What Is Reverb - How to Add Reverb Audio Effect

By Cecilia Hwung | Last Update:

As you may know, there are multiple ways to make your shootings stunning and more attractive in post production. Likewise, audio can be fine-tuned with general audio editing software, specific autotune vst plug-ins, music visualizers, etc. To better understand audio editing, there are some terminology that you need to try and get straight first, among which reverb / reverberation is the one we are going to explain here.

Then what is reverb in audio? How to remove or add reverb effect in music? We will guide you through this audio reverb section step by step.

Reverb Definition

What is reverb in audio? Reverberation, abbreviated in reverb, is used to describe both a natural phenomenon in sounding and an audio effect that can be created with devices and software by human. The whole audio reverb thing is based on the truth that when a sound is produced, numerous sound waves are reflected or absorbed by hard/soft surfaces.

The reverb effect in audio varies when the sound is made in space at different size with different objects. Basically, the larger the space, the longer the reverberation time.

Reverb music definition
What is reverb in audio

How to Add Reverb Effect to Audio?

How can I add reverb and other effects to audio output on PC?

If we are talking about how to create reverb effects in any way, you would see an answer including different types of devices, like Chamber reverberator, Plate reverberator, Spring reverberator, etc that can be found in audio effect units and guitar pedals. For those who want to add reverb effect in a vocal recording to make it sound better, digital audio workstations (DAW) and VST plug-ins might be the right way.

#1. Audio reverb pedals

If you need to purchase reverb pedal for guitar or vocal, Boss VE-1 Vocal Echo, Boss RV-6 Reverb, Wampler Ethereal Delay and MXR M300 Reverb Pedal are some good options.

#2. Audio reverb software

Audio editing software like Audacity and Adobe Audition definitely are the top-level ones that can create reverb effect in music. There are some other free VST plug-ins that also can help you, such as MAutoPitch, Ample Guitar M Lite II, Symptohm PE, etc. Check the top ten reverb list here. Also, reverb effect can be made with audio autotune software.

Audio Reverb Settings

There are several settings in audio reverb plug-ins software that you can change to create different reverb effects based on your needs. Here we will take Audacity reverb as an example and explain some main factors.

Reverb settings in Audacity
Audacity reverb setting panel

#1. Decay time

Decay time, also known as reverberation time, is the length of reverb, which varies according to the basic rules: The bigger and emptier the space, the longer the decay time; The smoother the room is, the longer the decay time would be. That is to say, reverb effect would be more distinct in one place than another. For example:

  • Reverb in a hall > office
  • Reverb in an empty room > room with furnitures
  • Reverb in a barren mountain > mountain with trees

#2. Predelay

Predelay is the time distance between direct sound (dry out) and the early-reflected sounds. The larger the space, the longer the predelay. If you want to pretend that you are singing in a large or open space, although you actually recording in a small room, turn up the Predelay value.

#3. Wet out

Wet out stands for the strength of reverb, which has nothing to do with the room size. Instead, wet out is affected by the number and texture of the objects in the room. The more the objects, and the softer the surface of the objects in the room, the lighter the reverb effect.

Difference between Reverb and Echo

Some people are confused about the difference between reverb and echo, since both are reflections and convolutions of sound wave. Then what are the differences? To make it easier to understand, let's see the following two examples first:

  1. Reverb: Hello ~ o ~ o ~ o ~ o ~
  2. Echo: Hello ~ Hello ~ Hello ~ Hello ~
Audio reverberation vs echo


If you have ever used audio effects unit you would know that delay/echo and reverberation effects are produced with the same electronic device, which is time-based. True, reverb and echo are persistence of sound, but with different detectable time range. And 50ms is the tipping point.

Conclusion: Reflection time of reverbin audio is much shorter than that of echo.

celluloid animation
Reverb vs Echo

About The Author

Cecilia Hwung is the marketing manager of Digiarty Software and the editor-in-chief of VideoProc team. She pursues common progress with her team and expects to share more creative content and useful information to readers. She has strong interest in copywriting and rich experience in video editing tips.

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