- Injecting Suspense & Drama: Think about those entrancing movie soundtracks or spine-chilling horror scene sound effects; that’s reverse reverb doing its job. It induces suspense and evokes heightened emotional responses in listeners.
How to Create Backwards Ambience: Four Methods
Music production is a world full of possibilities, and creating a backward ambiance using reverse reverb is no exception.
Several methods are available to us, including using plugins, effects pedals, rack units, or manually through a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). Let’s dive into each in more detail:
Music software plugins bring a world of sophisticated effects to your fingertips.
You’ll find many that can assist with creating reverse reverb for your tracks:
- Crystallizer by Soundtoys: It offers an excellent reverse echo effect.
- Blackhole by Eventide: This plugin lets you infuse a sci-fi vibe into your sound.
These plugins are straightforward to use and efficiently create the desired sonic texture.
Effects pedals provide instant, on-the-fly adjustments for live performance scenarios.
Many guitar pedal makers have included the function of reverse reverbs:
- Avalanche Run by Earthquaker Devices: A versatile pedal with expansive delays and advanced reverse reverb functionality.
Relying on these beauties can bring an added dimension to your live performance.
Rack units are commonplace in large recording studios due to their ability to deliver high-quality professional audio effects, including reverse reverb:
- Lexicon PCM80: A fan-favorite with professional sound engineers for its impressive array of options.
As more studio-grade hardware units become accessible, users can craft distinctive backward echoes in their workspaces.
Manually through a DAW
For the DIY enthusiasts ready to take complete control or gain more profound knowledge, manually creating this effect using any DAW is also viable:
- Record or import your dry signal.
- Reverse this signal through the edit menu.
- Apply a reverb effect.
- After processing, reverse it back through the edit menu.
This approach offers flexibility and control over all variables of your effect but requires more time investment.
Whichever method or tool you choose to explore, appreciating what reverse reverb is & how to create a backward echo effect could open up new sonic horizons for your productions.
Music and sound design don’t always have to conform to traditional rules; experimentation is critical.
Use reverse reverb as an atmospheric tool and a unique character in your sound story. Don’t restrict your creative juices; find innovative ways of using them.
The world of reverse reverb is enchanting – filled with unexpected audio textures and tonal landscapes waiting to be discovered.
Harness its power, and you can enhance the emotional depth and thematic richness of your music or sound design projects beyond measure.
Also Read: What Is MIDI?
Spotlight on Top-rated Reverse Reverb Pedals
Creating a breathtaking reverse reverb effect doesn’t require a considerable investment in top-of-the-line audio production suites.
A high-quality reverb pedal can be your one-way ticket to achieving compelling sonic results.
Let’s dive into some of the best reverse reverb pedals available today: Digitech Hardwire RV-7, Walrus Audio Descent, Red Panda Context V2, Walrus Audio Lore, and Keeley Realizer.
Digitech Hardwire RV-7
The Digitech Hardwire RV-7 stands tall among its competitors as a compact and exquisitely crafted unit.
This true stereo reverb pedal provides industrious musicians with seven distinctive Lexicon reverbs (indicated by its name), including an impressive reverse reverb feature.
Exceptional sound quality is guaranteed since this pedal utilizes high-voltage operation to provide more excellent headroom or dynamic range.
Endowed with rugged all-metal construction and patented Stomplock knob guards, this pedal promises durability as much as outstanding audio performance.
Walrus Audio Descent
If you’re after flexibility and versatility in your soundscapes, you won’t be disappointed by the Walrus Audio Descent.
It comes equipped with three unique reverb modes: Hall, Reverse, and Shimmer – all fully customizable for perfect tone shaping.
The Reverse mode might seem traditional at first glance; however, it can morph regular notes into immersive textures that stretch far beyond standard musical boundaries.
Red Panda Context V2
The Red Panda Context V2 is a powerful rendition of its predecessor bringing you eight remarkable reverb effects, including Reverse mode, to experiment with.
Its small footprint doesn’t limit its sound design capabilities; its comprehensive controls allow for precise adjustments and meticulous crafting of richly textured sonic landscapes.
Walrus Audio Slo
For those who crave wide-ranging reverberation control and room for creativity, the Walrus Audio Slo is a remarkable option among reverse reverb pedals.
Its “Sink” mode is essentially a modified reverse effect setting that culminates not in a clear endpoint but saturates into infinite droning waves – perfect for achieving dramatic swooshing backdrops.
The Keeley Realizer allows artists to dive deep into lush auditory dimensions that mimic out-worldly phenomena.
Touted as one of the most creative tools for stompbox aficionados, it gifts users unique ambient soundscapes through its default and user-generated modes, incorporating reverse reverbs based on reflections or “spatial diffusion.”
These reverse reverberation pedal gems have been meticulously designed to turn your acoustic dreams into reality.
