A Questions About Reverb

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by Griff, May 19, 2005.


  1. Griff

    Griff Member

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    In the opinion of youse guys what know more than me (which would be about everybody here...) is it better to put a little reverb on individual tracks or one reverb over the entire song globally?

    I seem to suffer with what I assume is a typical recording newbie problem: I over use reverb and end up sounding like I'm playing at the bottom of well...

    All advice welcome and appreciated.
     
  2. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    A lot of people these days use no reverb at all, but it depends on genre and style.

    I generally use one, sometimes two or three, depending. No more than that. But the trick is to send very little from each track and to send them in varying amounts, not enough to make the mix wet but just damp enough to be interesting. :)

    Room, hall or plate for vox and as a overall verb.
    Plate for traps, room or plate for percussion.
    Chorus/reverb and/or room for guitars or other instruments.
    Last year I got a NICE spring reverb for electric guitars and keyboards that just kills me.

    You'd think that's a lot, but watching the meters from the reverbs' returns you see very little going on. When I was starting out, like everyone else I made my mixes all lush and mushy. Why? Because I could. Now they are nearly dry. Some vocals sound best dry or with a little delay, others sound best with at least a touch of room ambience. Depends on the singer and the song.

    I sometimes send just a taste of one reverb's return to another, like a taste of the chorus/reverb to the room reverb.

    Also, on nearly every effects send I use a high pass filter that rolls off low frequencies, usually 300 - 500 hz and below, depending. Keeps the mud from piling up.

    If the whole thing sounds too wet then just lower the returns. It's easy!
     
  3. Greggy

    Greggy Member

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    Griff,

    I went thru the same learning process you are going thru. I can relate to your bottom of the well comment. The point is your ears will adjust over time, as they become better adapted to judging sound.

    I've now reached the point where I use little to no reverb on rhythm guitar tracks. Sounds better to me to double track guitar parts as opposed to adding verb/delay. The double tracking can add a sense of space without the mud, provided you get a clean sound to begin with (mic placement, amp settings, eq, etc.). Small amount of verb on drums. A little delay on lead guitar, chorus sometimes also. My use of fx has decreased around 70% or so over the last year.
     
  4. TAVD

    TAVD Guitar Player Gold Supporting Member

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    My digital mixer makes it easy for me. I add them to individual tracks at mixdown using the fx feeds and the same reverb preset. I use it sparingly, mostly on things like drum machines.
     
  5. KungFuLio

    KungFuLio Senior Member

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    I think a well placed delay can be far more effective than a reverb. On a typical mix I will have seven to ten delays involved and one or two reverbs. The key is just don't use too much.
     
  6. MrGuitarguy

    MrGuitarguy Member

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    Griff,
    What are you recording on? Generally I like things to sound as if they were recorded together, even if they weren't. What I do is find a reverb I like a lot then assign it to an Aux. Then just use a bus to add the reverb on each track to taste. I do it in protools, myself. This allows you to add more or less on each instrument, but makes things sound uniform. You may want to use some other reverbs as well, but this will help you get started. The same technique (not excatly a close gaurded secret. lol!) works for instruments as well (i.e., do the same verb on the drums to make it all sound "together").

    Forgive me for posting such a basic concept if that's not what you needed, but I wasn't sure from your post if you had explored this yet.
     
  7. Griff

    Griff Member

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    Thanks guys, for all the responses.

    No forgiveness needed. My recording skills are about as basic as they come.

    I have Cubase SX3 on a 1.2 gig PC (Windows XP). I also have plenty of memory, a Focusrite Penta pre-amp/comp, Shure KSM32, and an M Audio soundcard. I think my recording gear is pretty good for a hobby-ist. The lousy sound must be me.

    I appreciate your advice.
     
  8. LSchefman

    LSchefman Supporting Member

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    Everyone has his/her own methods, but I mix with everything dry before adding effects. Then when I bring up effects on various tracks, I can hear them in the context of the overall piece of music.

    Don't set reverbs with headphones as monitors, one tends to overuse the effect because there's no room reflections to hear.

    I agree with Michael's approach to reverb, incidentally, though I generally like a little crazier/rawer sound than he does.

    Vocals - rarely reverb, usually a little delay.

