In the early years of the recording studio, engineers had to rely on microphone placement and echo chambers to get the reverb that they desired for certain tracks. This all would change when the German company EMT built the first artificial reverb unit in 1957. Dubbed the EMT 140, this plate reverb would go on to become one of the most revered and often copied sounds in audio history.
What exactly is the EMT 140 Plate Reverb? While the unit itself is pretty massive, the concept of how it works is pretty simple. A steel frame holds a large thin piece of sheet metal via springs attached to each corner of the outer structure. At the center of the piece of sheet metal, there is a transducer, which gets a signal from the studio's control room. The transducer vibrates the sheet metal and two pickups mounted to the plate pick up the resulting vibrations. The EMT 140 also features a dampener that allows you to dial in decay time. Continue reading →