Tags: posts polarity-music Bitwig Sound-Design Convolution

Exploring the Creative Possibilities of Convolution Reverb

Tutorial | May 12, 2022

In this video, I showed some tricks and inspirations for using convolution reverb. I explained that it can be seen as an Instagram filter for your sounds and can be used to replicate hardware devices, effect chains, and even create interesting rhythmic effects. I also showed how to use impulse responses from external hardware devices and VST plug-ins, as well as using a noise burst and an ADSR to create a fake diffusion network. All of this can be done in a CPU-efficient way, making convolution reverb a very versatile effect.

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Questions & Answers

Maybe you dont watch the video, here are some important takeaways:

What is a convolution reverb and what can I do with it?

A convolution reverb is a type of audio effect used to simulate the sound of a real-world space or environment. It can be used to replicate the sound of a room, an external device, an effect chain, or a combination of all of these. It can also be used to create interesting rhythmic effects, diffusers, and to take snapshots of hardware devices for use in different situations.

How can I use a convolution reverb to replicate external hardware?

You can use a convolution reverb to replicate external hardware by using impulse responses. An impulse response is a sample of a sound that has been recorded and processed by an external hardware device. This can then be loaded into the convolution reverb and applied to any sound you wish.

How can I create interesting rhythmic effects with a convolution reverb?

You can create interesting rhythmic effects with a convolution reverb by using the FX selector feature in the convolution reverb plugin. This allows you to load up several different impulse responses and switch between them in a rhythmic pattern. You can also use random


This is what im talking about in this video. The text is transcribed by AI, so it might not be perfect. If you find any mistakes, please let me know.
You can also click on the timestamps to jump to the right part of the video, which should be helpful.

