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Reverberators in the Real World
Audio engineers use reverberators to add echo and ambience to recordings that are otherwise to dry or empty sounding. Reverberator used to be made from springs, plates or actual rooms that added effect, but nowadays all reverberators use digital technology to regenerate sound. Modern reverberators allow the engineer to control reflections, reverb time, high frequency content and diffusion.
One can make drastic changes in the sound of a reverberator with a few adjustments of its controls. Unlike equalizers and dynamic range processors, different models and manufactures of reverberators sound distinctly different; it is difficult to get two types of reverberators to sound similar. This is why so many models of reverberators are available as stand alone units or plug-ins.
While most computer plug-in reverbs only provide reverberation, most hardware units are "multi-effect" devices that offer delays, flanging, chorusing and pitch shifting as well as reverberation. Furthermore, many of the factory presets of this hardware combine these other effects with the reverb to create richer textures. This is why it is sometimes difficult to mimic a hardware setting with a plug-in—the computer must use other plug-ins in addition to the reverberation.