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Mike Storey and His Plate Reverb (Video)

Roblimo posted about a year and a half ago | from the hellooooo-helloooo-hellooo-helloo-helloo dept.

Music 163

"Reverberation is the persistence of sound in a particular space after the original sound is produced," says Wikipedia. More often than not, in studio recordings reverb is added digitally; virtually every FOSS or proprietary sound-editing program has a built-in reverb utility. But what if you're the sort of purist who prefers the analog sound of vinyl records to the digital sound of MP3s or CDs? What if you're the kind of musician who records at the original Sun Studio in Memphis to get that original rock and roll sound? That may be overly picky for most musicians, but there are some who would rather sound like Johnny Cash than Flavor Flav, and they're the ones who are going to insist on real analog reverb instead of twiddling a setting in Audacity. There are many types of analog reverbs, of course. One of the purest types, preferred by many audio purists, is the adjustable plate reverb, and Jim Cunnigham's Ecoplate is considered by many to be the best plate reverb ever -- which brings us to Mike Storey, who wanted an Ecoplate-type plate reverb so badly that he spent eight months building one. He'll run your audio files through it for a (highly negotiable) fee, and maybe give you a bit of advice if you want to build your own, although his biggest piece of advice for you (at the end of the video) to think long and hard before you become a home-brew reverberator, with or without advice and components from Jim Cunningham.

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Hell, that's nothing! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41935115)

I'll run your music through my super-secret-sauce Monster Cables reverberator for only 10x what this guy is charging! That means its going to sound 10 times better. You can't go wrong with a deal like that!

Re:Hell, that's nothing! (1)

arielCo (995647) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935265)

Anjou Speaker Cable [pearcable.com]

3 foot pair - $2750
8 foot pair - $5250
12 foot pair - $7250

Re:Hell, that's nothing! (1)

kryliss (72493) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935791)

I think I saw those at Best Buy next to the gold plated HDMI cables.

Re:Hell, that's nothing! (1)

MonkeyPaw (8286) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935273)

Don't listen to this guy. I'll run your music through wire coat hangers for half the price!

Re:Hell, that's nothing! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41936145)

Oh no you don't! Not unless you're using this volume knob [archive.org]

Oh, now it makes sense (1, Insightful)

gazbo (517111) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935139)

Why is Slashdot running a story about someone making a piece of simple (if awkward) equipment that has been used all over the world for decades?

" for a (highly negotiable) fee"

Oh, now I see. As you were.

Re:Oh, now it makes sense (5, Insightful)

mrjb (547783) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935479)

Because it's geek-worthy. This sort of equipment has been used all over the world for decades, but is becoming obsolete. Just like vacuum tubes or computers, sure, plate reverbs have been used for decades. But how many people do you know that have ever hand-made either? As audio geek, it excites me to know people still have enough hacker spirit left in them to home-brew this sort of thing, just as much as it excited me to read about the guy who built his own computer from logic gates. Different level of complexity, same spirit. Seriously, I don't mind finding the occasional "hackaday" style post on Slashdot. Keep them coming please.

Re:Oh, now it makes sense (2)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935747)

Just like vacuum tubes or computers... But how many people do you know that have ever hand-made either?

Offhand, I can think of two, one for each. The computer builder is an elder in-law, who was a logic designer and electrician for the first computer in a certain European country. The vacuum tube builder is my old physics professor, whose research involved many kinds of tubes, some of which he designed himself (though I can't really say he hand-made them, as he had professional glassblowers do the actual work while he directed).

Oh, you were being rhetorical...

Re:Oh, now it makes sense (1)

guruevi (827432) | about a year and a half ago | (#41937143)

The problem with most audio geeks (and I am one myself but I place myself out of this category) is that they claim certain things that either can't be true or are very difficult to verify. This whole thing with vacuum tubes is one thing, some other things include this reverb effect, vinyl clicks and pops as well as the "direction" arrows on (digital) cables that are only forged by elves during a full moon.

For me this would be the answer:
Does using ancient technology x produce a different sound: yes. Can you imitate it in software: yes (but here people will already start disagreeing with me). Do you really need to build an authentic system to have the exact same sound that a digital chip can make: no. Are you going for High Fidelity when you use these tricks to mould the original audio: heck no.

Re:Oh, now it makes sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41935491)

Interesting thing is, he could entirely automate the thing for not much more work. Set up a website to feed the files to, and charge based on some usage statistic.

Real studio ambience does make a huge difference (1)

CRCulver (715279) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935179)

I didn't use to be aware of what the studio space bring to a recording under I started collecting releases from the jazz and classical label ECM, whose uncanny founder Manfred Eicher produces nearly every recording himself in the best venue he can find. I've heard jazz recordings on ECM that might be banal under any other producer, but the studio ambience curiously becomes a sort of musical substance, endowing weight and beauty to otherwise unworthy music. For music that is great already, the production just pushes it to even more sublime heights (I'd point to the ECM recording of Arvo Part's Kanon Pokajanen [amazon.com] as an example of that).

Anyone else know of a label where the studio ambience plays a large role?

Re:Real studio ambience does make a huge differenc (0)

Sketchly (1354369) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935357)

But it's jazz, no-one cares.

