Choosing the right reverb - where do you usually hear the music you're mixing?
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- [Voiceover] Let's talk about reverb for a moment, and how to pick the right one for the song you're working on. It's a difficult question to answer as a blanket rule. So I just want to start off by showing you the first go-to selections I try before I start refining it and making it exactly right. Let's listen to a little bit of Allen Stone's "Freedom." ♫ Freedom ♫ I've gotta get free ♫ You give me that feeling ♫ It's rushing through me ♫ Amazing ♫ Vibration ♫ I'm chasing the power I need ♫ Okay, I played a little bit more of that selection than you might've needed, but that's what I do.
I really spend a lot of time listening before I make any moves on anything. Okay, so let's solo the snare drum for purposes of choosing these reverbs, or hearing these reverbs. And I start with the drums on the reverb selection usually the same way I would start with the drums when I'm putting a mix together because you build things from the bottom up. So here's one called nonlin, it's an AMS digital signal processing type reverb. And let's listen to the snare in that.
The other thing I'd say is that, we're listening to the snare now, but this would also have to work with the toms, and a little bit of the kick, and all the rest of the drums as well if it's gonna work at all. I'll break that rule. So this was a popular and iconic sound in the 80s. And it can still be useful in small doses now, and not sound dated. (slow snare drum) Iconic device. ♫ I can't leave it alone ♫ And everyday when I rise ♫ You break me from my chain ♫ Supernatural high ♫ Alright, so that's one choice.
Not horrible. The second thing I might listen to would be a natural sounding space. This is an impulse response of the Disney Hall. It's a convolution style reverb. ♫ Amazing ♫ Vibration ♫ I'm chasing the power I need ♫ Turn it up a little. ♫ Captive ♫ Reactive ♫ I'm asking to show it to ♫ See how level dependent reverb is? The louder you turn it up the more of the tail you hear and the more of the length.
So not only is the length important, but so is the volume at which you hear it. A nice rule of thumb for sending to reverb is minus 10 from your send fader to a return that's at zero DB. As long as we're on this Disney Hall, let me show you a little bit more of the parameters you can use with this convolution reverb. They're generally less able to be changed than a DSP reverb. But there are still many things you can do. Let's listen. (slow snare drum) Here's meet que.
And although this is a natural room, I can make it sound very unnatural. You can use pre-delay. Lengthens it if you don't get it too far away. There's a mix control dry and wet which I leave all wet cause I've got to send return scheme. Brightness at the input which is more natural sounding. That's very effective.
And then the size control. Listen to the track again. ♫ Feeling that's rushing through me ♫ As a rule, and again, rules are made to be broken, I prefer convolution reverbs for drums or anything with a huge transient footprint because they sound more natural to me. Along those same lines as the AMS reverb is this Lexicon 224 which might be the third thing I would try.
♫ Amazing ♫ Vibration ♫ I'll turn it up so you can hear it. ♫ I'm chasing the power I need ♫ Captive ♫ Reactive ♫ I would never have it that loud, but it allows you to hear it pretty clearly. (slow snare drum) This is a very natural sounding digital reverb that you can hear. And I use it quite a bit. Same kind of controls. You have pre-delay.
And a really nice crossover scheme for adding bottom end or top end in the reverb time. You can change the crossover point as well. Treble decay can make it shorter this way. A lot of options with this pioneering digital reverb unit. Another plugin I would try might be this EMT 250. Another iconic DSP version of algorithmic emulation of a real space.
(slow snare drum) It's important to hear it in the track. What pops out at you? ♫ Captive ♫ Reactive ♫ I'm asking to show it to me ♫ Cause I've been searching around ♫ Turning every stone ♫ I mean we can go on and on. Here's another really nice sounding reverb for drums. ♫ Amazing ♫ Vibration ♫ I'm chasing the power I need ♫ Captive ♫ Reactive ♫ I'm asking to show it to me ♫ Another reverb by Lexicon.
Great algorithm for digital reverbs and infinitely adjustable. This has so many parameters to adjust. You can really make any sound you want. So what I basically do is I go through these and I have the music playing, and I kind of pick the one that immediately grabs me, see if it works on the toms, see if a little kick can go into it, and go on my merry way. And let that set the tone for the ambiance that I choose for the vocal, for the guitars, and for all manner of other instruments. Let's play from the verse and see which one you might choose for this.
♫ Amazing ♫ Vibration ♫ I'm chasing the power I need ♫ Captive ♫ Reactive ♫ I'm asking to show it to me ♫ Cause I've been searching around ♫ Turing every stone ♫ Spun the world upside ♫ Go back to the verse. ♫ Amazing ♫ Vibration ♫ I'm chasing the power I need ♫ Captive ♫ Reactive ♫ I'm asking to show it to me ♫ Cause I've been searching around ♫ Turning every stone ♫ Back to the verse.
Let's check this guy. ♫ Amazing ♫ Vibration ♫ I'm chasing the power I need ♫ Captive ♫ Reactive ♫ I'm asking to show it to me ♫ Cause I've been searching around ♫ Amazing ♫ Vibration ♫ I'm chasing the power I need ♫ Captive ♫ Reactive ♫ I'm asking to show it ♫ There you have it.
That's the process I go through. If you chose the Lexicon 224 you were right. Let's take the song out. Enjoy. ♫ Make me feel golden ♫ Hallelujah pumping right through ya ♫ Holy rolling make me feel golden ♫ Hallelujah pumping right through ya ♫ Holy rolling make me feel ♫ I'm looking for freedom ♫ Oh you give me that feeling ♫
- Choosing the right reverb
- Adding digital delay
- Tuning your mix
- Phase shifting and flanging
- Increasing drum power and presence
- Driving home the groove with acoustic guitars
- Adding sheer volume to your mix
- Affecting the effects
- Making the chorus "pop"
- Knowing when your mix is done