Reverb/Echo Chambers

In by phoenixgreen

The use of large rooms to create echos has been a tool of the composer since medevil times, churches and chathederals would be used to generate their lush atmospheric textures.

During the 1950s Microphones and amplifiers aloud for a new age of experimentation with room ambients, as well as using pre-existing rooms and stair ways, studios also resorted to building their own perpose built chambers and some studios would have multiple chambers to re-create different atmopheres.

Producing echos and reverberation in this form of chamber is remarkably simple. A signal from the studio mixing desk such as a voice or instrument is fed to a large high-fidelity loudspeaker located at one end of the echo chamber. One or more microphones are placed along the length of the room and these pick up both the sound from the speaker and the echoes of it that bounce off the walls of the chamber. The farther away from the speaker, the more echo and reverberation the microphone/s will pick up and the louder the echo becomes in relation to the source. The signal from the microphone/s are then fed back to the mixing desk, where the echo-enhanced sound can be blended with the original “dry” input.

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Another form of chamber is the anechoic chamber, which instead of creating echo / reverb takes it away creating a completly isolated environment.



Different Kinds of  Reverb Chambers:

  • Echo Chamber
  • Anechoic chamber
  • Stair Well
  • Church
  • Hall


Popular Reverb Chambers:

  • Gold Star Studios – Phil Spector, The Beach Boys
  • EMI / Abbie Road Studio – The Beatles and producer Sir George Martin
  • Capitol Studios – The beach boys, Frank Sinatra,
  • Motown Records’ Hitsville USA complex
  • Hansa recording studio – David Bowie and producer Tony Visconti


Example: Phil Spectors wall of sound used this kind of reverb. The Ronettes – “Be My Baby” (1963) is a good example of this which used the Gold Star Studios echo chamber.

Be my baby –

Gold Star Sudio’s Chamber: The rooms walls are lined with concrete and the room is aproximatly 2×3  feet in size. Larry Lavine testifies to the speaker in the chamber being a cheap 8-inch speaker being picked up by an equally cheap ribbon microphone (bi-directional). –

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