We all know the phenomenon that’s reverberation and have experienced it, albeit not consciously. But what is a plate reverb and where have been used? Before we dive into plate reverb, I want to talk about, more about reverb basics.
Reverberation is that the sum of all sound reflections that happen during an area or space when a sound is produced. that’s what gives us the perception of the space, and also “imprints” the sound signature of that space within the perceived sound.
That’s an inescapable phenomena, which we’ll experience it albeit we don’t want to. Although most of the time it’s an honest thing to possess , and contributes to giving life and dimension to the sound, that’s not the case once we would like to record something.
Usually, studios have controlled acoustics in their recording rooms, still allowing some reflections but not enough to possess an enormous influence on the audio and its original spectrum. Great efforts are taken to treat the space acoustics to form sure this.
Some ambience is usually added afterward, though. That’s where artificial reverb units are available handy. Today, we’ve many devices with sophisticated techniques and algorithms to breed the acoustics of any room and space we might like . However, it wasn’t always like that. within the past, engineers had to point out to the mechanical properties of springs and massive steel plates to form some artificial ambience for the sound. That “ambience” didn’t aim to breed any quite natural room or space sound signature; it had been there just to feature liveliness and dimension to the sound.
So instead of reproducing any quite natural acoustic reverberation, they created their own “sound signature reverberation.” These sounded great to the ears of musicians and listeners, such tons so as that even today, when the accurate emulation of acoustic spaces is possible , we still want those artificial sound signatures in some cases.
What is a Plate Reverb?
Historically, there are two kinds of mechanical reverberation units: Plate and Spring Reverbs.
Plate reverbs are among the foremost used reverb types within the music industry. The German company EMT was the first (and still the foremost important) plate reverb manufacturer. The EMT 140 Reverberation Unit was their first product. It sounded smoother and more natural than the spring reverb, and at the same time didn’t demand an obsessive space, a bit like the echo chamber.
As is implied by the name, plates are metal sheets (usually of relatively large dimensions) that are hanging in cases, suspended during how that allows the plate to vibrate well.
The plate is happy by a symbol it gets from a transducer, then vibrates according to that signal. The vibrations are captured elsewhere within the plate by two contact microphones, creating a stereo reverberation effect.
The reverberation we get from a plate isn’t the same as what an acoustic environment provides, although it sounds closer to natural reverberation than a spring reverb. But it does add density and ambience to the sound; which , in conjunction with the impracticality of getting a physical “echo chamber”, made plate reverbs the kings of the studio until the arrival of digital reverbs.
There are another interesting qualities to plate reverbs though. Overall, we’ll classify the plate reverb sound as “dense” and “shiny”.
Where have plate reverbs been used?
Plate reverbs provided a neater method for creating reverberation effects. After their appearance, plates reigned within the studios through the highest of the seventies. Even after digital reverbs began to exchange these units because the favourite reverb devices, they included among their algorithms a plate simulation. This says enough about how the sound of these reverbs imposed itself.
Still, the reverberation we get from a plate isn’t exactly “natural”. The metal sheet is suspended, and flexural vibrations are induced on the plate by the transducer. The dispersive propagation of these vibrations creates a dense reverberation effect with a kind of “shiny” metallic quality.
There are another interesting qualities to plate reverbs. because of the oblong shape of the plate, and since the vibration waves propagate during a circular manner, they are doing not reach the edges of the plate at the same time. But once they are doing this , they’re bounced (reflected) back. because the reverb tails dissolve , the echo density increases. This stage is reached very quickly, then there’ll only be a very dense sound.
Although plate and spring reverbs are now considered “old technology”, they’re still in use today. Plate reverbs are fairly easy to use, and have a characteristic and really personalized sound that grants them their own place among the studio tools.
Plate reverbs are still very fashionable in pop , especially to feature density to vocals, without getting attached to any quite space especially . Drums, especially powerful rock drums, may greatly enjoy an honest plate reverb.
Synth parts, also as guitar parts, also can benefit greatly from the added density of plate reverbs. Bear in mind, though, that tons of synth sounds have already got reverb added to the sound.
Finally, plate reverbs could be great along side an algorithmic reverb, contributing additional density to the sound.