It’s A Microphone And A Spring Reverb All In One

We’re so used to reverb effects being simply another software plugin that it’s easy to forget the electromechanical roots of the effect. Decades ago, a reverb would have been a metal spring fed at one end with a speaker and attached at the other to a microphone. You may not see them often in the 2020s, which is probably why [Ham-made] has produced one. It’s not the type with a speaker providing the sound, though. Instead, this is a microphone in its own right with a built-in spring line.

Perhaps it’s not the best microphone possible, with a somewhat heavy diaphragm and 3D printed body. But the hand-wound spring transmits the sound down to a piezo disk which serves as the electrical element, and the whole thing screws together into quite the usable unit. There are a selection of sample MP3 files that provide an interesting set of effect-laden sounds, so if you fancy building one yourself, you can judge the results.

We think this may be the first reverb microphone we’ve seen, but we’re certainly no stranger to reverb projects. More common by far, though, are plate reverbs, in which the physical element in the system is a metal plate rather than a spring. We like it when the sound source is a Commodore 64.

The Sixtyforgan Proves That Church Organs Are Definitely Chiptune

Church organs may be mechanically complicated and super old-school, but they share something in common with the earliest computer sound chips. In theory, and largely in practice, they produce very simple waveforms. The primary reason that church organs seem so full and rich compared to your old Commodore 64 is that they have the benefit of a whole church’s worth of reverb to fatten out the sound. [Linus] demonstrates this with the Sixtyforgan.

The Sixtyforgan is a Commodore 64 hooked up to a spring reverb tank. By running the relatively basic waveforms from the Commodore’s SID chip through this reverb, it’s possible to generate sounds that are eerily similar to those you might hear at your local Sunday service. While we won’t expect chiptune luminaries like [chipzel] to start busting out songs of praise at events like Square Sounds, it’s kind of awesome to think of the composers of antiquity rocking out to some mad Game Boy jams way back when.

It’s a great demonstration of the Commodore’s musical abilities, and we particularly like the application of the chromatic button layout borrowed from the accordion. We’d love to see this setup combined with an orchestra of the retro computers, like this demonstration playing The Sugar Plum Fairy. Alternatively, Billy Corgan on the Sixtyforgan playing Tiberius would be pretty great, too. Pretty sounding video after the break.

Continue reading “The Sixtyforgan Proves That Church Organs Are Definitely Chiptune”

100 Meter Spring Reverb Makes Us Hear Satanic Voices

Spring reverb is something we’re used to hearing about when it comes to guitar amplifiers. It’s a coil spring stretched the length of the amp’s housing. One end is fed the guitar signal, with a pickup at the other to capture the output. But this spring reverb is on a much grander scale. [Jochem van Grieken] strung up 100 meters of coiled steel wire in a long hallway and the results sound a little bit evil.

A simple piezo element is used as a pickup to amplify the sound coming off of the spring. Above [Jochem] is using what looks like a jeweler’s saw to make some sound on the 3.5mm wire. It’s this portion of the video that sounds demonic to us. In the second half of the demonstration he strikes the wire with a ruler to produce the pew-pew effect from many a sci-fi movie.

This isn’t his first experiment with the concept, it’s just his largest. Also found after the break are a pair of links to his other installations.

Continue reading “100 Meter Spring Reverb Makes Us Hear Satanic Voices”

DIY Spring And Plate Reverb

If you’re running your own recording studio, you’re going to need a lot of gear that seems excessively esoteric to the non-musically inclined. A rack full of synth gear looks just like any other cabinet of technology you would find in a server room. Electronic music is, for the most part, very utilitarian looking, but there are a few pieces that add a very nice aesthetic touch to any studio. [Peter] made two great looking pieces of hardware – both reverbs – that significantly add to the decor of his studio. As a bonus, they also sound really good.

[Peter]’s spring reverb (Dutch, Google translate) works just the same as any other spring reverb; a speaker puts some music into a slightly stretched spring, and this sound is picked up by another transducer at the opposite end. For this build, [Peter] used a Slinky and a piece of PVC pipe left over from a bathroom remodel. Adding a few jacks, pots, and a preamp, [Peter] had a very nice and extremely large spring reverb.

The plate reverb (translation) is also a staple of pro recording studios around the globe. This reverb is somewhat similar to a spring reverb, except the spring is replaced with a tuned metal plate. [Peter] used a cymbal from a drum set for this piece of kit. Two speakers are attached to the back of the cymbal, one feeds a sound into the cymbal, the other speaker picks up those sounds and sends it to the mixing board.

There’s a lot of really cool musical DIY projects over on [Peter]’s site, along with a few audio demos for each of his DIY projects. We’ve included his reverb demos after the break, feel free to give those a listen.

Thanks go to [geekabit] for sending this one in.

Continue reading “DIY Spring And Plate Reverb”