Re:Real studio ambience does make a huge differenc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41935851)

I approve of this message.

Re:Real studio ambience does make a huge differenc (1)

OhSoLaMeow (2536022) | about a year and a half ago | (#41936845)

Rock: Playing 4 chords to thousands of people
Jass: Playing thousands of chords to 4 people.

Re:Real studio ambience does make a huge differenc (1)

CRCulver (715279) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935379)

Goodness, my typing is sloppy. The first sentence should read "I didn't use to be aware of what the studio space could bring to a recording until I started collecting releases from the jazz and classical label ECM".

(An edit function on Slashdot would be great, at least for posters with good karma whom one can trust not to e.g. change acceptable posts into Goatse links after they've been modded to +5.)

Re:Real studio ambience does make a huge differenc (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41935495)

An edit function on Slashdot would be great, at least for posters with good karma whom one can trust not to e.g. change acceptable posts into Goatse links after they've been modded to +5.

That should be the ONLY use for an edit function.

Re:Real studio ambience does make a huge differenc (2, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935839)

They have an edit button, it's called preview. /. doesn't need an after submit post button, it needs reader who read the preview.

This isn't studio ambiance (4, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935421)

Plate reverb is synthetic reverb. It is done, literally, by making a large metal plate vibrate. These days it is very rarely done as an actual physical thing since it can be simulated very well digitally, and with more flexibility.

However, any time you have a new technology, there are always "purists" who claim that it ruins everything and want to do it the old fashion way, hence there are places with real plate reverb units.

Actual room reverb or ambiance is captured just as function of recording in that space. The micing techniques you use (like what kind of pickup, how close to the musicians and so on) controls the amount. It can also be added later to quite a high degree of realism by taking an impulse of the room and using digital convolution on the audio signal. Still not quite the same as an actual recording in the space for various reasons, but close.

In terms of studios with famous ambiance, East West has one of the better ones out there. They bought the Cello Studios in California and there are some very good sounding rooms there. On account of that, many acts hire out the space to record in. It is also where they record their own samples, of course.

Re:This isn't studio ambiance (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935615)

I hear one act found some interesting reverb for recording at Headley Grange [wikipedia.org] for their sounds.

Heck, I think they even had a hit or two from those sessions....?

Re:This isn't studio ambiance (1)

postbigbang (761081) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935619)

I want to say that a high-sampling rate A-D convertor with a good bit of software at a high clock/slewing rate ought to do the job. I've heard these things do a good job.

And I have an amp with 4) 6L6GC tubes in push-pull with a huge fat transformer and a king-hell power supply shred the living crap out of the tastiest solid-state amp I've used. It has a damnable spring reverb in it that sounds far, far better than the high-slew rate Line6 amps I've used.

I'm not so sure that we're getting the analog-digital conversion process right. My ear, old as it is, can still tell the difference, blindfolded, in an A-B test. I don't want to; I want to believe that digital does it right and is vastly more flexible; it is more flexible but analog systems can still sound very good. Maybe it's audio memory in my brain that wants to hear the analog nuances instead of ostensible digital perfection. I wonder often if that's the case. Lossy codecs are bad for us, I think.

Re:This isn't studio ambiance (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | about a year and a half ago | (#41936089)

the a/d stuff is not hard to do well.

dac, otoh, is hard to do well.

not sure why, but it seems to be so, from the industry guys I hang out with.

Re:This isn't studio ambiance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41936665)

I'm not so sure that we're getting the analog-digital conversion process right.

I'm not sure what there is to get wrong. I've worked on analogy to digital equipment and there are are some caveats and cases to be careful with, and the good equipment is expensive... but I work at frequencies into GHz. Most of those problems go away in the MHz, with equipment that cost a lot less than some audio equipment I've seen pushed.

Re:This isn't studio ambiance (1)

postbigbang (761081) | about a year and a half ago | (#41937873)

Although there is the sampling rate to consider, there are also the second- and third-order harmonics that tubes seem to "enrich". I wonder if I miss these in the super-accuracy of great samples. A2D then D2A reacts in a digital way to the outputs that go to the voice coils in speakers. Clamping current is higher, and there's less slewing distortions-- to a point.

D goes to A, then gets fed to fat transistors backed by humongous caps. There is no transformer-based core current saturation.

But then, I might be imagining this, having been trained in the tube era. People spend stunning amounts of $$ to get these effects that are non-obvious. For me, I just play and sometimes I get paid. Not often.

Re:This isn't studio ambiance (1, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about a year and a half ago | (#41936963)

I've always thought it's ironic that electric instrument players get all excited about a crude way to add artificial distortion to the artificial sounds produced by their artificial instruments. If you really want "the analog experience" go get yourself a wooden acoustical instrument and get the reverb you want by playing in the appropriate room.

Re:This isn't studio ambiance (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41939499)

I've always thought it's ironic that electric instrument players get all excited about a crude way to add artificial distortion to the artificial sounds produced by their artificial instruments. If you really want "the analog experience" go get yourself a wooden acoustical instrument and get the reverb you want by playing in the appropriate room.

Electric instruments of the traditional kind are about as analog as you can possible get while involving electrons. I don't see the irony.

