A custom reverb can add a unique signature to your recordings. And since practically every space reverberates, a home made reverb often requires no more than a speaker, and microphone to capture reflected sound. Understandably, then, reverb units are popular do-it-yourself projects for musicians and recording engineers.
Spring and plate reverbs are the easiest designs to implement. Though depending on your skill with a soldering iron, you can also build an electronic reverb. And capturing the natural ambiance of a space, with a speaker and mic, offers almost unlimited possibilities.
Here’s a collection of links to the Web’s best plans for these homemade reverbs:
- The most comprehensive design I’ve seen: The Slinky Spring Reverb.
- Some variations on the Slinky design, including a stereo spring reverb.
- A cabinet-style spring reverb for guitar.
- The $2 spring reverb, built from a toy echo mic.
- And finally, a no-frills dirt cheap design.
- The definitive plate reverb design comes from TapeOp magazine.
- A no nonsense approach, from a poster on the electro music forums (copied here because the site is frequently unavailable.):
I got a sheet of steel, about the size of a very large refrigerator, this was about 1 X 2 meters more or less. I built a wooden frame of 2X4s. Two holes were drilled near the top of the plate and it was suspended to hang on two wooden dowels through rubber grommets.
I took an old 12″ speaker and cut the metal cage off of it and trimmed the speaker cone so as to only have about 1″ from the driver. Then I built a wooden cross member across the plate but not touching it to hold this speaker and glued the shortened cone to the plate. I attached a contact microphone to the plate. I drove the plate through a 50 watt amplifier connected to the speaker (glued to the plate) and took the signal from the contact mic. The placement of the mic is determined by experimentation. I built a simple wet/dry mixer. In those days people built their own circuits. Today I’d buy the mixer.
This entire apparatus was in the basement below my studio.
- A collection of schematics for various reverbs.
- Many effects pedal schematics, including a few reverbs.
- Electronic Musician’s Keeping It Real article describes some great approaches to capturing natural reverberance (including a washer or dryer, and an old Gibson guitar.)
- Upload an audio file to Silophone, and hear how it sounds played through speakers in a grain silo.