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What do echo and reverbation have in common?

They are the reflection of sound waves, they are formed when sound waves meet a hard surface, they cause a repetition of the sound. The waves keep having the same frequency (the source doesn't change); They have the same speed and length as they had before the reflection, because the environment doesn't change. Is there anything else?

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2 Answers 2

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Echo and Reverberation are both types reflected sound. Echo typically refers to a single reflection that's from a surface that's large compared to the wave length and that produces a specular reflection (in contrast to a diffuse reflection). It creates a visible peak in the impulse response that's concentrated around a single point in time and doesn't temporarily overlap with other reflected sounds. An echo has a distinct time of arrival and direction of incidence.

Reverberation is the combination of multiple reflected sounds where the individual reflections are not discernible any more. The reflected sounds can be specular reflections, diffuse reflections, room modes, etc. In the impulse response reverberation is spread out over a significant amount of time, typically with an exponential decay. It's spatially diffuse, i.e. has no defined direction of incidence.

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Its like warm and hot. They are pretty much the same.

Reverberation is the echo you get in a small enclosed space. Echo is all echoes.

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  • $\begingroup$ The sound engineer's definition would be that echo is a recognisable repeat (or repeats) of a sound, however soon it occurs, while reverb is a diffuse mass of echoes which are not distinguishable from each other: 'slapback echo' for instance is the echo you get in a very small space, while 'arena reverb' is the reverberation you get in a huge space. So it's not -- at least to a sound engineer -- about the size of the space. $\endgroup$
    – user107153
    Commented May 29, 2016 at 18:34

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