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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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