VENDOR Reverse Reverb

Jack DeVille

Member
Messages
2,438
Serious question:

How does "Reverse Reverb" work?

I have received countless requests for a "reverse reverb" pedal, and my reply has always been: "Reverb does not happen backwards. Please explain to me how that works and I will do my best to create it."

So I ask you all here: how does reverse reverb work? Simply playing a reverberated signal backwards or is there more to it?

Help me to undertand this odd, continual request.

Also, mods: did I screw up the "Vendor" prefix? Can you help me with this?
 

chandra

Member
Messages
1,593
I don’t think there’s any set-in-stone way to make a reverse reverb. In fact, every single reverse verb (and most reverse delay) algo’s that I’ve used are all noticeably different.

From what I understand though, most reverse will sample the decaying notes and quickly play it back, usually with a hall (or maybe a dark plate?) reverb that takes over the mix. If it’s 100% wet, it just sounds really loud. Around 50-ish % seems to work alright.

I do imagine that perhaps a “Smooth Delay” like what was on the DD20, but with a reverse delay on the repeats instead of a natural decay, with a wetter percentage of reverb could make a reverse reverb?

I’ve used Boss, Zoom, EHX, Digitech, Alesis, some VSTs. They all sound different from each other. I would love a “standard” reverse reverb pedal that can cop all the different reverse verbs (and delays) that have come out over the last few decades.
 

coltonius

Señor Member
Messages
13,273
Instead of the decay going loud to quiet, it goes quiet to loud
I like to imagine it as sound waves bouncing around in a glass jar before finding their way out into an open room. A crescendo of reverberation!
 

Dr. Tinnitus

Member
Messages
2,845
I think the main aspect of both reverse reverb and delay is the blooming effect of the sound getting bigger. I can't help from a technical standpoint, but I've seen other forums that get pretty deep with reverse stuff, usually referring to Kevin Shields and MBV.
 

Laurence

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
8,307
I'm sure this is understood, but just in case...In the old days you would track a guitar or vocal or whatever, flip the tape over backwards, run reverb through the loop and record it onto another track. Flip the tape over again to 'normal' and bring up both tracks. One has the reverb running before the dry signal (vocals on Whole Lotta Love) and the other is 'normal' unless you mess with it.

I have no idea how to engineer this into a pedal.
 

rsmith601

Vendor
Messages
6,295
Unlike a reverse delay, where the repeat is simply played backwards, the pedal-based reverse reverb is a psychoacoustic effect where nothing is actual going backwards, but it sort of sounds that way. MBV is the most commonly identified material to consider, but I have heard that some sounds were not created real time, so who knows.

Here is an example of reverse reverb:


It is not an easy sound to create. Many of the reverbs in Ventris could be lumped into a common "program" along with some others. However, the Reverse needs 100% of the DSP processor, because it is computationally demanding and not based on anything else in there.
 

Jack DeVille

Member
Messages
2,438
Instead of the decay going loud to quiet, it goes quiet to loud
And then "decays" to...?
This is a major part that I just do not undertand. "Normal" reverb converges to null/zero amplitude.
My overly logical approach/understanding suggests that reverse would converge to infinite amplitude? Unless there is a defined "length" of the tail?

I'm not being a smart-ass. I literally do not understand.

I suppose the immediate/obvious solution is to run "normal/forward" reverb into a reverse delay with a predefined sample length (i.e. constant time duration)? That would make it go from quiet to loud, right?
 
Messages
27
Laurence, what you're describing is called "preverb" and it's a very eery cool effect! Not sure how you'd make a pedal add reverb to something BEFORE you play it though o_O:eek:. That said I did have an old Alesis microverb that had a backwards reverb setting. The reverb would swell up and then end abruptly (because it was reversed). The novelty wore off pretty quick...
 

tedm

Member
Messages
7,272
That Ventris sounds awesome. Pretty sure my Alesis microverb reverse does the reverse delay (short), but I'll double check on that next time recording.
 

Jack DeVille

Member
Messages
2,438
Laurence, what you're describing is called "preverb" and it's a very eery cool effect! Not sure how you'd make a pedal add reverb to something BEFORE you play it though o_O:eek:. That said I did have an old Alesis microverb that had a backwards reverb setting. The reverb would swell up and then end abruptly (because it was reversed). The novelty wore off pretty quick...
Yes!

This is part of what is confusing to me.
I can easily see how to create "reverse reverb" with digital recording software, but in pedal format/real-time?

I suppose simply running a reverb into a reverse delay would be the closest approximation I can imagine, however due to my understanding of time I cannot see how this could be possible without limiting the sample period to be played backwards, and as such requiring that period to elapse before playback begins. I hope that makes sense?

I appreciate the contributions to this question. I just do not understand this particular effect.
 
Messages
1,146
Jack DeVille I am a non-musical hack but perhaps I can help.

True reverse reverb is recording a signal then playing the tape/track backwards and adding the reverb. Then playing that tape forward again.

You cannot really do it in real time.

Besides the studio tricks in the 50s through now, reverse reverb is most easily categorized as what My Bloody Valentine did on Loveless. That was mostly a gated reverb but the idea (for most people who want a reverse reverb sound) holds true. It is a sound that builds. My Bloody Valentine used excessive fuzz and distortion to hide the imperfection of trying to recreate a reverse tape recorded with reverb and played back again. There will always be lag.

Where reverse reverb shines is with changes in vibrato. That is what My Bloody Valentine brought to the table. You can create a sound you shouldn't be able to create. The notes go in and out of pitch as a swell.