[00:00.000] Hey folks, welcome back to another video. In today's video, it's about the convolution
[00:04.440] reverb and some tricks or some things, some inspirations for you, what you can do with
[00:11.000] it. It's not only a reverb, even though it says it in the name convolution reverb here.
[00:17.560] For me, convolution is more like an Instagram filter for your sounds. You can replicate devices,
[00:26.160] not only spaces, not only rooms. You can also replicate devices and also effect chains.
[00:33.680] And you can create interesting rhythmic effects. You can use it as a diffuser. And I want
[00:39.720] to show you in this video some small things. You can try out for yourself to get some
[00:45.040] interesting sounds. It's also nice to have when you are on the go, when you use a laptop,
[00:53.280] when you don't have your favorite device, your favorite amp simulator with you. Or if
[00:59.880] you are on Linux and you want to replicate some interesting VST effects you can't use
[01:06.960] under Linux. Or if you want to take some devices, hardware devices with you, you can make
[01:14.440] some kind of snapshots of these devices, what they do to the sound and can apply it with
[01:21.000] this device here. So yeah, let's start off here by the obvious things. When you start
[01:29.560] up the convolution device here on a sound, you are, or you can play this dry sound here,
[01:39.000] inside the sound pitus cathedral. So you can replicate the room and you can replicate
[01:57.200] what this room does to your sound in a way. It's not perfect because you have only one
[02:04.120] sample and it's not really dynamic and that's the main critic from people that use these
[02:12.440] devices that it's, you know, it doesn't change when you input sounds differently and it's
[02:18.520] more like a sample. You have always the same sample that's used to process the sound.
[02:27.680] But you can do some tricks to your sound. For instance, you can put something in the
[02:31.520] wet FX here. For example, the new chorus plus device, which brings in here some modulations
[02:41.080] and a bit of spread. So you can kind of fake a bit and bring in the imagination that it's
[02:57.800] alive and something happens and a bit of modulation here. Maybe you can also use some random
[03:03.840] modulators and change some of the parameters. So it sounds like it's different every time
[03:10.200] you play it or it's slightly different you play it every time. So you have like the
[03:14.680] best of both worlds. You have here the perfect snapshot of the room, what it does to your
[03:20.320] sound and then something algorithmic here in the wet FX box to bring it alive or keep
[03:25.600] it alive. With this big studio, you get also a lot of, my lot of impulse free sponsors
[03:34.640] here. A lot of different things. You have like studio rooms or small rooms.
[03:41.040] Also, this is a church here. In here it's a pretty big room. But you also have here, let
[04:00.320] me see some rhythmic effects. Stuff like this here. You can see it's almost like a drum
[04:11.920] loop. Right, so you have a rhythmic effect. So you can also instead of having real rooms,
[04:17.120] you can also have fake rooms and fake delays and all kinds of fake things. So the important
[04:22.840] thing with the devices, what you put inside here of the sampler, or let's call it, yeah,
[04:31.880] sampler. I guess it's a sampler kind of. And yeah, you can also snapshot for instance,
[04:39.480] or for example, some of your effect chains inside Bitwig Studio. And when they use a lot
[04:45.600] of CPU power, you can boil it down or bounce it down to one of these impulse responses
[04:52.640] and take it with you inside this device. And I want to show you some, some things here
[04:59.200] later on in the video. But first, I want to give you some idea where we get some impulse
[05:07.320] responses from. For example, I use here this isotope trash 2 plug-in. I think most of
[05:14.200] people have this already because it was on sale multiple times. And inside here, you
[05:20.640] have multiple tabs and you can go here to the convolve tab. And in here, you have some
[05:26.760] impulse responses, body, some amps, classic amps, all kinds of different amp devices. And
[05:36.680] they basically put a sound through these devices and impulse response through these devices.
[05:43.240] And you can use these impulse response also inside the convolution device from Bitwig Studio
[05:49.000] and can replicate this device. And you can find these here in, let's see, this is documents,
[06:00.680] isotope, trash 2 impulses. And then you have here body, for example, it's a fishbowl
[06:08.720] dynamic. What this means is they put basically a speaker inside the fishbowl and recorded
[06:14.760] it with a microphone. And you can just drag this in. Let's get this fishbowl in here.
[06:27.000] And then replicate. Oh, it's a bit loud, huh? So let's remove your trash 2 first. And
[06:43.960] now we have the dry sound. A bit quiet. So it's not a big difference, but you can hear
[06:55.760] the difference when I use your drum loop. That's more obvious that way. So just drag this
[07:00.760] over to the drum loop. And let's listen to the drum loop. Ooh, funky. So you can imagine
[07:25.440] how the drum loop would sound if you would play it back inside of a fishbowl with a speaker.
[07:32.920] And you've got the snapshot basically here as an impulse response and it can apply it
[07:37.720] to your sound. And this is what I mean by it's an Instagram filter for your sounds.