    Guitars - rarely reverb, if used, only a splash. Guitar solos I use an almost imperceptible amount of delay on.

    Drums - some kind of plate program.

    Bass - nothing

    Synths - here is where I will use lots of effects. Hey, they're not SUPPOSED to sound real! :D

    Sampled orchestral instruments - a decent amount of hall reverb works for me here.

    Loops - I mangle them through whatever crap I have lying around.

    But to show you how opposite stuff can work really well, a guy I partner with who is an AMAZING composer and mixer uses a real plate on just about everything, and lots of wash on a vocal. He has two EMT plates in his studio, with remote controls for them built into his modded Neotek Elite console. I always think he overdoes it, until I hear the mix, which usually sounds absolutely brilliant.

    So I think a lot of it is about your personal vision, and getting there as you get used to working with the gear.
     
  9. Bluzsteel

    Bluzsteel Member

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    Always record dry. you can put it down where the singer hears it wet but does not go to the input. I get it to where I like it and then back it off a little, then its usually where it needs to be. once its on there you cant take it off.
     
  10. KungFuLio

    KungFuLio Senior Member

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    In the reading I've done, this is a very "American Way" of recording. A good read on this subject is Behind the Glass by Howard Massey. I've started to stray from this method because you are forced to MAKE DECISIONS NOW which has huge advantages. Print some reverbs, especially directly behind a mono source. You'll be amazed at how much your mixes can start to open up. Also, there are no rules to recording your own music, and the only rule to recording others music is to make the client happy.
     
  11. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Right, nor kick.
     
  12. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    GREAT book!! A fun read, too!
     
  13. Bassomatic

    Bassomatic Silver Supporting Member

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    I tend to favor using more ambience delays over reverbs in a mix, though i do love my reverbs. I tend to use precious little of either, level-wise (at least on more pop-oriented [non-dubby] mixes). Lately, i've been leaning more on trace amounts of short and very short verbs, especially for things like guitar and voice, for the can't-really-hear-it-but-you-miss-it-on-mute thing. For drums i sometimes dig the odd room as well as more usual plate settings. Bass, dry but i like to mess with it after the fact, or record with stompboxes, or do nothing but compress it (often the case).

    Favored secret weapon for some dirt on voxes, bass, and drums: UAD's Nigel (though i don't dig it much on guitar). Some skronk to take the place of my departed Maestro SS Echoplex.
     
  14. LSchefman

    LSchefman Supporting Member

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    >>Originally posted by LSchefman
    Bass - nothing
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Right, nor kick.<<

    I use reverb on kick. Just a little. My recording booth is very dry. In a big room, the kick is going to reverberate like the rest of the drums.

    So yeah, I do use reverb on kick, as I do the rest of the kit. I usually do a short reverb, but I like my kick wet.

    I like my kick wet.

    That sounds dirty, doesn't it? :)
     
  15. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Coming from you, it sounds positively...

    Aw, never mind...

    :D
     
  16. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Exactly. Big and short, sometimes, but short in any event.
     
  17. joseph

    joseph Member

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    You could have a dry track, or just that 1% reverb mix, but also route individual channels to their own FX channels with more delay/reverb, that is 'off' for most of the song, but you can bring up the fader here and there on the FX channel as deemed effective.
    That kind of technique is all over the 'classic' early Zep albums, Hendrix, 60s - 70s things.....people still probably use it, but much more discretely now..?
     
  18. Griff

    Griff Member

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    This is great info. Thanks X 2!
     
  19. joseph

    joseph Member

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    I saw an obscure interview recently with ECM's main engineer - I can't recall the name - where he mentioned that although ECM records have that characteristic wonderful tone, ambience, etc that the recording studio environment is quite dry, and the reverbs added digitally rather than being a room sound -
    Also, if there's say 12 mics on the drums, he makes a point of varying the reverb to be different on each one :cool: .
     
  20. KungFuLio

    KungFuLio Senior Member

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    also, I've had great sucsess adding a long hall to room mics. The room that an instrument is recorded in can act as a wonderful "stage" for a hall.

    YMMV

    as for changing ambiences, delays and such within a mix, I can't imagine when I haven't done that any time there's a budget of more than two hours a mix. It's one of the most powerful tools I have for adding aural interest to a mix. Now if anyone cares......???
     

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