Re:Real studio ambience does make a huge differenc (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41935423)

I'm responding to your comment because I want to be seen and modded up more than if I just posted in response to the article.

But I am also going to be clever and show how your question makes the submitter look stupid. The summary says:

there are some who would rather sound like Johnny Cash than Flavor Flav, and they're the ones who are going to insist on real analog reverb instead of twiddling a setting in Audacity.

So, like you said, why dick around with that artificial plate(or spring) reverb shit and use REAL analog reverb, which is the room and the mic placement relative to it(as Led Zeppelin did)? Fuckin' kids and their silly hipster rich-kid toys. Nothing pisses me off more than a pedal snob, I was at a show with this hipster fag playing, he had an original Small Stone phaser he bragged about...and the fuckin thing crackled and buzzed the whole show and he spend half the time abruptly stopping his singing and playing to fiddle with it until the next time it crackled 5 minutes later

And who likes the Smashing Pumpkins anyway? They're one of those bands that would be cool except for their shitty singer, like Radiohead or Rush. I have a large cock and a Digitech all-in-one and I get all the pussy.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:Real studio ambience does make a huge differenc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41935427)

Anyone else know of a label where the studio ambience plays a large role?

I know of a person rather than a label - I think Devin Townsend has a knack of improving music he produces, apart from being a good musician himself. For example, his production had a nice effect on the quality of Soilwork's Natural Born Chaos album. This may not be your cup of tea, though, since it's death metal.

Re:Real studio ambience does make a huge differenc (2)

Threni (635302) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935431)

Some of the artists on ECM hate that sound and have left the label and /or left the label precisely because of it.

Re:Real studio ambience does make a huge differenc (1)

CRCulver (715279) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935481)

Cite? I've only read stories about artists happy to move from another label to ECM in order to get that ECM sound. It would be interesting to read the stories of dissenters.

Re:Real studio ambience does make a huge differenc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41939503)

Yeah, I don't think they do that on like Keith Jarrett records.

Re:Real studio ambience does make a huge differenc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41939489)

The reverb is the suckiest part of ECM. Aside from being cartoony, it emphasizes non-musical stuff like string noise.

Honestly, what's the real difference to digital "fake" reverb, musically speaking? If you're using it to create a fake perspective or as glue for music that doesn't dynamically hold together well, then it's a distraction hiding your real problems that need solving.

You could have dropped a few more names in... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41935189)

You could have dropped a few more names of people no one on slashdot knows in there!

What's all this "purity of vinyl" crap? (3, Insightful)

Nutria (679911) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935205)

DDD audio CDs are the purist sound because there's no possible tape hiss or snap/crackle/degradation of needle on vinyl.

Re:What's all this "purity of vinyl" crap? (4, Funny)

captaindomon (870655) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935283)

Sitting down with a bag of popcorn...

Re:What's all this "purity of vinyl" crap? (1)

mrjb (547783) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935505)

Joining in on the popcorn. The fireworks should start any moment now.

Re:What's all this "purity of vinyl" crap? (1)

MonkeyPaw (8286) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935317)

Not to mention you can pump any sort of frequency into a digital recording and not have to worry about jumping a needle out of a groove if it contains too many low, rubbery bass notes.

People are still holding onto the original digital recordings from the 80's - the tinny, horrid ones - as an argument for vinyl.

Re:What's all this "purity of vinyl" crap? (1)

operagost (62405) | about a year and a half ago | (#41936471)

Most of those were terrible not even because of 44.1/16-bit limitations, but because people who should not have been allowed near a mixing station decided to create digital masters from LP masters-- with the RIAA curve in it. Thus, no bass and a big spike at the high end.

Re:What's all this "purity of vinyl" crap? (1)

Fallen Kell (165468) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935325)

Except for the fact that it only records frequencies up to 22.05 KHz which drop most all 3rd/4th order harmonics from many instruments.

Re:What's all this "purity of vinyl" crap? (2)

msauve (701917) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935529)

it only records frequencies up to 22.05 KHz which drop most all 3rd/4th order harmonics from many instruments

The highest note on a piano, C8, is 4186.01 Hz (piccolo is the same). 4th harmonic would be 16,744.04 Hz. Most [wikipedia.org] instruments are lower than that. What are you talking about?

Most people can't hear above 20 KHz, so it simply doesn't matter.

Finally, if you're in the very small minority who can hear higher frequencies, DVD audio supports up to 192 KHz sampling.

Re:What's all this "purity of vinyl" crap? (1)

operagost (62405) | about a year and a half ago | (#41936537)

The original objection was due to the fact that 1980s lowpass filters (necessary to ensure that no information above 22 KHz was run through the A/D converter) could not roll off steeply enough, so there would be a slight attenuation within the audible range of harmonics. Lowpass filters are better now.

Re:What's all this "purity of vinyl" crap? (1)

msauve (701917) | about a year and a half ago | (#41938001)

It's not so much better filters, but that all (?) professional production is digitized at much higher rates (88.2 KHz +), so more gentle filters can be used for digitizing. From there, everything is done in the digital domain.

Re:What's all this "purity of vinyl" crap? (1)

Nutria (679911) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935551)

Not being a dog, I can't hear those beyond-20KHz 3rd/4th order harmonics so it completely irrelevant that they aren't recorded.

