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"Introduction To Music Production" at Berklee

College of Music. Lesson 5.

Dierences Between Algorithmic and Convolution Reverb and Their Important


My name is Odayr, I am from So Paulo Brazil.

I would like to present you a brief comparison between

the two existent types of reverb: the algorithmic reverb
and convolution reverb. And its practical function and use
in a mixing process.


A sound wave issued by an instrument is

spreading in the environment. First, comes directly
to the listener but follow your way to several
directions and reaches surfaces.Reflects for
further directions.Passing of the new listener. Still
ahead, reflects on another surfaces, and other

Instantly other hundreds or thousands of thoughts

are occurring. Some of that passed by the
listener, others will arrive in fractions of seconds

In a short time, the sound field within the room will

be a real chaos. Thousands of sound waves in
different intensities and phases, follow the original
sound of the sound source, creating what we call


Reverberation (or reverb) is one of the most important

effects in the toolbelt of a recording or mixing engineer.
It is conventionally used to make a signal sound like it
was produced in a sonically pleasing acoustic

When sound is produced in an acoustic environment, the

surroundings reflect echoes (or delayed versions) of the


Reverb, as an eect, attempts to create these echos

artificially for a signal.

On the DAW, there are two kinds of reverb that you can
choose. They are:



The distinction is based on the method or algorithm used

to create the reverb.

Algorithmic reverb

Algorithmic reverbs generates the sound by simulating the impulse

responses based on the input that you enter into your DAW. Since
the algorithmic reverbs are generated based on parameters, it can
sound quite fake especially when isolated in a solo instrument case.

Most DAW comes with algorithmic reverb plugin. For example, on

Logic, AUMatrixReverb is an algorithmic reverb. On Reaper, itll be

Algorithmic reverb
easy to use
do not need a sample

can sound fake
hard to master
not suitable for solo
intruments (sounds fake
when isolated in a solo


Convolution reverbs use real sound samples. For example,

we can record the sound sample from an auditorium or a
chapel. On ProTools, you can enable convolution reverb
by using the VSL Convolution Reverb plugin.

Convolution reverb uses an Impulse Response (IR) to

create reverb. An impulse response is a representation of
how a signal changes when going through a system (in
this case the system is an acoustic environment). An
impulse response of both real-life acoustic environments
and electronic hardware reverb units can be created and

Convolution reverb
It can accurately
simulate reverb and can
sound very natural.
It will produce a much
better reverb than

Consumes more CPU
That is it computationally
complex which can take up a
lot of a computers processing.
Needs to record or have actual
sample sounds to produce the


If youre recording professionally, pros recommend the

convolution reverb as itll sound more organic and real.
But again, depending on the type of genre youre mixing
for. For a typical metal or grunge music, you can get
away with algorithmic reverb.