How to add digital reverb on piano

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If you record acoustic grand piano, you will most likely need to add some reverb to improve the sound or correct the room’s acoustic defects. We will show in this article how to use a digital reverb and add it to the natural reverb of the room. And, to do this, we will use Waves TrueVerb plug-in, which offers many settings at a very affordable price.

In this case, the audio excerpts were performed on a Steinway Model B in a small recording studio in Florence, Italy. The acoustics are quite good, but the initial reverberation time is around 0.6 seconds, which is very short, although common for a recording studio. The goal here is to artificially lengthen the reverberation time by giving a little more atmosphere.

The three pieces we chose, in different musical genres, were recorded with a stereo pair of U87 microphones (omnidirectional position) to capture the ambience of the original piece, and a stereo pair of DPA 4011 placed near the piano.

The style and character of the pieces here suggested us to use the ” Large Hall ” preset, whose reverberation time is 3 seconds, although many other choices were possible.

The first thing was to adjust the amount of reverberation to our taste. In this case, with the ” Early Ref ” and ” Reverb ” faders, which are the equivalent of the ” Mix ” function on most plugins on the market.

Our choice was to adjust the amount of digital reverb so that it is as discreet as possible to preserve a natural aspect. We then adjusted the presence of the reverb in high frequencies with the ” ER Absorb ” function of the TrueVerb’s eq, then filtered the bass below 157 Hz, in order to keep some clarity in the low midrange.

The adjustment of these settings will always depend on the sound you are looking for, and we invite you to experiment with different options of your favorite reverb plugin.

Listen to audio excerpt 1: Devotion (composed by Michael Dulin)

Listen to audio excerpt 2: The Poets Speak (composed by Robert Schumann)

Listen to audio excerpt 3: Summertime (composed by George Gershwin)


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