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Whether it's real or artificial strings they always sound better with reverb. In this video I'm going to show you how to enhance those strings by adding just the right kind of reverb to make them sing. String sound best when we place them in a medium to large artificial hall, because that's how we're used to hearing them. Usually, this means a Hall or Church setting if the reverb unit of the plug-in has one, with a decay time of two or more seconds. Let's have a listen. So here are the strings by themselves. (Music playing) There are three reverbs here.
We are going to the Rev Long. So let's set a bus here and a Rev Long on Bus 13 and 14. Let's listen what it sounds like. (Music playing) It sounds a lot better. Let's see if we can tweak this a little bit. So let's go to a Church setting to hear what it sounds like. (Music playing) That's a really long decay time of 8.7 seconds.
Let's listen in the track. (Music playing) It's a little muddy and that's because of that decay being so long. So if we back this off to 4 seconds or something. Let's have a listen. (Music playing) That's about 4.9 seconds.
Let's listen in the track. (Music playing) Now let's go back to our Hall setting here and let's put this at about 4 seconds or so, because usually a nice long the decayed time really befits the strings. They like it a lot better than the short to decay time. Let's listen to a short decay time first. Let's go to 700 milliseconds, slightly under a second, have a listen to what it sounds like.
(Music playing) So this illustrates a good point. Short decay times usually make something sound bigger and in this case that happens, but it doesn't give us the wash that we're looking for. Now if we bring it back to a second-and-a- half, which is what we generally used for drums. Let's have a listen. (Music playing) Pretty good! But if we bring it back to about 4, you'll find that it'll sound all that much better.
(Music playing) And we could even bring it out more and this depends on the track. Now sometimes you can get away with more and sometimes it will be too much. (Music playing) Let's listen in the track. (Music playing) Okay, next thing we're going to look at is Pre-Delay.
Sometimes adding between 10 and 20 milliseconds allows the attack of the strings to be more noticeable. Longer pre-delays usually don't suit an instrument that's used as a pad element in the mix, which is what the strings are. So let's bring this out to about 20 milliseconds and have a listen now. Solo it up. (Music playing) Now without it. (Music playing) The pre-delay makes it sound that much bigger and a little more distinct, because what happens is you can hear the attack of the strings then you hear the reverb rather than both at the same time.
So it keeps the mix from getting muddy. Let's listen one more time. (Music playing) Now let's listen in the track. (Music playing) You can hear when I muted the reverb on the strings how dull they sounded. They sounded much more realistic even though it's an artificial string patch on the synth. It sounded so much more real when we had the big reverb wash on it.
So to sum things up, string sounds best when we place them in a medium to a large artificial hall, because that's how we're used to hearing them. This means a hall or a church setting with a decay time of 2 seconds or more. Because of the long sustaining quality of the sound of the string section, the decay time is far less important than it is with other instruments.
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