Listen: The Sound of the Hagia Sophia, More than 500 Years Ago

Who knew recording the sound of a balloon popping could reveal so much sonic information?

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Convolution reverb has been around for many years now. Pulses from monitor speakers are typically used to sample the profile of the space - any reverberant space - they’re used a lot for movie sound effects and so on as well as music. You can make your own if you have the gear.


This is one of the first/best, though there are now loads of them from many manufacturers:

You can see that they’ve sampled many of the finest halls in the world as well as all manner of nutty spaces and places.

Another thing often sampled is recording studio rooms, and they are recorded with multiple speaker and mic placements, so you can choose which ambience you want to add to your dry recording for the most interesting and/or realistic result.

As I recall, I started with Altiverb 5 in the early 2000’s and it has been at v.7 for a long time now.

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Can you make one of Music Room 2?

It could be done, but wouldn’t be worth it, IMO.

What makes for an interesting/useful IR (impulse response) is a “live” space - one that has some unique character, complex reflections, sonic signature and reverb time and “tail”. Relatively rectilinear, non-reverberant spaces are not particularly useful or interesting.

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Another very popular thing is this particular plugin from Universal Audio. It is their modeling of Ocean Way Studios. Whether you know it or not, you’ve likely heard it on modern recordings. You can choose and move the mics used around, and can use it as a reverb (added to the recorded sound as an effect) or re-amp (put the dry guitar signal recorded directly from the instrument prior to the amp, into the plugin as you would with re-amping a guitar).

They have also modeled both Allen Sides’ (owner of Ocean Way) extensive primo mic collection, as well as UA’s for the Townsend modeling mic - another amazing technological thingy we have now, though that is much more recent of a development than convolution reverb.

I have used Altiverb for years. Given a very dry initial recording the results can be spectacular.

Yeah - combining ambiences doesn’t work.

This does not stop pop engineers from doing so. :slight_smile:

As you know, there area a lot of recordings with reverb added to each instrument, and then the entire mix has an additional layer. Or the vocals are placed in one space, but everyone else is in another. A good number of audiophile favored singing blond alto fall into the latter category.

For sure. I was thinking more in the context of using a convolution room simulation on top of an acoustic performance recorded in a room. As you mentioned, the drier the source recording, the better.