What people are asking you to create is a pedal with the Yamaha Spx90 algorithm or your take on it.

Do a quick search of My Bloody Valentine Reverse Reverb and you will get to where Kevin Shields describes how the sound came to be.

Best of luck.
 

Jack DeVille

Member
Messages
2,438
Jack DeVille I am a non-musical hack but perhaps I can help.

True reverse reverb is recording a signal then playing the tape/track backwards and adding the reverb. Then playing that tape forward again.

You cannot really do it in real time.

Besides the studio tricks in the 50s through now, reverse reverb is most easily categorized as what My Bloody Valentine did on Loveless. That was mostly a gated reverb but the idea (for most people who want a reverse reverb sound) holds true. It is a sound that builds. My Bloody Valentine used excessive fuzz and distortion to hide the imperfection of trying to recreate a reverse tape recorded with reverb and played back again. There will always be lag.

Where reverse reverb shines is with changes in vibrato. That is what My Bloody Valentine brought to the table. You can create a sound you shouldn't be able to create. The notes go in and out of pitch as a swell.

What people are asking you to create is a pedal with the Yamaha Spx90 algorithm or your take on it.

Do a quick search of My Bloody Valentine Reverse Reverb and you will get to where Kevin Shields describes how the sound came to be.

Best of luck.
So reverb applied to a sample played backwards, then the combination (original sample played backward with reverb added) played backward again thus making the original sample normal/forward with the applied reverb reversed?
Did I undertand that correctly?
 
Messages
500
Does reverse-engineering help at all with a problem like this? I've used a few reverse reverb effects in pedal format: the EHX Cathedral, the EHX Holy Grail Max, and now as one of the 3 settings on the Keeley Realizer. the decay on the Realizer is so short that I haven't really found a use for that setting yet, but both of those EHX pedals do a great job, might be worth looking at what they did, and if there are better or more interesting ways to achieve the effect. I have the Max on my board for this purpose, as it just takes up less space than the Cathedral. I find various Youtube vids of people trying to recreate various MBV songs to be helpful at times too. the 'Soft Focus' interview that Ian Svenonius did with Kevin Shields is worth watching too. it doesn't get very technical but he gives a decent description of what he uses the effect for - which is the dry signal at full volume right off the bat followed by a sort of backwards-blooming 'whoosh' of the effected tail rushing back in while he's slightly adjusting the tremolo bar, causing all kinds of fun-undulation. or fundulation, if you will.

I seem to lack any ability to not buy this effect so if you make one I will likely see myself as having little choice but to buy one...
 

Jack DeVille

Member
Messages
2,438
Does reverse-engineering help at all with a problem like this? I've used a few reverse reverb effects in pedal format: the EHX Cathedral, the EHX Holy Grail Max, and now as one of the 3 settings on the Keeley Realizer. the decay on the Realizer is so short that I haven't really found a use for that setting yet, but both of those EHX pedals do a great job, might be worth looking at what they did, and if there are better or more interesting ways to achieve the effect. I have the Max on my board for this purpose, as it just takes up less space than the Cathedral. I find various Youtube vids of people trying to recreate various MBV songs to be helpful at times too. the 'Soft Focus' interview that Ian Svenonius did with Kevin Shields is worth watching too. it doesn't get very technical but he gives a decent description of what he uses the effect for - which is the dry signal at full volume right off the bat followed by a sort of backwards-blooming 'whoosh' of the effected tail rushing back in while he's slightly adjusting the tremolo bar, causing all kinds of fun-undulation. or fundulation, if you will.

I seem to lack any ability to not buy this effect so if you make one I will likely see myself as having little choice but to buy one...
Mmm...
Reverse engineering isn't really my style. ;)

Similarly, I believe all the effects mentioned above require the appropriate firmware/algorithms to support the hardware, neither of which I struggle with.

I am more interested in learning how "reverse reverb" works than others' realizations of the process.

Thanks for the suggestion nonetheless.
 

misa

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,601
This from the Alesis Quadraverb manual:
“The Reverse program is an inverted reverb program in which the volume envelope is reversed. This means that the signal begins softly but grows louder until it is cut off, rather than loud to soft as in the Gate program. The Reverse program is extremely programmable and can be used for some great special effects.”

A few sections down is almost a full page of Gate setting explanations that may also be helpful. The PDF manual is available freely online and you can pick up a unit for around $100.
 

JPH118

Member
Messages
3,057
Besides the studio tricks in the 50s through now, reverse reverb is most easily categorized as what My Bloody Valentine did on Loveless. That was mostly a gated reverb but the idea (for most people who want a reverse reverb sound) holds true. It is a sound that builds.
This, combined with a swell or “backward” effect like the Boss Slow Gear is what I would consider reverse reverb like we used to do with tape in the recording studio. I’m not sure there’s a reverb pedal with a gated setting, but it would sound pretty unique combined with the swell.
 

AXXA

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,015
And then "decays" to...?
This is a major part that I just do not undertand. "Normal" reverb converges to null/zero amplitude.
My overly logical approach/understanding suggests that reverse would converge to infinite amplitude? Unless there is a defined "length" of the tail?

I'm not being a smart-ass. I literally do not understand.

I suppose the immediate/obvious solution is to run "normal/forward" reverb into a reverse delay with a predefined sample length (i.e. constant time duration)? That would make it go from quiet to loud, right?
It goes from quiet to loud and then is abruptly cut off. You ideally set the duration with a decay knob
 




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