Programming long reverb tails on OP-Z like Aphex Twin's "On the Romance Tip"

I’m a big fan of Aphex Twin’s song “On the Romance Tip”, released back in 1992 under the Caustic Window moniker. In particular, I love the crystalline digital reverbs with ridiculously long tails, as they suit the chords.

My question: Has anyone come up with some strategies for programming long reverb tails for this type of ambient techno on the OP-Z?

If you haven’t, give the song a listen and throw out some ideas if anything occurs to you.

Ordinarily you could think of this kind of reverb as “feature reverb” (as in effect), not something you’d use for placing material, therefore you need it on very few sounds, so, beyond the obvious choice to use a unit offering a ridiculously long reverb (50sec in BigSky), you can preprocess it.

One technique used by Walter Murch on THX-1138 is to play the sound you wish effected at a higher speed, record the reverb, then play the recorded effect at a correspondingly lower speed, which has the effect of elongating the tail (and of course spacing out the early reflections). Example in this video.

Another technique, used by e.g Brothomstates in his early tracker modules, is to play the original sound at a later time but with a fade in, achieving a kind of echo of the original sound but with the attack removed and the echo mixed into the tail of the original sound, or just echoing to create an illusion of space. This works well with percussive sounds, and with not much effort you could record and fade in reverb tails to achieve a longer than usual reverb at the cost of some repetition. On its own it probably won’t sound great, but within a mix you stand a good chance of faking it sufficiently.

Which brings you to a simple technique of elongating reverb - feed the tail through a delay.

These are just a few methods. I’m sure there are many more. Reverb is a strange beast. I’ve tried to code a reverb and it’s a world of wonder - lots of ‘anything goes’ experimentation while piggybacking on number theory.


Great insight on these techniques ! and great movie too.

I meant, creating long reverb tails on the OP-Z. :smiley: But, as @bresk said, great insights.

yes, the answer is structured with the OP-Z in mind. you just have to deal with getting your (pre-processed) sounds in and out. Not unlike in module trackers…

I get what you’re saying, but not in the context of the OP-Z. Meaning, I don’t understand how this applies to the OP-Z.

you need to swap dry samples with reverberated samples and then use reverb on OP-Z. like reverb + reverb = space age

really neat tricks and I think they can be easily adapted once the Sample OS drops and hopefully an internal resample feature! :innocent:


If you want it on OP-Z synth sounds:

  1. Record one-shot of your synth patch into your DAW or wave editor
  2. Apply ridiculous/lush reverb via a plugin, however long you like
  3. Render to WAV
  4. Pitch it up (the old way, using resampling rather than pitch-shifting) so it fits within 6 seconds, and make it mono
  5. Put into OP-Z synth folder as a sample instrument
  6. Play it back on lower octaves so the notes are close to the original octave you recorded

There you go! It might be a bit lo-fi, and you’ll have to play with your release times, but it should work pretty well, especially on the chord channel where there is enough polyphony to have a few notes (and therefore, reverb tails) ringing out. You can also add the OP-Z internal reverb to it to increase stereo depth.

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Yeah, I was 100% certain @eesn meant bringing wet samples into the OP-Z with the above techniques. I don’t know why I didn’t just ask if that’s what they meant.

All good ideas. I’ve not been loading anything onto the OP-Z—just working with out of box sounds. So, naturally, I was curious if long reverbs like the Aphex Twin track above, “On the Romance Tip”, were possible with the out of the box sounds.

Seems like it’s not possible.

Yeah, this is something I do with my Digitakt, but haven’t done with my OP-Z. I was hoping there might be some onboard hacks for long reverbs that didn’t necessitate me messing with software, samples, etc.

Yeah the reverb is more like a spring rather than a lush quadraverb style reverb. You might be able to fake something with careful adjustment of decay times, slight LFOs and the built in reverb…

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Indeed. I feel like Teenage Engineering should design a Quadraverb-style reverb for the OP-Z.

and u can use the last 4 time steps in the delay FX for a straight looping feature, increasing the respective controls of course!
really dreamy and unstepped (pitchbend recording ;))

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of course it’s not possible unless you’re willing to make an effort to overcome its limitations. i.e. takes actual programming.

I feel won’t happen. 1: they seem to be fond of the trash aesthetic of cheap delay-based effects, 2: lush reverbs are processor-expensive, but also take a while to nail down so the investment is significant. 3: they wouldn’t be able to label it as a “creative”, “creatively limited”, and “unique” effect, contributing to the “sound” of the Z (or 1 for that matter). And the lush long verb went to Elektron :]