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Get in the Mix: Supporting a track with regenerative reverb

From: Foundations of Audio: Reverb

Video: Get in the Mix: Supporting a track with regenerative reverb

The sonic appeal of lush reverberation does have limits. Our background vocals feed a long reverb, running a long haul preset.

Get in the Mix: Supporting a track with regenerative reverb

The sonic appeal of lush reverberation does have limits. Too much reverb can definitely be disappointing. But there are times when we want to push somehow for more of that ear tingling experience without clouding our mix. In a down tempo moment in any song, or on the lead vocal on a ballad, or with any string pad, horn section, or choir we have another way to add pop polish. I like to call this next effect regenerative reverb. Where we allow the reverb to interact with some carefully chosen delays, so that it pulses on underneath the track.

It's a bit of a complicated setup, so let's get the signal flow right first. Our background vocals feed a long reverb, running a long haul preset. The background vocals also feed a delay processor with multiple delays each tune to a rhythmically useful delay time. Then the output of the delays themselves are fed to the same long haul reverb. The goal is to have the background vocals trigger a reverberating event that isn't simply a single room decane. Instead we want these delays to feed the reverb, so we get a rhythmically pulsing extra push of reverb.

This reverb effect is very subtle. On first listen it might just sound like regular reverb. Using a single reverb that lasts as long as this effect would clutter the mix. It's the delays that let us use a shorter reverb time and coax it into a longer effect. Here's a course in the tune millionaire by Eoka. Pay attention to the reverb on the harmony vocals behind and around the lead vocal. >> I am rich, I know, oh I know, but I feel like I am a millionaire, I feel like I am a millionaire.

I am rich, I know, oh I know oh I know I know, but I feel like I am a millionaire, I feel like I am a millionaire, millionaire. For reverb we'll use a simple large haul, and set the reverb time, to four and a half seconds. And push the pre delay, into the mid thirties. A little high frequency roll off keeps it natural sounding. The regenerative reverb also includes this multi-tap delay using three of the taps. I set two taps to a delay time very near a half-note and hard pan them.

The left delay lands a tic ahead of a halfnote and the right delay is a hair late. That gives a wide, slightly left leaning impact at the half note point. I set the third delay to a dotted half note and pan it slightly to the right. In its typical use, this sort of delay effect would create crisp echoes on the vocals. >> I'm rich, I knows, I know but I feel like I am a millionaire. I feel like I am a millionaire. >> To create the regenerative reverb effect, the mix is adjusted so that the delays are very wet, presenting a moving bed of reverb.

Without this regenerative reverb, those background vocals would be disappointing. >> Let's listen to the reverb effect on the background vocals without the other tracks. >> I'm rich, oh, I know, oh I know. But I feel like I am a millionaire. I feel like I am a millionaire. >> The vocals still sounds reasonably natural, but somehow hyped. That's because, in part, the reverb is sustaining and supporting what they sang without obscuring or clouding what we hear.

Listen now as I stop the background vocals abruptly so you can hear the regenerative reverb linger on in isolation. This is a tricky effect to balance. Too much, and your mix becomes messy, awash in too much reverb, too little, and we've failed our artist, we've failed to make these vocals even better than the real thing. This is the sort of effect where you push it up and you pull it back down and you push it back up only not as far and pull it back down just a little until you find the right placement in the mix where you can just barely hear it. >> I ain't rich.

I know. Oh I know but I feel like I am a millionaire. I feel like I, I am a millionaire. I am rich. I know it. Oh, I know, I know what I feel like I am a millionaire. I feel like I am a millionaire. >> In fact, for this sort of effect, you place it so that you aren't even sure it's even audible. You want to be able to hit the mute buttons on the reverb return and feel disappointment when it's gone.

And when you unmute it, you want to hear the background vocals getting wider, more interesting, and more intrueging. Without getting the least bit blurry, without getting the least bit difficult to understand. >> I am rich, I know. Oh, I know, but I feel like I am a millionaire. I feel like I am a millionaire. I am rich, I know. Oh, I know, I know. But I feel like I a millionaire, I feel like I am a millionaire. >> We don't want it to sound like it has too much of an effect, we want it to have a whole lot of, almost undetectable effect, it's a tricky balance.

This regenerative reverb is a common mix move for ballads, perfect for the lead vocal. And it's great for any simple, slow-moving, solo instrument, that's musically rather simple, but needs added sonic interest. Built on reverb and delays, it's a complicated patch of effects to get under control. It requires a bit of time, practice and careful listening to build it into the sort of magic dust we like to sprinkle on some of our mixes.

Show transcript

This video is part of

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Foundations of Audio: Reverb

39 video lessons · 8191 viewers

Alex U. Case
Author

 
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  1. 9m 41s
    1. Welcome
      1m 58s
    2. What you need to know before watching this course
      2m 18s
    3. Songs you should listen to while watching this course
      2m 46s
    4. Using the exercise files
      55s
    5. Using the Get in the Mix session files
      1m 44s
  2. 6m 44s
    1. What is reverb?
      2m 35s
    2. Why do we use reverb?
      4m 9s
  3. 24m 33s
    1. Capturing reverb acoustically through room tracks
      5m 33s
    2. Creating reverb acoustically through a reverb chamber
      2m 51s
    3. Creating reverb mechanically using springs and plates
      5m 8s
    4. Creating reverb digitally via algorithms and convolution
      4m 51s
    5. Optimizing signal flow, effects loops, and CPU resources
      6m 10s
  4. 39m 10s
    1. The anatomy of reverberation
      3m 8s
    2. Mastering reverb time, predelay, and wet/dry mix parameters
      5m 36s
    3. Understanding the frequency dependence of reverberation
      4m 56s
    4. Tapping into advanced parameters such as diffusion, density, and more
      4m 37s
    5. Reference values from the best orchestra halls
      5m 40s
    6. Hearing beyond the basic parameters
      5m 31s
    7. Touring the interfaces for six reverb plugins
      9m 42s
  5. 1h 32m
    1. Choosing the right reverb for each of your tracks
      2m 17s
    2. Simulating space with reverb
      5m 42s
    3. Hearing space in the mix
      6m 33s
    4. Timbre and texture
      3m 36s
    5. Shaping tone and timbre with reverb
      5m 49s
    6. Creating contrasting sounds for your tracks
      4m 43s
    7. Using nonlinear reverb to help a track cut through
      4m 25s
    8. Emphasizing the reverb using predelay
      3m 24s
    9. Strategically blurring and obscuring tracks
      1m 46s
    10. Get in the Mix: Changing the scene by changing reverb
      7m 37s
    11. Get in the Mix: Gating reverb to emphasize any track in your production
      5m 52s
    12. Reversing reverb to highlight musical moments
      9m 36s
    13. Synthesizing new sounds through reverb
      6m 42s
    14. Get in the Mix: Supporting a track with regenerative reverb
      6m 31s
    15. Getting the most out of room tracks
      17m 39s
  6. 11m 32s
    1. Setting up your own reverb chamber: The architecture
      2m 2s
    2. Setting up your own reverb chamber: The audio
      4m 8s
    3. Using convolution correctly
      2m 32s
    4. Getting great impluse response
      2m 50s
  7. 1m 29s
    1. Next steps
      1m 29s

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