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reverb and delay, what's the difference? effects noob here

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by GG90, Nov 29, 2006.

  1. GG90


    Jun 5, 2006
    Could anyone help me out with this? Thanks in advance guys :D

    [edit] Hey, thanks very much for all the help guys! I now understand the difference between the two, but which one would be better to use with a bass? Or would it entirely upto the player, and what kind of sound he/she is looking to get out of it?

    Oh and sorry about having posted in the wrong section of the forum, I was so sure I'd posted in effects!
  2. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Delay is like single repeats of an input - which can be "blurred" with feedback - but is basically an audible echo.

    Reverb is just the ambient sound of the room - so not a single repeat or echo - but rather how the instrument would sound if played in a room of a certain size and possibly texture - much more complicated!
  3. Reverb is an echo-type effect. It adds "space" to the sound as though it were in a large, empty room (simply put). Delay is just that - the sound is delayed (held back electronically) for a set period of time before it is allowed to pass through the system to be heard.
  4. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Actually - what most people think of as an "echo" is recreated by a delay unit - whereas digital reverb, is much more "ambient" than that !
  5. didier


    Aug 4, 2005
    I usually think of reverb as an echo/delay effect, too. They are different, for sure, but the difference is I think in degree rather than the type of effect (in types I would differentiate pitch changing, distortions, compressions... )

    The reverb is close to a really short delay (like the "echo" you would get from walls and surfaces in a room, cathedral, cave) with lots of feedback (repeats) that you would get as the sound repeatedly reflects/bounces off the walls. Often in a reverb there is some control for the amount and sound/tone of the reflections, too, so you might have a sort of dead room, like one that is carpeted and with furniture/people, etc. versus playing in an empty, tiled, five story auditorium.

    If you take a delay pedal (or rack unit or plug-in, whatever your using) and set the delay interval really short (I mean in milliseconds range), and play with the feedback, you will produce an effect that will be very similar to what you'll get from a reverb. But there are lots of types of reverbs, and most delays are not going to have the amount and type of controls that a dedicated reverb will have. Of course most reverbs are not going to do a 1 second ping pong, either :)
  6. Bruce Lindfield

    Bruce Lindfield Unprofessional TalkBass Contributor Gold Supporting Member In Memoriam

    Well it depends on your ear I suppose - but good quality digital reverb is nothing like the sound of digital delay.

    High Quality Digital Reverb is very complex and simulates the sound of a "room" - whether that's a cathedral or a small studio or a bright bathroom.

    Digital delay is much simpler in that it just repeats back, what has been put into it!
  7. EricF

    EricF Habitual User

    Sep 26, 2005
    Pasadena, CA
    Bruce is right on this one. Reverb simulates the sound of a room which has multiple reflective surfaces, and therefore more complex than a simple echo. A delay is simply a repeat (or multiple repeats) of a sound.

    (BTW - This should be in the Effects forum)
  8. lug


    Feb 11, 2005
    League City, Tx
    The effects of this post not being in the Effects section will reverberate throughout the forum as long as the mods delay moving it there.
  9. didier


    Aug 4, 2005
    I think we're all agreeing about this
  10. Ívar Þórólfsson

    Ívar Þórólfsson Mmmmmm... Supporting Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    Kopavogur, Iceland
    Err, wrong forum also...

    Moved to effects.
  11. Higgie


    May 31, 2005
    London, England
  12. Swimming Bird

    Swimming Bird

    Apr 18, 2006
    Wheaton MD
    A reverb can be considered similarly to a short set delay that has multiple delay ratios. For instance I think something as complex as the Pigtronix Phi Echolution could simulate a reverb very accurately as it has different usable ratios in between each 'main' delayed note -- it can do thirds, quarters or something related to the golden ratio (hence phi). Some rackmount delays do the same thing.
  13. The BurgerMeister

    The BurgerMeister musician.

    Apr 13, 2006
    Big Bear, CA
    reverb is a complex array of delays, actually. they're brought together in such a way to put the listener in a "space." (like a small room, or a hall, or a cathedral, or a car, or a bathroom, or a locker.)

    delay is a simple repetition of the input signal.
  14. JanusZarate

    JanusZarate Low End Avenger Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 21, 2006
    Petaluma, CA, USA
    Reverb: Pretend you're playing an instrument all by yourself in an empty arena. That spacious sound bouncing off the walls is reverb. Not necessarily an echo... more like ambience.

    Delay: Im-Im-Im-Im-ag-ag-ag-ag-ine-ine-ine-ine repitition of notes instead. :D

    I think reverb sounds better on higher frequencies, so I'd rather leave it to guitars. As for delay... it's a fun effect to play with that works well on any instrument.
  15. bongomania

    bongomania Gold Supporting Member Commercial User

    Oct 17, 2005
    PDX, OR
    owner, OVNIFX and OVNILabs
    Anyone who has spent time programming a reverb patch in a studio-level rackmount reverb will be familiar with this concept.

    On a practical level, what is called a "delay" is typically one repetition of a signal, followed by repetitions of the first repetition. A "multi-tap" delay starts with two or three distinct initial repetitions, which each then repeat themselves.

    A reverb is a complex cluster of overlapping signal repeats which typically are not perceived as distinct, and do not repeat themselves. They sound like a smear of the original signal, which is one way of describing actual room ambience.
  16. GG90


    Jun 5, 2006
  17. The BurgerMeister

    The BurgerMeister musician.

    Apr 13, 2006
    Big Bear, CA
    both reverb and delay have their respective place... depends on the music you're making. but i think delay is better for bass in most situations. reverb, in a band setting, can make all your punch and clarity disappear. delay (if used correctly) will keep your signal punchy... and it'll make it seem much bigger.

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