Originally Posted by: bbzswa777I have both delay settings and reverb settings on my Fender Mustang i amplifier. I know what delay does and how to set it. But reverb kind of puzzles me. It's hard to put my finger on exactly what it's doing. It kind of sounds like an echo, but not really.
What is reverb really doing to the sound/signal?
Hey Rusty....Reverb and delay can often fall in to a near same definition in that they both recreate 'space' in one way or another. The best way is to define them like this:
- Delay creates sound reflection
- Reverb creates sound space
For delay, or creating sound reflection, this means that the sound is going to repeat. Like going to the Grand Canyon and yelling 'HELLO!' and hearing a repeat of what you just shouted. A digital delay can do this crazy-like where you can go to almost infinite repeats but when using as a 'crazy' effect, you might have multiple 'repeats' of the original signal that decay after several repeats. But, the most frequent use is called slapback
echo (delay) which consists of a single, quick echo of the original sound. While you may not know it, your ear often hears this in other situations. With guitar, it handles the the 'dryness' (makes the sound more live) of the sound and makes the sound a little more natural to the human ear.
With reverb, it is similar to delay in that it is creating a more 'live' sound too. Whereas delay was creating a repeat of the sound, Reverb is creating the size of a room. If you played your unaffected amp in an insulated closet, you would have no reverberation (reverb). However, with that same amp in an empty warehouse, you have a ton of reverb. Reverb artificially creates the size of a room in a way the delay cannot.
Used together, these can be very powerful tools to help your sound become more pleasing.
When used together and subtly, they can really add a warmth and depth to your tone that you could not get without using them. The challenge is to hear when they've added value to the sound versus when they've actually crossed a threshold that degrades your sound. Many people turn the effects 'up' too much because they can hear the difference. Usually this means that it is actually taking away from the quality of the sound. The key is to hear the point at which the sound becomes more natural and less brittle and dry.
Reverb is an imperative to play both live and recording. When recording, it is much harder to add reverb after the fact and still have a natural sound. However, in a live setting, so that the end mix of all instruments do not sound like mush, dialing back the normal reverb can bring clarity of your instrument in the mix.
I would want to note that you could live without a delay but you pretty much cannot live without reverb. When setting up your effects, set your reverb first, then set up your slapback echo. The amount of slapback you need is better determined by the 'size of room' you created with the reverb.