Embracing Creativity: A DIY Guide to Analog Reverse Reverb
Creating an analog reverse reverb effect might seem complex, but it is achievable with the proper steps and appreciation of the process. Let’s break it down:
- Understand the Input Signal: It starts with an audio track you want to apply reverse reverb.
- Reverse the Audio: The first step to creating a backward echo effect could be reversing your audio track. Most DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) software has a function that allows you to do this easily.
- Apply Reverb: You can add reverb once your audio track is reversed. The size and duration of the reverb should be sufficiently long for a practical reverse echo effect.
- Final Touches: After applying the reverb, reverse your track back to its original direction, and there you have it – your very own analog reverse reverb effect.
While this method may not provide as precise control over the effect as some digital methods or specific pedals such as Digitech Hardwire RV-7 or Walrus Audio Descent, it does give you a distinct and richly organic sound that can only come from analog signal processing.
The Science Behind the Backwards Echo Effect
To comprehend the science behind the reverse reverb effect, it’s imperative to grasp how standard echo and reverb work.
An echo reflects sound waves returning to your ears after bouncing off a surface.
This delay between when you hear the original sound and its echo creates a distinct repetitive sound.
A simple reverb is a multitude of tiny echoes happening nearly simultaneously, enhancing the effect of ‘echo.’
In an enclosed space like a hall, you encounter these reverberations as sounds bounce around walls before reaching your ears. Let’s break this down:
Delving into Reverse Echo
Start by recording any desired sound or musical instrument to create a backward echo. It can be your voice, guitar strums, or casual ambient noise.
In digital applications like Audacity, you can “reverse” your recording. By employing this function, you are essentially spinning your audio clip backward.
Once you’ve flipped the recording backward successfully, it’s time to apply the reverb effect using settings within your preferred audio-editing software.
When processing sounds through reversal and echoing ambiance applications, amplitude envelopes come into play – these features determine different parts of an individual sound wave (attack, decay, sustain & release).
By reversing their order (from ADSR to RSDA), we get that telltale growing introduction followed by sudden drops that characterize reverse reverbs.
Harnessing such an auditory illusion isn’t just derived from scientific experimentation with sound and artistic exploration of atmosphere and mood.
It’s about understanding that music isn’t always predictive and following conventional norms – sometimes defying them leads to truly creative results.
Exploration of Different Aspects of Creating a Reverse Reverb Effect
Creating reverse reverb requires careful exploration and understanding of sound manipulation. As we delve deeper into this, there are four primary steps to follow:
Step 1: Select Your Designated Sound
Choose the audio segment or soundbite to which you wish to apply the reverse reverb effect.
This could be anything, from a vocal line to the strumming of a guitar. Keep it isolated and ensure it’s clean and dry — free from other effects.
Step 2: Reverse Your Track
As the name implies, reverse reverb involves working with reversed audio.
In your digital audio workstation (DAW) like Ableton Live, Adobe Audition, or Garage Band, navigate to your preselected track, select it, and click ‘reverse.’ It would be best if you now had your original sound running backward.
Step 3: Apply Reverb
Add a healthy dose of reverb as per your aesthetic preference. Enhance this effect by increasing its decay time–the echo’s duration. Remember, too much might drown out the original input.
Step 4: Flip it
Once you’ve applied the reverb, do “flipping.” Go back and reverse this reverberated version one more time – returning your track to its original direction but now with the echoing effect applied in reversed order.
FAQs about Reverse Reverb
What is the reverse reverb effect?
The reverse reverb effect, or “pre-verb,” is a sound manipulation technique that gives the illusion of a reverb tail preceding an ambient sound or voice. It creates a build-up towards the main sound, giving it an eerie or unique quality.
How do you make a reverse effect?
First, record or select your source audio to create a reverse effect. After that, use your audio editing software to flip the audio backward, add a reverb effect, and flip it back. This will reverse the reverb but not your primary audio.
What songs use reverse reverb?
Reverse reverb is frequently used in many genres to create unique effects. Some examples include “When The Levee Breaks” by Led Zeppelin, “In My Place” by Coldplay, and multiple tracks by The Beatles.
How do you reverse reverb in audacity?
In Audacity, start by selecting the track section where you want to apply the reverse reverb effect. Click Effect > Reverse, add your desired Reverb settings under Effect > Reverb, then return to Effect > Reverse.
How do you do reverse reverb in Studio One?
In Studio One, start with duplicating your track, then select Audio > Reverse Audio in a repeated way. Add your desired Reverb on this reversed duplicated track, then export/bounce it as a new audio track. Finally, apply Audio > Reverse Audio again in that new audio file.
Creating an impactful reverse reverb or backward echo effect is part science, part art.
You can manipulate your audio tracks to generate remarkable ethereal soundscapes by understanding the technical steps involved.
Here’s to creating a lasting sonic impression and transporting your listeners on an otherworldly journey.
So, plunge headfirst into audio production, defy conventions, and test different combinations until you stumble upon that perfect echo effect!