Understanding the differences between reverberation and delay on vocals in live music scenarios : A study on the perceptions and preferences of the live concert audience

University essay from Luleå tekniska universitet/Institutionen för ekonomi, teknik, konst och samhälle

Abstract: Two common vocal processing techniques in pop- and rock music are the use of artificial reverberation or delay. The differences between these effects have been thoroughly studied in the studio environment (Case, 2007; Henriques & Rietveld, 2018; Ronen, 2015), but research is lacking in the live realm. The purpose of this study was to answer the research question: “Understanding the perceived differences in artificial reverberation and delay (echo) on vocals in a live environment. What differences do listeners hear? What do they prefer?”. This was done through a listening test with two groups of participants, the results of which were then compared to opinions and experiences of live sound engineers working professionally within the field. The results of the study showed that listeners preferred stimuli that had been processed with delay and reverb over stimuli that had only been processed with one of the effects. In one of the listener groups, it could be determined that delay was preferred over reverb, but in the other the results were inconclusive. Overall, listeners seemed to prefer hall reverb above plate reverb, and an eighth-note delay over a quarter-note delay.

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