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Can a digital reverb unit provide artificial reverberation that is as good as the real thing?

Does digital reverb accurately imitate the acoustics of a room?

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When we use digital reverberation, we turn to room programs, chambers, halls and plates (the plate reverb is an electro-mechanical reverb simulator). We may like what we hear, but since we cannot directly compare the digital simulation with the real thing, we can't really decide whether a real room, chamber, hall or plate would have been better.

But there is one way you can compare digitally simulated reverb against the real thing - try to simulate the reverb of a small room. Record an acoustic sound source in the way you normally would, and then with the mic twice as far away.

Now use digital reverb on your first recording and try and simulate the sound of the second. Chances are you won't even get close.

This is often a very convincing test showing that digital reverb hasn't really come as far as we would like. One day perhaps...

By David Mellor Thursday January 1, 2004
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