Thursday, July 26, 2007

KAAY Reverb

Like most top 40 stations, KAAY had a reverb unit to add a sight amount of reverb to the air sound. When KAAY started the reverb unit, about the size of a large door turned side ways, was in the studio. The jocks learned quickly, you could hit the unit with your fist and create a large thunder-like clap on the air. This was especially painful to the jock on the air, wearing earphones, turned up loud. It got to happening so often, the reverb unit was moved to the safety of the transmitter. The religious broadcasts and the farm report always sounded funny, when someone forgot to turn off the reverb. Before I graduated to the big time of KAAY, the stations I worked for couldn't afford a professional reverb unit, so we had to experiment and improvise.
The best effort I could come up with at KXLR was a speaker driver horn hooked to one end of a garden hose and a mike hooked up to the other end. For the money, it sounded fairly good. We had tried various coiled springs, and they sounded like springs. At the first station I worked KBBA in Benton, AR, we used a tape recorder effect from old three head Magnacorders. Some stations even used the tape recorder system with an endless tape loop. Being tape based, they weren't pratical for 24 hour constant use. In the production room, the tape reverb was used a lot. The reverb was slower at 7 1/2 speed and cranked up to 15 ips you got a faster reverb that sounded more like a concert hall. Of course, all of the engineers were of little help because they really didn't care for reverb.

Today, reverb is readly available with computer editing programs and a huge choice of effects. It will even duplicate the old "tape recorder" reverb sound electronically.

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