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Monday, April 5, 2010

The Secret Of The Abbey Road Reverb

Through the years we've all listened to many classic albums recorded at EMI's famous Abbey Road studios, from The Beatles and Pink Floyd to Coldplay and Robbie Williams. One of the things that's always been distinctive about those recordings is the sound of the reverb. Here's one of the reasons for how that sound was achieved.

Regardless of whether the reverb was from one of Abbey Road's fine chambers or one of their plates, the secret is in the high and low-pass filters placed on the reverb send. These were set to roll-off everything below 600Hz and above 10kHz, since physical reverb tends to have trouble with low and very high end frequencies. A lot of low end on the verb tends to muddy everything up as well, with no audible benefits.

While there might have been a real necessity to use a bandpass filter set to those frequencies back in the day, rolling off everything below 600Hz and above 10kHz still works well today regardless of what kind of verb that you're using, whether it's a piece of hardware or in-the-box. Be sure to put the filter on the send before it hits the reverb though, since it will sound quite a bit different if placed in the return path (not as good, in my opinion.)

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13 comments:

Endy said...

Thanks for sharing this, Bobby. Will try it on my next project!

Cheers,

Randy said...

In film, dialog mixers often employ a 3k Hz high rolloff for reverb. This allows more volume of reverb before it screws up diction. I have found that this trick works well for vocals sometimes too.

Bobby Owsinski said...

The 3kHz rolloff works great on drum reverb as well.

Anonymous said...

Hi Bobby,
How would I put the filter on the send in Pro Tools ? Or would it be better to use the eq within the reverb plugin itself

Thanks simon

Bobby Owsinski said...

You could use the filters with the reverb plug, but inserting into an insert on the channel with the plug usually sounds better.

Anonymous said...

What decibel slope(s) would one use for the cut offs? 6db, 12db, 24db...

Bobby Owsinski said...

I always use 12dB per octave, but will go to 6dB on the low pass if I move the frequency down below 6k or so.

Anonymous said...

Great, I can't wait to give this a whirl, Will most probably use CSR reverb seems to be my goto verb for the past few months.

Thank you very much for your reply and keep up the good work

Anonymous said...

Tried this trick -- high-pass on reverb now seems to be mandatory thing for me. It adds nice clarity.
Thank you for the information.

Anonymous said...

What is 6db, 12 db in a Q value? My equalizer sgows the Q than db.

Thanks

Bobby Owsinski said...

The Q value is the slope of the filter. It's either 6, 12, 18 or 24dB.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for replying. I thought this will be another blog where the author posts and forgets :)

My EQ shows it in Q and it goes from 0 to 18. Ableton EQ. And if I put a high pass with Q of 6, it just gets pointed up.Any value more than 1 gives kind of weird shape. I just went with .75 and it looks like 6db/octave shape.

Bobby Owsinski said...

We're talking about filters here, not EQ, but if EQ is all you have, set it to shelf at the frequencies specified and just decrease the level. Q = bandwidth of the filter, or how many frequencies it will affect.

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