Re:What's all this "purity of vinyl" crap? (2)

CRCulver (715279) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935767)

While only dogs can hear the tones themselves, the beats [wikipedia.org] produced by those high-frequency sounds against lower--frequency sounds are audible to humans. Besides simply providing a feeling of fullness to music one hears in a hall that may seem missing from a recording, the concept has even been used to musical effect. For example, there's a dramatic passage in Per Norgard's Symphony No. 5 where one of the percussionists is instructed to blow through a pair of dog whistles, challenging the pure intonation of the strings.

Re:What's all this "purity of vinyl" crap? (1)

thestuckmud (955767) | about a year and a half ago | (#41936095)

And those beats (the mixing products that exist below the sampling frequency) will be captured on the digital recording. There are also high frequency product at the sum of the original frequencies which will be lost, but even dogs won't hear them.

Re:What's all this "purity of vinyl" crap? (1)

CRCulver (715279) | about a year and a half ago | (#41936169)

Difference tones are a psychoacoustic phenomenon. They have no physical reality that can be captured on a recording. Only if the playback equipment is able to produce the original two frequencies will listeners hear them.

Re:What's all this "purity of vinyl" crap? (2)

amorsen (7485) | about a year and a half ago | (#41936369)

Surely if the ear cannot hear the original two frequencies, it won't be able to hear the difference tone if it is a psychoacoustic phenomenon? And then it doesn't matter that the equipment cannot record or play back those frequencies.

Re:What's all this "purity of vinyl" crap? (1)

thestuckmud (955767) | about a year and a half ago | (#41937327)

Wrong. The phenomenon is real -- physical, not phycho-acoustic. It is the pressure-wave analog of a radio heterodyne [wikipedia.org] .

Re:What's all this "purity of vinyl" crap? (1)

thestuckmud (955767) | about a year and a half ago | (#41938911)

I take that back. Heterodyne is non-linear phenomenon (multiplication of signals, rather than addition). If dog whistle beats are audible, the explanation is different.

Re:What's all this "purity of vinyl" crap? (1)

OneAhead (1495535) | about a year and a half ago | (#41937917)

Nope, these beats are a physical phenomenon that occurs whenever two waves travel through the same medium. Its mathematical description is very simple and it's commonly taught in Physics 101 classes.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beat_(acoustics) [wikipedia.org]
I think you're confused with binaural beats, where the brain essentially simulates the interference between two tones that are not traveling through the same medium (assuming headphones are being used). Now, if you can demonstrate audible binaural beats between two ultrasonic frequencies under controlled, scientifically sound, double-blind circumstances, then you have a point. And a paper in Nature/Science.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binaural_beats [wikipedia.org]

Yes and digital recordings capture that (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about a year and a half ago | (#41937851)

The beats are actually producing a lower frequency sound, hence why you can hear it. A band limited system has no problems capturing it.

It turns out that really, digital sampling does the trick. All the arguments people come up with against it come from not understanding how it works, and not understanding how human hearing works.

So yes, if you create an interference pattern between two high frequency waves the results is a lower frequency wave, one that is quite real. As such when it applies to acoustics and sampling, one that will be recorded, if it is within the pass band of the system.

Re:What's all this "purity of vinyl" crap? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41938255)

Except for the fact that it only records frequencies up to 22.05 KHz which drop most all 3rd/4th order harmonics from many instruments.

(a) as others have pointed out, 3rd/4th order harmonics from almost all instruments should be preserved at 22.05 kHz

(b) Vinyl doesn't reliably reproduce high frequencies anyways! Typical vinyl recordings had everything above ~15 kHz rolled off. The mastering gear which cut master blanks often couldn't handle higher frequencies, and standard playback equipment couldn't have reproduced those frequencies if they were present anyways.

Even below the typical mastering process cutoff, vinyl SNR suffers at high frequencies due to the RIAA equalization curve. The reason for the curve is that you can't cut full amplitude HF into a record. It won't play back because needle mass is too high to track large amplitude high frequency grooves properly. The solution applied by the industry was to attenuate high frequencies during mastering, then apply the inverse function in the preamp during playback. The RIAA came up with a standard for this attenuation curve, hence "RIAA equalization curve". (Since analog gear is imperfect at best there was no way to guarantee that mastering and playback gear all had identical curves, so it also introduces a significant source of non-flat frequency response. And as I said, it hurts HF SNR.)

The mythology that an "analog" format implies "infinite bandwidth" really needs to die off. It is entirely a product of non-engineers talking out of their asses. Real analog systems have bandwidth and signal-to-noise ratio limits, and 16/44 digital actually has much better bandwidth and SNR than vinyl.

Don't you guys even know that before CDs, real audiophiles lusted after tape? I'm not talking cassette tape, mind you, but reel-to-reel. R2R tape didn't have infinite bandwidth either, but it had much better highs and lows than vinyl, without any of the shitty surface noise vinyl is plagued with (hiss, crackle, pop). This modern fetishization of vinyl records as a better / more noble format which has been left behind is ridiculous. LPs were popular only due to R2R tape being expensive and impractical for consumers to use, not because LP was even close to being technically superior. CD beat both on all fronts -- technical audio quality, cost of manufacturing, and convenience.

