Does anybody know how to build a real PLATE reverb?

Tim Brown

New member
Hi, I have a home studio; it's 16 Track Digital based around a pair of DA-38's...
I am constantly looking for effects that make my recordings more "Original"; in the sense that in the 60's and early 70's, certain studios had certain sounds which were deemd more "musical".
The ONLY reason that I went with Digital, was that I could not afford to go with a 2" Machine.
Okay, let me rephrase that, I could afford a used2" machine-what I couldn't afford was the TAPE! i do alot of recording, and just couldn't justify spending for 2" Tape.

I have several older effect units that I use that most people would shun away from, such as a Sound Workshop Spring reverb, and an old Tube reverb that I bought at a garage sale for $10.00! It just needed a new tube-and it sounds awesome. It was originally a home stereo unit from the early 70's (it's a panasonic I think, I can't remember right off hand).

Anyway, does anyone know how to build a real PLATE reverb?

I saw one a few years ago, and the guy wanted $500 bucks for it-it was HUGE man, and came from like CBS recording studios from the 50's or 60's. Sounded amazing. It was much better than the DSP variety.

So, does anyone know how to build one, if so how?

I've built a few things, and dabbled in electronics for about 10 years.
I got into this, because nobody else in my first band wanted to know how to hook up the PA or try to fix stuff when it broke.
I thought what the hell, it's already broken! So, I learned how to solder and all of that goodstuff (just like the rest of you guys did-it's part of the love of recording! The electronic dabblers! Hahaha)
I'm constantly doing things that would seem unorthadox to most, but hey-if it sounds good, it sounds good! That's the name of the game.

Thanx guys,

The bad news is I couldn't find anything. The good news is I did find an interesting site with lots of useful technical information on calculating reverb times among other stuff.

If someone does find instructions on building a plate verb, I'd sure be interested as well.

If someone does find instructions on building a plate verb, I'd sure be interested as well.

I know basically how it works, but I would need to know the Details.
The one that I saw was about 10-12" deep(Front to back), about 3'(36") tall, and about 7'(84") wide.
Pretty good sized, but Heck-I figured I could just mount it along the wall! hahaha

as I remember them plates are basically a large sheet of steel that is suspended by adjustable springs. The amount of tension on the springs effects the tuning of the plate that must be even all over. You then mount a transducer (speaker driver) in the middle of the plate and then place two (for stereo) contact mics at each end of the plate. When you send sound via the speaker the plate vibrates and the two mics pick up the vibration as reverb. They also have a sheet of fibreboard the same size as the plate that is on hinges and can be brought up against the plate but not quite touching it - this acts as a air dampener and controls the delay time of the reverb. I have seen home made plates that sound great - the other alternative is to build a chamber which you can make out of a concrete water tank or a long concrete pipe - put a speaker in one end and a mike(or two) in the other. It will piss on most of the cheap reverb units and was all we had prior to digital sound.
Well, This is what I could figure out

1. "Audio Electronics" 1982 Issue has an article of how to build one.

2. Effect Design - Part 1: Reverberator and Other Filters By Jon Dattorro, Journal of the Audio Engineering Society, Vol.45, No. 9, 1997, p. 660-684
An article that includes a graphical plate reverb recipe.

3. As to construction specifics:
Thin steel sheet 3’ X 6’(1/64” thin)
Enclosed in 8’ x 4’ frame.

Well, well. I'm sure gonna see if I can find those articles in a library and see how much work and cost it would be to build one...
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by regebro:
Well, This is what I could figure out
Well, well. I'm sure gonna see if I can find those articles in a library and see how much work and cost it would be to build one...

Thanks regebro!

I'll race you to the Library!!

I'm gonna see if I can go tonight.

Actually, I'm gonna look and see if there are any ONLINE Libraries that might have this article!!

You my head for something other than a hair garden!

I knew that i had seen an article years ago on how to build one, bu I didn't know where.
I took some recording classes at the local Community College, and they had like 20 years of recording magazines. They had EVERY Issue of db magazine and Re/Producer (I loved that Mag!)

The courses were a waste of time-The guy who taught them was a Video guy, and i had to explain to him in front of the calss (because he didn't have a clues as to) what an anechoic chamber was-and I was like 19., and he was supposedly working in this field for 20+ years! Hahaha

Oh well, he was a nice guy-just needed to brush up on recording before he taught the class.