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Timing the reverb to the track

From: Audio Mixing Bootcamp

Video: Timing the reverb to the track

One of the secrets of hit-making engineers is that they time the reverb to the track. That means timing both the pre- delay and the decay so it breathes with the pulse of the track. The decay of a reverb is timed to the track by triggering it off a snare hit. The decay parameter is adjusted so that the decay just dies by the next snare hit. The idea is to make the decay breathe with the track. The reason why we want to do this is timing the delay to the beat of the track and add depth without the reverb being noticeable. Let's have a listen. Here is a track without any reverb.

Timing the reverb to the track

One of the secrets of hit-making engineers is that they time the reverb to the track. That means timing both the pre- delay and the decay so it breathes with the pulse of the track. The decay of a reverb is timed to the track by triggering it off a snare hit. The decay parameter is adjusted so that the decay just dies by the next snare hit. The idea is to make the decay breathe with the track. The reason why we want to do this is timing the delay to the beat of the track and add depth without the reverb being noticeable. Let's have a listen. Here is a track without any reverb.

(Music playing) Let's listen to just the snare drum. (Music playing) And what we're going to do is add a Send. Now I know because I've preset this already Bus 11 and 12 is actually my send to the first reverb. So let's bring this up and have a listen to what it sounds like. (Music playing) So the decay is far longer than it needs to be, because it bleeds over and pass the next drum hit. So we'll bring that back and have a listen.

(Music playing) We'll add even more. That's about the right amount though. (Music playing) Maybe back it off a bit more. (Music playing) Now it's time to the track and have a listen to what it sounds like.

(Music playing) Now what happened here is the snare sounds bigger. It sounds fatter, it blends into the track better, but you don't really notice it is a reverb helping it out. You can time to pre-delay to the track by using the following formula. 7,500 divided by the Beats per minute of the track equals a delay time in milliseconds.

As an example, if we had a song that was a 125 beats per minute, this is the formula: 7,500 divided by a 125 beats per minute equals 60 milliseconds. This is the delay of a 32nd note. If that's too long you can divide the result of the formula by 2 to get a 64 note delay of 30 milliseconds, or you can double it to a delay of a 16th node which is a 120 milliseconds. Any other amount that's visible like 45 milliseconds or 90 milliseconds will also sound pretty good.

So for it to time to pre-delay it to this track, we happen to know that it's at 104 beats per minute. So if we use a formula here, it goes 7500 divided by a 104 beats per minute and that comes out to 72 milliseconds. I'll just type 72 milliseconds in. Let's have a listen. (Music playing) I can hear there is like a second note there, so what we do is we bring the reverb down in intensity and have a listen.

(Music playing) Let's listen to what that's like in the track. (Music playing) Now you really don't hear that delay and the reason why is it timed to the track, so you don't hear it as a distinct delay. Now what might work better is if we cut that in half. Instead of 72 milliseconds, if we cut it into half to 36, it might sound a little different.

Let's do that and have a listen. Let's solo it and listen. (Music playing) Here is a difference between no Pre- Delay and a 36 millisecond Pre-Delay. (Music playing) You can hear there is a little bit of separation there. Let's listen in the track. (Music playing) And the reason why you don't hear the separation is it's timed to the track.

So what we're trying to do is make this blend in instead of send out. If we wanted to stand out, we don't time it to the track. We just set an arbitrary number that sounds good to us and we use that. If we wanted to, we could actually double the pre-delay time, we could cut it in half again. Any of those will make a big difference in the way it sounds. Another way the time that pre-delay to the track is to use the ultimate delay time iPhone application or the chart in the mixing engineer's handbook. Even if you decide not to time the pre- delay to the track, pre-delay can still be very effective. Even if you only use 10 or 20 milliseconds just arbitrarily, you'll find that it thickens up the sound of the reverb.

So let's take the Pre-delay to 0, we'll solo up our snare, and have a quick listen. (Music playing) Watch what happens when we remove to 10 milliseconds. (Music playing) Watch me go to 20. (Music playing) There is a big difference from the way it sounds at 0 milliseconds Pre-Delay to 10 or 20 milliseconds.

It's just a thicker sounding reverb and it works better in the track.

