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How To Create "Preverb"  (Man)

Here's how to create a popular sound from the psychedelic era


by Craig Anderton


Preverb” was a popular effect in 60s music, where reverb built up to a note instead of decaying after it. It was a fairly time-consuming effect to set up with tape-baesd recording; you needed to record the track to be preverbed, flip the tape reels over to reverse the tape direction, play back the track through reverb, record only the reverb, then flip the tape reels back again so that the music played normally—but the reverb played in reverse.


Ironically, now that today’s DAWs make it easy to replicate that effect, people don’t seem to be intrested in using it. Maybe that’s because it could make a track sound “dated” (sort of like how gated reverb on drums screams “80s music”), but it’s still a cool effect that’s worth a try when you want to add a sort of otherwordly quality to vocals, guitar, drums, and other signal sources.




Pro Tools makes it particularly easy to add the preverb effect; with their AudioSuite Delay or Reverb effects, just click on the Reverse button. However, this is not quite as flexible as the more “universal” method presented next (which also works with Pro Tools). This requires that the clip have some silence before the first sound, but later we’ll cover what to do if there’s no silence.


Start by copying the clip or track to which you want to add preverb, then process the copy with the DAW’s reverse function (Fig. 1). Here’s how you reverse clips in various programs.



Fig. 1: The top (red) waveform is the original guitar part. The orange waveform below is the reversed version; the next one down (dark blue) adds reverb, and applies the effect to the clip. The bottom waveform (violet) re-reverses the reverberated track to create “preverb.” During playback, you need only the top and bottom clips.


  • Ableton Live: in the clip overview sample box, click Rev
  • Acoustica Mixcraft: right-click the clip > Reverse
  • Apple Logic: double-click the clip, then choose Functions > Reverse
  • Avid Pro Tools: select clip > AudioSuite > Other > Reverse
  • Cakewalk Sonar: select clip > Process > Apply Effect > Reverse
  • Magix Samplitude: right-click the clip > Effects (Offline) > Sample Manipulation > Reverse
  • MOTU Digital Performer: select clip > Audio > Apply Plug-In > Reverse > Select > Apply
  • Presonus Studio One Pro: right-click the clip > Audio > Reverse Audio
  • Propellerheads Reason: right-click the clip > Reverse Clips
  • Sony Acid Pro: select clip > type U
  • Steinberg Cubase: select clip > Audio > Process > Reverse


Insert a reverb or delay plug-in into the copied/reversed track or clip, then adjust the reverb’s effect settings. Choose an all-wet effect mix, with no dry signal. After obtaining the desired reverb sound, select the reversed track and apply (render) the effect so the effect becomes part of the waveform (for example with Studio One Pro invoke Track Transform; in Sonar, use Apply Audio Effect). Now, reverse the backward, reverberated track to “un-reverse” it. Mix this with the original dry track, and now you have preverb.




If an audio clip or track has no silence at the beginning, trying to add preverb will be ineffective because there won’t be any place for the reverb to decay when reversed. So, to add preverb at the very beginning of a clip or track, you’ll need a blank section before the first sound. This section needs to be equal to or longer than the reverb’s decay. Either insert silence, slip-edit the track to extend the beginning then bounce it to itself, or whatever lets you pre-pend silence.


If you want to add preverb to a track before the entire song starts, then select all tracks and shift them to the right to open up a few measures at the song’s beginning. Now you can extend the original track you want preverbed to the project start so it includes silence. Continue by copying the original track, reversing, and following the steps detailed previously to add preverb.


Join The Discussion in the Harmony Central Recording Forum





 Craig Anderton is Editorial Director of Harmony Central. He has played on, mixed, or produced over 20 major label releases (as well as mastered over a hundred tracks for various musicians), and written over a thousand articles for magazines like Guitar Player, Keyboard, Sound on Sound (UK), and Sound + Recording (Germany). He has also lectured on technology and the arts in 38 states, 10 countries, and three languages.




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famerom.ir  |  July 18, 2016 at 1:47 am
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