Re:What's all this "purity of vinyl" crap? (2, Informative)

msauve (701917) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935329)

DDD audio CDs are the purist [sic] sound because there's no possible tape hiss or snap/crackle/degradation of needle on vinyl.

And here I always thought the purest sound was live music.

Re:What's all this "purity of vinyl" crap? (3, Informative)

NardoPolo88 (1417637) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935337)

http://www.npr.org/2009/12/31/122114058/the-loudness-wars-why-music-sounds-worse?sc=nl&cc=mn-20100102 [npr.org]

It's not that it's more pure. It's that vinyl is usually mastered correctly and thus sounds better.

Re:What's all this "purity of vinyl" crap? (1)

Nutria (679911) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935485)

Only *recently* has digital music been crappily mastered.

There's a reason that classical music fans flocked to CDs (note that I wrote CD, not MP3) in the 1980s.

Re:What's all this "purity of vinyl" crap? (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935371)

The problem is people have an emotional attachment to particular failure modes. Maybe their mom played it while breastfeeding them, or daddy put that record on before beating them. Whatever the reason, people prefer "comfortable" failure modes, and reverb is a failure mode, as is most everything else described as "warm" or that's hard to imitate/recreate with digital.

Re:What's all this "purity of vinyl" crap? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935789)

It's not failure mode if it's intentional.

Re:What's all this "purity of vinyl" crap? (1)

AK Marc (707885) | about a year and a half ago | (#41938107)

It only became "intentional" after the first unintentional failure and someone said "cool, lets do that again." That, and your logic asserts that a crashed car is not damaged if the crash test was intentional. That doesn't hold up. Causing a failure mode for fun still causes a failure, even if intentional.

Re:What's all this "purity of vinyl" crap? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41935439)

I believe a serious problem with some CDs are the insane filters sometimes used during the DDD mastering process that completely wreck the quality of the perfectly reproduced data.

There were some recent tracks I got which are solid blocks of clipping on my oscilloscope that just made me weep to play back (Radioactive from Imagine Dragons, for example), which if they had been processed on analog equipment might not have been mangled quite as horrifically by the sound engineers' decisions.

The probably impossible-to-hear 96KHz and 192bit recording techniques give a bit more room for addition and manipulation under DDD that's really welcome if you're doing sound processing, but are also indistinguishable by double blinded listening techniques by human volunteers. However, damaged data is pretty obvious, and at the end of the day, its a question of what comes out of the speaker for the listener's ear to experience.

(I think that it may be more of a correlation between styles of audio mastering than the exact capabilities of the media, but there are probably as many opinions around as there are audio playback devices.)

I confess, I do recording on digital and analog media on occasion (I prefer digital), but I've had mixed results with both media types depending on the equipment and setups used. (Posting anon since I'm at the office, everyone reads /. here, but no one knows I'm a musician!)

so complain to the band! (1)

Chirs (87576) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935799)

There are still artists/engineers that master things properly.

Re:so complain to the band! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41936039)

Luckily, yes. Here's to the few and competent, who should be credited for their good work, but are often overlooked.

Re:What's all this "purity of vinyl" crap? (1)

Baloroth (2370816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935453)

Not exactly. Audio CDs are fundamentally digital, which means that you are representing a smooth curve with a (non-infinite) series of square blocks. It'll never be perfect no matter what you do. The only sound you can record digitally with perfection is from a digital source... which you will note is typically looked down on in most kinds of music (at least, most music that you would consider listening to on vinyl), and for good reason. Music is almost always fundamentally analog, so recording it using an analog technique makes a lot of sense, from a purist point of view.

Re:What's all this "purity of vinyl" crap? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41935587)

This is total bullcrap - all of it. Look up the Nyquist sampling theorem.

It's also bullcrap that music from digital sources is "typically looked down on in most kinds of music". This is the 21st century. We have technology to make sound using a massive variety of mediums. Tool elitism, including the notion that there is something inherently inferior with digital production is bigotry, plain and simple. Oscar Peterson - a famous _acoustic_ jazz musician is has a famous speech where he addresses this and calls electro-haters bigots, plain and simple, because that's what they are.

Re:What's all this "purity of vinyl" crap? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41936035)

This is total bullcrap - all of it. Look up the Nyquist sampling theorem.

I first read that as NyQuil. Coincidentally, reading the theorem is an effective sleep aid.

Re:What's all this "purity of vinyl" crap? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41935591)

even if an instrument plays *PURE SQUARE WAVES* (ignoring for now the fact that this is physically IMPOSSIBLE for various reasons) and therefore has INFINITE HARMONIC CONTENT, your ear would still hear the same thing whether it was a recording of that instrument on CD the live instrument.

Re:What's all this "purity of vinyl" crap? (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935715)

" (at least, most music that you would consider listening to on vinyl)"
you mean music the really pops?

vinyl - Scratching and popping before hip hop.
heh

Re:What's all this "purity of vinyl" crap? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41935717)

Ok, turn in your geek card.

