I am the happy owner of a Sony PCM-D50.

I play classical guitar.

What electronic device should I plug the jack output of the Sony microphone to get high quality reverb?

Any advice to avoid feedback that may result? My goal is to play the guitar in a large concert hall and add reverb on the fly.

  • What is Larsen? I'm unfamiliar with the term in this context.
    – Warrior Bob
    Dec 3, 2013 at 17:13
  • not trying to be facetious, but isn't "a large concert hall" the real-world analog which high quality reverb effects seek to emulate?
    – horatio
    Dec 4, 2013 at 16:01
  • @WarriorBob: sorry for using the French word. It is en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audio_feedback
    – Skippy Fastol
    Dec 7, 2013 at 23:15
  • @horatio: no it isn't :). In my case I'd like to emulate a church's acoustics
    – Skippy Fastol
    Dec 7, 2013 at 23:15

3 Answers 3


If you want high quality, then don't use a digital audio recorder as your microphone. Get a good condenser mic, a sound hole mic or a mic you can mount in the sound chamber of the guitar itself and then if you need more reverb you can use a traditional effects unit or effects petal depending on if you are using a powered mic or not.

  • 2
    The PCM-D50 comes with an amazing pair of mics, but is more appropriate for recording the ambience of an actual space than isolating a particular instrument for later post-processing. Dec 3, 2013 at 22:38
  • @ObscureRobot: I can confirm the PCM-D50's mics are stupendous.
    – Skippy Fastol
    Dec 7, 2013 at 23:16

If you want to add reverb to your signal, then you need a reverb unit.

There are two ways to approach this. You can use a standalone reverb unit, or you could use a plugin running on a computer (as well as an audio interface to get audio in and out of the computer). The computer gives you more flexibility, but it also gives you more latency (that is, plugins on a computer will have a few milliseconds of delay). A standalone reverb unit has the advantage of much faster boot times, less chance of crashing, and typically much lower latency than a computer.

Reverb units range from minimalistic "pedal" designs intended for guitar players up through large multi-part rack systems. Personally I find the sweet-spot to be in the 1U rack mount units. There are a ton of great digital reverbs from the last decade or so in the $50-$200 range out on the used market. The Eventide Space is also excellent, but its sound may be too artificial for you (I love it because of its "unrealistic" patches).

AVP isn't about recommending specific gear, so your next step (after deciding whether to go with a hardware reverb or a software plugin) is to go read reviews and listen to the various units out there. I find that Lexicon tends to make more "realistic" reverbs than some of the other brands out there, so that may be a good place to start.

AJ Henderson makes a good point, though. If you want your realistic reverb to sound good you need to feed a great signal into it. I agree with you that the D50 has excellent microphones, but those same mice will pick up a lot of the ambience of the space you are in. You want to feed a dry signal into your reverb for best results. However, if you run your signal into your reverb unit and then play it in a concert hall, you will get the hall's natural reverb on top of yours.

Actually solving your problem probably involves some study of acoustics and a lot of experimentation. You may have better luck hiring an audio engineer with experience doing this kind of thing.


It's rather obvious, but anyway sayin': whatever device produces the reverb, it will do so as an electronic signal, not as sound right away! So you foremostly need a PA to make this audible in a large hall. With such a somewhat large-scale PA, there comes a console that nowadays almost always has a DSP unit built in (or a proper 19" reverb unit). Using a PA, you should definitely have a proper live-suited condenser mic, that works not just for adding the reverb but also providing a good direct sound.

Any solution without a PA is bound to become kind of hackish. Apparently, you want a genuine acoustic performance, with just the reverb added as a special effect. Well, why not try something completely unusual then? Place a single speaker well away from the stage (perhaps on the back wall), pointing at the ceiling. Connect it directly to the microphone (or, your PCM-D50). Turn the volume so the speaker is a little quieter than the guitar itself. This won't sound like a church, but will emphasize the hall's natural sound and give an unexpected room feeling. Since the speaker is so far away, you shouldn't have any feedback issues.

Of course, you might also combine that with a digital reverb. But it still won't sound like a church then, because that to a large deal has to do with the spatial distribution of the reflexes, which you can't hope to get close to with anything less than at least a stereo PA.

  • Very interesting and innovative ideas. Thanks!
    – Skippy Fastol
    Dec 8, 2013 at 19:36
  • Using a PA creatively is a great idea. Dec 9, 2013 at 1:21

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