IMP Homework Episode 5: Reverb: Convolution or algorithmic?
Monday, April 8, 2013 at 05:01AM


This is episode five of my series on music production for my Coursera class Introduction to Music Production. I discuss convolution and algorithmic reverb effects.


To the reviewer

This week was challenging for a few reasons. First, I'm not very familiar with reverb, possibly I'm not really fond of it. I find it very difficult to work with.

Second, adding example sounds into the podcast complicated the mix. This is the first time I've added sounds after the fact to a recording.

Preparing the sound samples was actually fun, since I love playing with drum machines and rhythms. I would have used a drum synth if I wasn't concerned I would have gotten lost in the synthesis process. I find drum synthesis sound design to be really enjoyable.

Finally, the time limit was impossible to meet this week. I was over by 1:18 in the final mix, but I was closer to five minutes before I inserted the samples.

Key terms

Algorithmic reverb: uses a mathematical model of a space to calculate the reverb sound of the modeled space.

Convolution reverb: uses an impulse response actually recorded in a space to create the reverb sound of that space.

Early reflections: the distinct echoes heard in a room immediately after a sound is made; they are usually the echoes bouncing off the nearby walls.

Reverb tail: the wash of indistinct echoes that blend together and linger in a room, bouncing back and forth long after a sound is gone until they dissipate and are absorbed by the room.

Impulse response: a recording of an impulse in a space (like a clap) that is used to re-create the reverb of that space in a convolution reverb.

Pre-delay: the time between the sound and its early reflections.


ValhallaDSP's ValhallaVintageVerb

2C Audio's B2

FXpansion Geist

FabFilter Saturn

Cytomic's The Glue

How to use convolution reverb for sound effects


Apple. Logic Studio Effects, 2009. Apple - Logic Pro 9 - Resources The effects manual from Logic's documentation; chapter 11 is on reverb effects.

Robinson, George. The Ultimate Guide to Reverb, First Edition, August 2012.

Article originally appeared on Wes Perdue's Journal of Geekery (
See website for complete article licensing information.