The rest of us know there are no inherent "square blocks" -- there's just samples, and only the shittiest playback equipment would reconstruct the waveform with a zero-order circuit. At the very least there's an RC low-pass filter there; could be something even better like polynomial interpolation. This is not to make it sound better, for realistic parameters (since harmonics of 44.1kHz are beyond hearing anyway), but because the instant transitions contain extra energy that shouldn't be there. If you filter that energy, you don't have to worry about your speakers handling it.

Complain about clock jitter or something -- about ways in which the sampling/reconstruction model doesn't match reality. Talking about "square blocks" only reveals you have essentially a middle-school education about digital sound.

Re:What's all this "purity of vinyl" crap? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41936713)

Fundamentally, all media and transmission methods will have finite usable bandwidth. The fact that vinyl is smooth versus digital's "square blocks" doesn't change that neither is an infinite series of harmonics from the original recording.

Re:What's all this "purity of vinyl" crap? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41936879)

Music is almost always fundamentally analog, so recording it using an analog technique makes a lot of sense, from a purist point of view.

You know, I agree with you. I'm sure that to a purist that believes your argument, your logic does make a lot of sense!

Re:What's all this "purity of vinyl" crap? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41936785)

It's simply math, really. And it ain't all about the frequencies, man.

There are only 65536 unique "audio levels" in a 16-bit digital CD.
With a needle on a record (or a play head on a tape deck) there's "infinite" number of levels! You're missing out on all this SWEET in-between levels!

That makes it INFINITELY better quality, dude! (takes a hit off the one-hitter, as the blood flow constricts his eardrums to mask any notable differences between the two).

Re:What's all this "purity of vinyl" crap? (1)

OneAhead (1495535) | about a year and a half ago | (#41938393)

You're probably trolling, but just in case you aren't. Talking about math, are you familiar with the concept "standard error"? Because the standard error on the "level" on a real-life vinyl record is far greater than the difference between two of your 65536 audio levels. Hell, you'll probably lose a level here and there every time you play back the record. And that's just one problem with vinyl. There are inherent issues with low frequencies, and many more. There's a nice long list:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vinyl_record#Shortcomings [wikipedia.org]

Anyhow, to put the original point differently, CDs have a greater dynamic range than the maximum real-life signal-to-noise ratio of vinyl records. If there's a problem with a CD's dynamic range, it's because it's mastered so that only a tiny fraction of the available dynamic range is used; see "loudness wars".

make a sound that reverberates world wide (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41935211)

http://interoccupy.net/blog/tag/action/

I hate to say it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41935367)

But I can't tell any difference. I mean, that means he built it really well. But it also means it's pointless...

Room Reverb (3, Informative)

djbckr (673156) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935377)

I worked in a recording studio that had a nice, large, live room - no parallel walls (including the ceiling/floor). Very often we would use that room as the reverb in our mixdowns. A single high-end speaker in one end and a couple of nice mics on the other was the sweetest reverb you could get. If you have a good sized garage that is "bouncy", you can get a nice short verb out of that.

Re:Room Reverb (2)

mrjb (547783) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935573)

If you have a good sized garage that is "bouncy", you can get a nice short verb out of that.

Yes, you can, but since you don't have control over the positioning of the walls, they'll be likely to be parallel and thus cause standing waves, which will sound pretty nasty in reverb. To counter that, it helps to randomly scatter the sound waves. Given the choice, a garage with a car parked in it will probably sound better than an empty one. Most impressive live reverb I ever heard in my life was an underground parking lot. I made a point out of slamming my car door shut with the windows open, just to enjoy the sound and long tail of it. Probably useless for most recordings. But man what a sound it was. 12-storey stairwell in my apartment building wasn't bad either... I liked playing acoustic guitar in there quite a lot. Always wondered if occasional passers-by thought I was mad though.

Re:Room Reverb (1)

diffserv (2771277) | about a year and a half ago | (#41936949)

you don't have typical "standing waves" in large acoustical spaces whose volume supports a statistically random-incidence reverberant sound-field - vs that of small acoustical spaces that do not have "reverb". people use "reverb" as slang for specular room decay ... but it's not "reverb" in the acoustical sense of the term.

Re:Room Reverb (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year and a half ago | (#41939509)

One night I was walking on Pacific ave. in Santa Cruz not very long after the '89 quake and there was this dude playing sax in a doorway or maybe window of the shell of the old bank building, whose insides had been demolished. It sounded really amazing. And to bring geek interest into the story, the building was later re-remodeled into retail plus office space and the upstairs became the office of TGV, which was later purchased by Cisco. That's where TGV went to die, and it's where Cisco did their DOCSIS 1.0 cable modem firmware development (which became the reference design for a handful of other companies' modems.)

plate, spring, digital, whatever (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41935409)

I've been a recording engineer for many decades. The notion that plate reverbs are "the purest type" is laughable. Typical internet product-mojo hogwash.

Plate reverbs have a very distinct sound, as do spring reverbs. If a plate reverb sound is desired for a project, it's perfectly reasonable for a 'purist" to prefer a REAL plate to a digitally modeled plate. No issue with that.