[07:43.280] It sounds like real vintage or it sounds vintage. It's exactly like on Instagram, right?
[07:50.480] It looks like it's a vintage image, but it's not. It's like fake. It's perfectly or try
[07:58.080] to perfectly recreate what the vintage camera does to an image, but it's kind of fake,
[08:05.320] but it's enough. And it brings tonality to your sound. It brings some texture to your
[08:11.000] sound. And yeah, you can spice up a bit of your sounds with these impulse responses.
[08:18.160] So we have, let's see, but what also do we have here? We have some amp devices. This
[08:25.280] one here. You can see some of these are pretty short, 30 milliseconds here. And you can
[08:31.240] also see, I think if I'm not wrong, if I'm not wrong here, I think you can also go down
[08:39.000] to one sample. You can almost see here quantization step by step. I think these are just one
[08:46.560] samples. Each bar is a sample. You can say I won't only have here with the first sample.
[08:57.440] So this is the drum loop through Ellerson 2x10 condenser microphone. And now comes also
[09:23.600] an interesting part where you put this here into fx layer and maybe switch this to fx
[09:31.040] selector. And you create multiple of these layers here. And in each layer, you put a
[09:37.040] different taste of labor, maybe a different, different device here. Maybe this one here.
[09:50.960] And you switch the random, you can also use your rhythmic delay effect. Infinite possibilities
[10:00.640] now. You switch it on a little bit.
[10:29.040] So with reverb and maybe delay effects, this would sound even better. But just to give you
[10:34.400] an idea to use here, the convolution device inside the fx selector can lead to interesting
[10:41.760] results. So yeah, you can snapshot some external hardware devices. Not only amps, you can
[10:52.200] also use a tape, record some tape dynamics or tape taste tape flavors and put this on
[11:02.960] their sound. And yeah, not only external hardware of course, you can also sample VST plug-ins
[11:11.760] if you like some sounds of some of your favorite devices. For instance, for example, we
[11:20.120] go to the first track, we pair it here on polygrid. Inside the polygrid, we have white noise,
[11:26.520] stereo. You can also go to mono if you want to. And just have your small burst of noise
[11:36.160] and a limiter at the end, the clipper. Just remove the clipper here. And use here just a note.
[11:51.600] I'm not sure if you can hear it, but this is a really short burst of noise. So you all
[12:01.960] know that I like supermassive, supermassive, supermassive. You know that I like supermassive.
[12:12.880] And if I go here to a very large reset, let's go spaces to place, for instance, mix
[12:25.560] up 100% and resend this noise burst through this preset into the limit on.
[12:40.920] Yeah, this is perfect. So let's sample this here. A sample long, and this would be enough
[12:54.000] once. So we have now here just this white noise, just what you hear. We have this now
[13:03.200] here as a sample. And we put this into our convolution device here on the polymer. We can
[13:12.560] just drag this in. And we can maybe offset your starting point, or maybe you can leave
[13:20.600] it at that. We have a bit of pre-delay. So you can see there's something happening
[13:26.720] here to start. You can start your ride in the meat and maybe switch it also to this
[13:34.440] rough mode, and blend out the end here a bit. And now we can... Let's use course here
[13:58.040] on the end. Maybe a filter on there. So you can see we can replicate the sound
[14:26.480] or what the preset of Valhalla Supermassive does to our impulse response or to our noise
[14:34.080] burst. It can replicate this with the impulse response here on this polymer sound. And
[14:42.000] basically it can take it with us and apply it to all kinds of different signals without
[14:47.240] having the Supermassive available. So that's going to lead to interesting reverbs. You can
[14:55.760] just use your whatever plugin you like. But for me, it comes more down to that you create
[15:08.400] interesting things with the noise. So let's use your triggers. And maybe a clock one
[15:17.120] timer. Let's see in here. Maybe use a select so we can switch this off. There's no play.
[15:36.880] And also delete this one here. And maybe modulate this here a bit. So we have different
[15:53.320] diffusions at different tabs. Maybe use a panning. Panning knob here. Also modulate
[16:08.160] this. Let's hit that. We can do this a bit quieter here. So the limit does not rock
[16:26.120] in that heart. Maybe we randomize here this one a bit. So for 10 we have different rhythms
[16:43.040] each time we play. We also move your phone white noise to pink noise to random points. Maybe
[17:06.240] use one of the new filters here. And because this is one on 10 here, we can apply this
[17:25.560] to this. So we have to write probably into the file name that that it's one on the 10.
[17:32.640] So I'm sampling here. Maybe I'm also blending this out here all the time. So let's see.
[17:44.480] Maybe you make it short. Just sample this. So this is the first one here. You can drag
[17:55.680] this into here. We have basically the rhythmic effect we used here on the sample. We have
[18:13.600] replicated here on the polymer every time I press here. So nice. So we can put this here
[18:28.520] like before into a FX selector with another one. Delete this and bounce again because
