Imagine that you just moved into a brand new apartment. After all those years of hard work, your efforts are finally paying off. High-five! You’ve earned it! You are enjoying everything about this well-deserved upgrade, but there’s one thing you have to make peace with until your new furniture arrives; the “loudness” of all that empty space around you that sometimes makes you miss your old cosy apartment.
Every room has a sound signature which is called reverberation. It’s the sound of empty space. Since reverberation has always been around, we are rather used to its presence and our auditory system can easily adapt to it. However, listening in reverberant environments significantly reduces what we call "listening comfort". This is the reason why you’ll miss your previous cosy apartment until your new furniture and carpets arrive. In reverberant conditions, it’s difficult not to get distracted while trying to follow a conversation or a speech, as your auditory system has to put extra effort into filtering out the distorting frequencies that reverberation creates. This is also the case for recorded interviews and podcasts. Keep the voice sound tight and focused and I guarantee you that you will retain your audience either you do podcasts, vlogs or radio shows.
The internet has enabled the creation of an international audience. This creates an extra need for further improving the audio quality in recorded media as not everyone in your audience is a native speaker! And finally, both the reduction of speech intelligibility and the acoustic discomfort are even more pronounced for people with hearing difficulties.
All these problems can be (partially or totally) solved by using dereverberation processing. Despite the fact that dereverberation has been a hot research topic for quite some time, it appears to be a very difficult issue to resolve. Our auditory system has been evolving for millions of years, but our signal processing engines have been struggling to keep up during the last 60 years. This is why traditional dereverberation methods are computationally expensive and introduce severe processing artifacts.
Until now, that is.
Watch this video on how to remove excessive reverb with the turn of a simple dial.