Digital (DSP) acoustic reverb modeling has been in use since the 80's with Yamaha's and Lexicon's units paving the way. Its emulation of real acoustic environments sounded astonishing back then, and 25 years later it sounds even more astonishing. Purist should probably consider how they are using reverb, not so much how it is generated. But if you have more money than brains, fill your boots.

I was at Warner's (3, Informative)

doginthewoods (668559) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935445)

And they had 5 of the Ecoplate monsters. They have a sound all to their own - bigger, fuller, warmer, with more depth, that couldn't be duplicated any other way, and Warners had about every type of reverb at the studio. You have to sit in a control room, listening through great monitors like Westlakes, to hear what they do to vocals and drums. For voice, a good C12 and an Ecoplate will put a S$^t eatin' grin on any engineer's face.

Nice. Digital samples processed through analog (2)

objekt (232270) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935461)

Nice. Digital samples processed through analog reverb and digitized again.

Analog is SO MUCH better than sucky digital.

Phil Spector (3, Informative)

edelbrp (62429) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935515)

had a technique where he would pipe the audio from the recording studio down to a basement where loudspeakers played the audio and picked it back up on microphones and back to the control room. I always thought that it would be fun to try if I had access to a large warehouse or something.

Re:Phil Spector (5, Funny)

Nkwe (604125) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935803)

had a technique where he would pipe the audio from the recording studio down to a basement where loudspeakers played the audio and picked it back up on microphones and back to the control room.

In college I worked at a mufti-purpose coliseum. The building could be a basketball arena or by dropping in curtains at one end a large theater. Behind the curtains were big speakers. An analog audio processing system was used to make the walls sound "solid" - this was before digital processing was popular. Part of the analog audio processing was this oddly shaped room with a speaker at one end, a microphone at the other, and zig-zag baffles in between. The room acted as a delay and echo chamber. It worked great with one exception. The architects put the bathrooms right over the echo chamber...

Re:Phil Spector (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41939445)

That was Beasley Coliseum [wikipedia.com] .

Re:Phil Spector (1)

blade8086 (183911) | about a year and a half ago | (#41939161)

Couldn't find a reference - but I know for a fact that I read an interview about how portishead would generate drum tracks via their sampler,
cut them to a vinyl cutter, and then resample them again to get a record like sound (dont recall if record sounding plugins were around then - but it's the kind of thing you'd just want to do anyway if you had the means & the time )

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portishead_%28album%29

Re:Phil Spector (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41939431)

That was Gold Star Studios [wikipedia.com] .

another inappropriate use of the word REVERB (3, Interesting)

diffserv (2771277) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935519)

somewhere along the lines of history, they added the 'reverb' knob to amps - and from there, people seemed to think any form of DECAY is REVERB.

it is not, although many use it as slang. but most do not appear to understand the true definition of REVERB and thus REVERBERANT SOUND-FIELD, and the volume requirements required to support such energy flows.

a reverberant sound-field is one where the energy flows are statistically equal and probable in every direction. one cannot resolve an indirect specular reflection's gain, time arrival (with respect to the direct signal), and vector (direction). the energy is "well-mixed".

and the bounded acoustical space's volume required to support such a reverberant sound-field at a given frequency is dictated by Dr. Manfred Schroeders work in this field - and also his FsubL equation.

without the existence of a statistically "random-incidence" "diffuse-field", you do not have "reverb".

people seem to imply any form of signal decay or acoustical decay of a bounded space as being "reverb". this is entirely incorrect. in small acoustical spaces that lack the volume to support a reverberant sound-field at a given frequency, we instead of focused specular reflections and modal issues - all local areas of variable pressure with respect to the ambient noise floor. what reverberation that DOES exist is above our hearing range and below the ambient noise floor. this is also why you do not have a critical-distance (Dc) of which the reverberant sound-field becomes louder in gain than the direct signal. this is also why RTxx (RT60) calculations and Sabine's equations are entirely irrelevant unless one is within a Large Acoustical Space.

and now with Plate Reverbs or any other "FX" knob that applies a form of decay to a signal ... the propagation of incorrect use (eg, hijacking) of the term REVERB continues.



http://www.hometheatershack.com/forums/home-audio-acoustics/12027-appropriate-replacement-rt60s-sas.html [hometheatershack.com]

Re:another inappropriate use of the word REVERB (2)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935695)

Dr. Manfred Schroeders work was about how to measure reverb. Specifically energy and not power.

THAT allowed for excellent mimicking of reverb through artificial means.

"Sabine's equations are entirely irrelevant unless one is within a Large Acoustical Space."
Wrong. depends on absorption rate. Try eliminating all reverb form a small marble room.

Once again someone from hometheatershack is very close to being correct, yet still managed to fumble the ball.

Re:another inappropriate use of the word REVERB (1)

diffserv (2771277) | about a year and a half ago | (#41936987)

"Wrong. depends on absorption rate. Try eliminating all reverb form a small marble room."

sorry but this is incorrect.

i can resolve an indirect specular reflection, flutter echo, etc in a highly reflective small acoustical space ("marble room") via the ETC. this is not possible in a "reverberant sound-field". just because a room has long decay times does NOT imply those energy flows are statistical.

show me a measurement where you are well past Dc in a small "marble room". i'll wait.



