Reverse Ghost Reverb (With Instructions)

Sound like a ghost with this amazing sounding audio effect idea for vocals.

@sounds_like_soma Reverse ghost reverb is an amazing sound effect for vocal audio #reverb #ableton #producertok #audioengineering #musicengineering ♬ original sound - Sounds Like Soma

First, let’s give you a quick introduction to what reverb actually is. Feel free to skip ahead as you just want to learn about how reverse ghost reverb is made.

What is reverb?

Whether you know it or not, you hear reverb on a daily basis. Every time someone talks in a room or walks on a hard floor, the sound you make changes within the space you are in. A bathroom sounds different from inside a car, even if it is the same person talking. Hard and bright reflections of a bathroom may echo and reverberate longer than a smaller, more intimate, padded area of a car’s interior.

The definition of reverb

Reverb occurs when a sound in a space sends sound waves in all directions. The surfaces those sound waves hit can reflect, redirect, or absorb frequencies of the original sound, giving them a unique fingerprint until the sound dies off and returns to silence. Those series of reflected frequencies are what we call reverb.

How is reverb used in audio productions?

Reverb is used in most songs we hear today. It adds depth to a vocal or instrument by putting it in a desirable space - think about the sound of singing in the bathroom compared to the HUGE sound of an announcer in a sports stadium. Sound engineers capture or try to recreate these desired spaces to add to their own music.

Even in the world of TV and movies, reverb is used to make dialog in a car sound like it’s actually a car, then in reality many of these audio takes are recorded in an acoustically treated vocal booth at a Recording Studio.

Thanks to modern software, audio engineers are about to digitally re-create a variety of spaces by adding reverb to a sound. But there is MUCH more we can do than simply adding space. There are more unique effects, like what I call the Reverse Ghost Reverb. You have heard this sound effect used in movies to depict the way a ghost would talk.

It is difficult to describe what’s going on without hearing it, so before you read further, consider taking a listen to this demo on YouTube or TikTok!

ghost reverb audio effects for vocals

Instructions for Reverse Ghost Reverb Audio Effect

Here are typed out instructions on how to create this effect for yourself on your own DAW. This method will work on any digital audio workstation with any reverb audio effect plugin at your disposal.

  • Start by duplicating a vocal on an audio track, and cutting out everything except for the beginning word or syllable that you want the effect on.
  • Consolidate to the grid.
  • Reverse the dry sound
  • Throw a BIG reverb on it. All the way wet. Turn up the reverb time. A longer tail will give you more flexibility to shorten or manipulate it later on.
  • Now, solo and export just this sound and bring it back into your program (If you are using Ableton Live, you can freeze and flatten that track instead of exporting it).
  • Reverse that audio and line it up in front of the original recording.
  • Now you have a cool fade in build-up effect for your vocals

spooky ghost

Final Thoughts

So far, I have not heard any other name for it than ‘reverse ghost reverb’. If you know of a better name, please let me know!

Want to learn more audio production tips? Consider checking out my channel on YouTube or TikTok! If you want one of our experts to record, mix, or master your audio, reach out to us through the studio Contact Page. We would love to hear what you’re working on!

Written by Zachary Hanni on January 25th 2023