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This video is part of

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Audio Mixing Bootcamp

103 video lessons · 19433 viewers

Bobby Owsinski
Author

 
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  1. 1m 16s
    1. Welcome
      1m 16s
  2. 8m 20s
    1. Determining the listening position
      2m 27s
    2. Fixing acoustic problems
      2m 5s
    3. Setting up your monitors
      3m 48s
  3. 20m 17s
    1. Setting up your session
      5m 52s
    2. Setting up your subgroups
      7m 50s
    3. Setting up your effects
      6m 35s
  4. 8m 45s
    1. Developing the groove
      3m 46s
    2. Emphasizing the most important elements
      3m 44s
    3. Knowing what to avoid
      1m 15s
  5. 1h 4m
    1. Learning the principles of building a mix
      1m 1s
    2. Assigning the drums to a subgroup
      3m 55s
    3. Building the mix from the kick
      10m 8s
    4. Building the mix from the snare
      8m 46s
    5. Building the mix from the toms
      5m 25s
    6. Building the mix from the overhead mics
      3m 53s
    7. Checking the drum phase
      4m 44s
    8. Balancing direct and miked bass channels
      3m 36s
    9. Building the mix from the bass
      3m 26s
    10. Building the mix from the vocals
      4m 19s
    11. Balancing the rhythm section
      2m 44s
    12. Balancing the rest of the instruments with the rhythm section
      5m 22s
    13. Making a mix without building it
      4m 20s
    14. Balancing the harmony vocals
      2m 35s
  6. 23m 2s
    1. Looking at the three main panning areas
      9m 23s
    2. Panning the drums
      6m 9s
    3. Avoiding pseudo-stereo
      7m 30s
  7. 1h 17m
    1. Understanding compressor parameters
      3m 42s
    2. Setting up the compressor
      14m 44s
    3. Compressing the drums
      7m 53s
    4. Compressing the room mics
      4m 9s
    5. Compressing the bass
      5m 24s
    6. Using the New York compression trick
      4m 23s
    7. Compressing the clean electric guitars
      4m 40s
    8. Compressing the distorted electric guitars
      4m 48s
    9. Compressing the acoustic guitars
      8m 7s
    10. Compressing the piano
      6m 35s
    11. Compressing the electric keyboards
      4m 32s
    12. Compressing the vocals
      4m 34s
    13. Compressing the horns
      3m 55s
  8. 25m 36s
    1. Learning noise gate basics
      9m 23s
    2. Using the noise gate on guitars
      3m 57s
    3. Using the noise gate on drums
      7m 38s
    4. Learning de-esser basics
      2m 15s
    5. Using the de-esser on vocals
      2m 23s
  9. 36m 4s
    1. Understanding equalizer parameters
      10m 16s
    2. Learning subtractive equalization
      8m 57s
    3. Learning frequency juggling
      8m 28s
    4. Using the magic high-pass filter
      7m 39s
    5. Learning the principles of equalization
      44s
  10. 49m 46s
    1. Equalizing the kick
      6m 7s
    2. Equalizing the snare
      2m 57s
    3. Equalizing the rack toms
      5m 4s
    4. Equalizing the floor tom
      4m 32s
    5. Equalizing the hi-hat
      4m 56s
    6. Equalizing the cymbal or the overhead mics
      6m 49s
    7. Equalizing the room mics
      5m 13s
    8. Equalizing the bass
      3m 59s
    9. Editing the bass rhythm
      4m 21s
    10. Equalizing the rhythm section
      5m 48s
  11. 47m 58s
    1. Equalizing the electric guitar
      8m 15s
    2. Equalizing the acoustic guitar
      4m 55s
    3. Equalizing the hand percussion
      3m 28s
    4. Equalizing the lead vocals
      6m 5s
    5. Equalizing the background vocals
      4m 14s
    6. Equalizing the piano
      4m 46s
    7. Equalizing the organ
      6m 49s
    8. Equalizing the strings
      6m 4s
    9. Equalizing the horns
      3m 22s
  12. 30m 47s
    1. Learning the principles of reverb
      1m 59s
    2. Understanding reverb parameters
      6m 49s
    3. Timing the reverb to the track
      6m 6s
    4. Equalizing the reverb
      2m 51s
    5. Using the two-reverb quick setup
      5m 35s
    6. Using the three-reverb setup
      7m 27s
  13. 59m 8s
    1. Adding reverb to the drums
      7m 56s
    2. Adding reverb to the vocals
      11m 59s
    3. Adding reverb to the guitars
      5m 17s
    4. Adding reverb to the piano
      4m 19s
    5. Adding reverb to the organ
      3m 43s
    6. Adding reverb to the strings
      5m 36s
    7. Adding reverb to the horns
      2m 57s
    8. Adding reverb to the percussion
      4m 46s
    9. Using reverb to layer the mix
      12m 35s
  14. 46m 8s
    1. Learning delay principles
      1m 40s
    2. Understanding delay parameters
      6m 54s
    3. Timing the delay to the track
      1m 28s
    4. Using delay timing variations
      2m 51s
    5. Equalizing the delay
      4m 23s
    6. Understanding the Haas effect
      2m 51s
    7. Using the three-delay setup
      7m 23s
    8. Adding delay to the vocals
      8m 43s
    9. Using delay to layer the mix
      9m 55s
  15. 21m 35s
    1. Understanding the types of modulation
      2m 43s
    2. Understanding modulation parameters
      4m 13s
    3. Modulating the guitars
      4m 7s
    4. Modulating the keyboards
      3m 17s
    5. Modulating the vocals
      4m 17s
    6. Modulating the strings
      2m 58s
  16. 12m 22s
    1. Mixing with subgroups
      5m 5s
    2. Using mix buss compression
      4m 21s
    3. Understanding the evils of hypercompression
      2m 56s
  17. 39s
    1. Goodbye
      39s

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