"Dr. Manfred Schroeders work was about how to measure reverb. Specifically energy and not power." so you're implying Schroeder was not responsible for FsubL?

Re:another inappropriate use of the word REVERB (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41937211)

I wanted to read your post, but I can't get past the fact that YOU DIDN'T USE CAPITALIZATION PROPERLY!

So, bc;dr (or alternatively bg;dr)

Re:another inappropriate use of the word REVERB (1)

blade8086 (183911) | about a year and a half ago | (#41939177)

Right ... the 'hijack' continues..

Because noone ever used the term 'reverberations' generically prior to Herr Doktor Krauty Von Krout Krout's Tseminal Tsientifische MeisterWerken or before recording itself existed.

Re:another inappropriate use of the word REVERB (1)

diffserv (2771277) | about a year and a half ago | (#41939375)

never mind the fact that in acoustics, words have meaning (read: ACTUAL acoustical behavior)

purist? hardly (1)

geekoid (135745) | about a year and a half ago | (#41935541)

". But what if you're the sort of purist who prefers the analog sound of vinyl records to the digital sound of MP3s or CDs?
that's 'hipster' not 'purist'.

Re:purist? hardly (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41936007)

yeah, a true purist wouldn't use a plate reverb but would instead build an actual room with the acoustics he/she wants. this guy is more like an "analogist"...

make your own... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#41935893)

metal plates connected together with springs and a simple lever to increase or decrease the tension between plates, place this device in front of speaker and run your audio in thru another mike in front of said device, you get that OLD fender telecaster kind of twangy pure analog reverb

Re:make your own... (1)

Farmer Tim (530755) | about a year and a half ago | (#41939109)

This [analoguehaven.com] is a modern reverb spring module, but it's essentially the same as the original George Hammond design which was used by Fender (and, of course, in Hammond organs)...note the driver and pickup coils at the ends of the spring assembly.

Reverb springs in guitar amps never used acoustic coupling for two reasons: first, putting a microphone inside the same cabinet as the speaker it's feeding is obviously a bad idea; second, the SPL required to excite the spring is so much higher than the spring itself can produce (2nd law of thermodynamics on top of very lossy coupling) that any reverb signal is swamped by the direct sound from the speaker, with the result that you're mostly mixing in the speaker's frequency and phase response and screwing up your EQ settings according to how high you crank the reverb return level. It'd sound awful, not anything like the classic guitar spring reverb.

Plates is cool (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year and a half ago | (#41936227)

If you go to the UofC's computer music lab, you'll find a plate reverb that I built in the 1980s. I've got a spring reverb from a trashed Fender amp from the 60's and even a chamber reverb that I built in an unused shower in the basement bathroom here at the house.

I especially love the reverbs based on solid media. I did music way back when that used the harp from an upright grand piano as the reverb medium. It was only adjustable in the crudest way, but there was something about the different string thicknesses that gave it a very nice, complex texture.

Nowadays? As much as I'd like to say "The old ways were the best", convolution and synthesized reverbs have absolutely surpassed the old stuff. (though I've got an old bucket brigade analog delay that has a wild sound that I cannot replicate with the newer technologies).

Re:Plates is cool (1)

hguorbray (967940) | about a year and a half ago | (#41936843)

yea, my old progrock band Netherworld www.netherworldmusic.com recorded our only album in 1982 with a gorgeous EMT plate reverb, but even then lexicon and others were coming out with digital reverbs and as you say, the convolution reverbs that you hear on bands like Fleet Foxes and Grizzly Bear are absolutely amazing.

The big limitation of the plate and other physical reverbs were, that apart from a little control over pre-reverb delay and the decay and tone the 'size' of the reverb was basically fixed. Nowadays I can change dozens of parameters and get a room size/sound that really fits the mood of the instrument I am mixing.

Excellent digital effects are one of the reasons that concert sound is so incredible these days (and half the time it's all being done on a Powerbook with Protools or VST plugins)

-I'm just sayin'

Silophone (3, Interesting)

Beorytis (1014777) | about a year and a half ago | (#41936851)

For free, you can send your sounds into a grain silo in Quebec for reverberation: http://www.silophone.net/ [silophone.net] Unfortunately, this project is so old it uses RealAudio.

Re:Silophone (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about a year and a half ago | (#41937059)

Ha, I go past there every day on my way to work. I always wondered why they don't tear it down. Now I know it's at least being put to better use than most of the other eyesores.

I made a spring reverb (1)

gr8_phk (621180) | about a year and a half ago | (#41936995)

In high school. I didn't even have a spring, so I wrapped a piece of wire tightly around a pencil and then slid it off the end. Put this between two pieces of plastic at the ends of a cardboard tube (section of wrapping paper tube). Glued a little 3" speaker to one end and a mic the other. Played some sound through it. It sounded like total crap - as if someone was talking / playing music in a garbage can. But reverberate it did. So the lesson was that it's easy, but as expected using quality components is important. And given that "quality" is going to be difficult to specify, one should probably do this all digitally where it's easy to make changes.

How About Reverbing /. Postings? (1)

rueger (210566) | about a year and a half ago | (#41937601)

Anyone else note "although his biggest piece of advice for you (at the end of the video) " in the original post, and wonder where in hell the video is located?
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