Even though there are tons of software-based reverbs available out there, there’s nothing that can come close to the distinct tone of a physical spring reverb; this is a must-have, especially for those who use an electric guitar to compose blues, rock, reggae, etc.
If we told you that you could produce an otherworldly metallic echo using something as simple as the springs under your comfy bed, then as a music enthusiast, you would probably want to pull those springs out. (Pun intended)
But hold that thought, as in this article, we will exactly walk you through the process of making a DIY spring reverb in no time.
- Amp and a speaker
- Echo mic toy
- Jack socket ($0.5)
- A box to fit your setting, preferably at least 18x12x7cm.
- 9v battery to run your amp
- Piezo element ($1-2)
- Metal hooks or paper clips so that you can attach the spring
- A soldering iron
- Glue gun
- Carefully cut the mic open using a saw until you reach the inner side. Now carefully path one end of the spring line so that it detaches. You can use a pointed driver or a pin to create a gap between the top and the upper layer and pull it out. As for the other end, use a paperclip and a cup to fish the other end.
- Now arrange your amp and check if it’s working fine. You can either buy your own or arrange one from a device like the Marshall MS-2. You may have to resolder the battery if the structure is not stable.
- Using your glue gun, connect small paper-like objects to the conical lower extremity of the speaker and the contact mic. Let it dry before heading over to the next step.
- Now wire your piezo transducer to a mono jack’s positive and negative ends or another amp with output.
- Now it’s time to glue the setup to your box. First, make sure that the structure fits inside the box end-to-end; if not, consider gluing small cardboard to the end to lower the gap.
- Once you have connected the springs to the hooks, connect any instrument like a keyboard or synth to check if you have placed everything right. Observe the spring when it vibrates; make sure that the glue holds it tightly.
- Now connect the output to an input on an audio platform with an instrument input, and you are set.
- If your amp has a jack input, drip a hole for its pots and glue it inside the box.
How does a spring reverb work?
A spring reverb is essentially a device that creates an illusion of reverberation. As soon as a sound wave enters this box, the springs begin to vibrate. This fretting motion results in an echo even if your instrument isn’t vibrating.
Common use cases
- A spring reverb can fine-tune your guitar and put the finishing touch on a flat note. You can also see it being deployed in various iconic soundtracks.
- Many drummers love to add a spring reverb on the snare. It can be commonly seen in rock bands.
- If you want a more rough and gritty texture in your vocals, you can add a spring reverb into your abrasive mixes.
- They are also used with synths that have gotten over-polished due to prolonged usage.
Now that you know how to curate your very own spring reverb, you might also be thinking: What if I use automated software instead?
Let’s be honest; some haven’t been experts at DIY since their childhood like others. The answer, however, depends on the kind of function you are looking to carry out.
If you do live shows and have frequent gigs, you are better off with an amp with a spring reverb unit. But if you want to record some music casually, then the software can work just fine.
However, it is crucial to note that the software can only imitate the sound of the real thing and won’t give you the same results.
Another essential piece of advice revolves around the usage of an equalizer before your spring reverb kicks in. Given the fact that your spring reverb will accentuate the mids and highs, you don’t want your listeners to blast their ears off.
Thus, an EQ will cut out all the interferences, allowing for a punchy but in-tone high frequency.
Rookie mistakes that can ruin your mix
- Keep your setup as simple as possible. Some people even try to use three different reverbs. But we will advise against taking a complicated road.
- Many beginners forget to put a reverb on the vocals since they usually come at the center and front. An ideal vocalized mix should contain a mixture of reverb and delay.
- We know that reverbs sound cool, but too much of anything is bad; this may also project a vibe reflecting that you are trying to hide a subpar mix beneath a myriad of effects.
- The decay times that you use are also highly crucial. While long decay time makes notes last longer, they might make your mixes sound too messy. The perfect spot is between 0.5 to 1.5 seconds.
A spring reverb can be a blessing for your songs if used in the right way. Some mixing engineers even end up using spring reverbs exclusively. A lot of you might even be having questions like: Will it sound good in a hall? When should I use a plate?
The best thing to do is to try it out! Simply trust your ears and let your conscience guide you.
We hope that this article has helped you. Make sure to use our tips the next time you are working on a mix.