[18:37.560] we have all kinds of randomizes on here. We have different sample each time. So put this
[18:45.360] here on the second one. And see it's a different sample now. And another one. Delete this. Maybe
[19:03.800] we make some changes here into the ascending here. And put this in here. Now we switch
[19:23.240] through all layers at random and see what comes out. Now we go to 100% here. Take this
[19:42.640] mix. Another interesting fact about this convolution device is if we pull this out here.
[20:08.360] You can have a tail, a reverb tail on this case here. It's a rhythmic tail. And then you
[20:17.040] can turn it off and on and it's gone. So you can completely silence or choke this device
[20:24.920] or this reverb inside of a layer of FX selector on. You can switch between the layers and choking
[20:32.440] off each of these devices. I have to come up with a nice preset for that. I want to probably
[20:39.520] do this a lot. So when you have a long tail sound here. And choke it by switching it off
[20:46.720] and on. I could be also interesting to use this here in maybe in row. And use random.
[21:05.480] Switch this off. No, it's not. It's not possible. Maybe I put this here into a container.
[21:17.720] It should rock. Container device. Oh, it's not called. It's in device. Sorry. It is in here.
[21:27.400] And remove this modulate over here. So we can switch the device on and off.
[21:31.720] Maybe a bit faster. Let me know that first. Okay, so we can switch it on and off.
[21:59.760] So we can use this here multiple times. Just different in impulse responses everywhere.
[22:21.280] Let's see here. Just to create some interesting sounds. That's just an idea. So this could
[22:50.120] be something you can do. You can switch it off and then it chokes immediately. Because
[22:55.680] with reverb and delays, I think that's not the case when you have a delay one. I think
[23:11.800] with the reverb, it's not possible. A long reverb. You switch it on. You still have some
[23:21.240] tails there. So there's no real reset off the tail. But this could be interesting at
[23:31.920] least. Okay, so we have basically external devices. You can simulate. You can recreate
[23:39.960] here some rewraps. We can also instead of, and we can also create these rhythmic effect
[23:47.480] here. What I just showed you. But we can also do something like a queuing. Let's go back
[23:57.360] to the initial setting. Let's remove all the modulators. We are back to our initial
[24:09.200] first noise. Oh, noise is missing. Sorry. White noise. Okay, so now that we have voice
[24:26.280] here, we have this, we have a mono, mono noise, white noise, and just use EQ. For example,
[24:34.040] we want to EQ. We cut here off the low end. And maybe boost at 1k. 1k. Okay, nice. Now
[24:57.800] we always do a sample here, just a just a tad. And you can use this here on a con-releucion
[25:10.440] reverb on the drums. All this in. Delete this. Delete this. And we can hear. But you have
[25:26.000] a low cut now here. And the boost at 1k. To be perfectly replicated, the cue setting
[25:35.360] in here on our impulse response on the strum loop. And also go down here to the first few
[25:45.640] samples. But here the resonance kicks in, probably, on the cue. It takes a while to build
[25:55.640] up because it's feedback. Or the cue is made with feedback. So it probably takes some
[26:01.440] samples to build up the resonance. And that's basically also what you do with your external
[26:19.440] EQ, hardware EQs. And you just send through some white noise, dial in some settings, and
[26:28.920] then you can replicate it inside the door. Another interesting use case for me was to instead
[26:36.080] of using this noise burst, we use an ADSR here. We use a long or a longer, longer white noise
[26:46.760] burst, maybe also in stereo. This can be loud here. It's a bit longer. Stop that. And
[27:03.360] bring this down here. It's louder and sampled this. Need to unmute. So we have a long
[27:17.860] sample of white noise here. And we pull this down here into the convolution device.
[27:27.000] And what you can do with this is basically we can diffuse signals. So we have here the
[27:41.400] strum loop. And we can change over the length of the sample how much we wanted to diffuse
[28:03.720] or kind of fake diffuse the signal. So because we can diffuse now the signal, we can use
[28:28.880] this in all kinds of delays. As a feedback, for instance, feedback FX device here, inside
[28:36.960] of this here. So maybe next to bring this down. And now we can diffuse. We can also kind
[29:06.920] of create a reverb here with the convolution inside of the delay one. So this is basically
[29:12.680] our diffusion network, fake diffusion networks. When you have the delay plus the video I showed
[29:18.640] you yesterday, we have this diffusion network here. This is kind of the same thing. You diffuse
[29:24.840] the feedback FX with the convolution and pulse response and get kind of the same thing.
[29:45.040] We roll cherry in there. So the convolution device of physics studio is a very versatile
[30:08.360] effect you can use. And you can re-sample rooms, external hardware, effect chains, VST plug-ins,
[30:18.320] maybe you can use it for diffusion or just a bit of texture on top, maybe. So everything
[30:24.960] also in a very CPU efficient way. So it's useful in all kinds of situations I would say.
[30:33.640] If you liked the video, then please leave a thumbs up and I'll see you in the next one.
[30:37.880] Thank you for watching and bye.