In the early days of recording, record companies, artists and producers carefully selected recording studios and great sounding rooms for their projects. Before we had methods for creating reverb artificially, recording in a place with natural reverberation and echo was the only way to capture great acoustics. Then in 1957, the Broadcast Technical Institute in Nuremberg, Germany and the Institute for Broadcast Engineering in Hamburg co-developed the EMT 140 plate reverb system. The EMT Plate was the first high quality electronic reverb and it offered recording engineers and studios the ability to tailor the acoustic signature of the recordings regardless of where they were originally captured. The plate reverb was a breakthrough but it wasn’t perfect. It had it’s own character and while it became a mainstay for the exploding recording business of the 60′s and 70′s, it could not replace the sound of a real concert hall or mimic the sound of most acoustic environments. When digital technology came along, reverb flexibility took a big leap forward. Some dedicated digital units began to appear in the late 80′s and these became the go-to solutions for modern engineers. When fast computers became the dominate tool for audio professionals, digital reverb using a variety of technical breakthroughs began offering amazing options and control over acoustic presence. One technique called convolution has the ability to acoustically copy any room by use of sound impulses. Libraries of signature impulses are available today from such famous and desirable places as The Sydney Opera House in Australia, The Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and the newer Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. Impulses are even available for everything from bathrooms to car interiors and even the venerable EMT 140 Plate Reverb. To give you a taste of these perfect reverbs, we’d like to share four examples of our friend, the lovely Hannah Magnelli singing this excerpt from “Cinema Paradiso” and mixed by IYE engineer Andrea Stefl featuring each of the three halls using the Audioease Altiverb convolution plug-in and the EMT 140 plug-in from Universal Audio.
We invite your comments, such as, which one is best suited for this performance? What do you find unique or perhaps surprising about these halls and plate? We’d love to hear your feedback and while you’re at it, which microphone and pre-amp pair from our previous post topic do you think Andrea used to record Hannah?