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How To Use Audio Sandpaper: The Reverb Basics In Worship Audio

Reverb can be used to give a song a specific feel

By Chris Huff June 8, 2011

This article is provided by Behind The Mixer.

Reverb is a beautiful effect that gives us the ability to bring a fuller sound to an instrument. 

Reverb can be used to spatially place an instrument in a mix such as sitting in the background. 

We can also kill our mix with reverb if we use too much or we use the wrong type of reverb. 

Here are three standard types of reverb and how they can be used…

First, let me just get this out of the way. When a singer talks between songs such as saying a prayer or reading a section of scripture, PLEASE TURN OFF THE REVERB! It’s not the place for reverb and it is distracting to the congregation.

What is a good definition of reverb? Reverb is an effect which modifies an existing sound so it appears to take on the audio characteristics of a unique space. The reverb in a bathroom is not the same as the reverb in a grand hall, but both sounds produce distinct reverberations.

Recording studios can use reverb to make a song sound like it was recorded in an intimate space or a huge concert venue. 

The way we use it in the live environment is similar but a little different.  For example, I could place a lot of reverb on a singer’s voice so as they sound like they are singing in a opera hall. 

However, if I were to do so in a very small church then the congregation will hear the sound and find it doesn’t fit.  In short, their ears tell them it’s a lie. That is to say, what can be acceptable in a recording isn’t always acceptable in the live environment.

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About Chris

Chris Huff
Chris Huff

Chris Huff is a long-time practitioner of church sound and writes at Behind The Mixer, covering topics ranging from audio fundamentals to dealing with musicians – and everything in between.


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