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Reverb settings for particular pop tunes.
Old 9th November 2009
Lives for gear

Reverb settings for particular pop tunes.

I've been doing some digging online to see if I can find some reverb settings for particular pop tunes out there. Basically just looking to see what in particular has worked for platinum pop artists... whether you worked in those sessions, or just know what settings were used.

In particular, anything like NSync or similar would be helpful as there is relatively little going on musically, so the focus is on the vocals and the reverb.

I realize it's only a starting point of course, but I am also producing pop music with a strong beat, drum machines, some layered vocals, and verses with lots of wide open space to feature the lead... so I would greatly appreciate if anyone has anything in particular to share about examples where they know what types of settings were used where I can hear the song and get a good feel for what it did in that particular place.

If not precise information, general settings for that type of music would also be appreciated... either for the music, or the vocals in terms of type of reverbs used, predelay and diffusion settings, etc.

I realize the typical answer to many such questions is it depends... on artist, music, etc... so I am asking specifically about modern dance oriented pop music... not ballads where the sound is drenched in oceans of never ending verb, but relatively rapid fire lyrics that are upfront.

I also happen to be working lately with IR's, and have a lot of the free libraries including Bricasti, various plates, echochamber's stuff, etc... and using space designer currently if anyone has particular info relating to them.

Old 9th November 2009
Lives for gear

Feel free to make fun of me for asking this question. It sounds noobish, I know, and I'm sure we're all too cool to answer it... but I think it would be quite helpful in general to be able to listen to a particular song that has had good commercial success, and know what types of reverb and settings were used... then discern whether or not it's a close enough fit musically to make a starting point for doing something relatively similar.

Actually, my stuff sounds nothing at all like NSync or similar... but I'm specifically trying to use top 40 production on material that would not ordinarily fit that mould. My thinking is that I can make popular music that is jazzier, has a bit more going on so long as the other elements are there... right compression, reverb, vocal layering... to give it that pop radio sound. Now, the chords, instrumentation... heck, I've got 7 cowbells, 3 congas, a rhodes, and a horn section, and a string quartet going on one track... definitely NOT NSync...

but... I'm trying to do something different... rather than processing it like live music... or a jazz track... I'm trying to strip it down a bit... and simplify it so it can be processed with very simple punchy drums, very upfront vocals, etc... So your FIRST thought is "wow, that's going to be a hit" ad your SECOND thougt is "wow, that's a cool, interesting tune."

Anyway, I'm sure someone on here must have some knowledge of a particular tunes out there and what sort was used.

Generally, for that pop vocal sound, what type of reverb is being used? Is that a plate I'm hearing? Thin plate with long decay time?
Old 10th November 2009
Lives for gear

oops... edited above rather than posting.
Old 11th November 2009
Lives for gear

Anyone else notice an echo in here?


Feels like I'm talking to myself:

Hey, how's it going?

Fine, thanks for asking. How's the wife and kids?

Surely there's at least someone on here who wants to make the obligatory "You can't just copy settings, it won't work, let your ears be your guide" statement... just to get that out of the way.
Old 11th November 2009
Asking for specific settings is not going to get you anywhere because they are a) dependent on all kinds of other settings and b) will sound very different in different musical/sonic contexts.

Best thing you can do is what everyone else finally settles down to do when they're learning and finally realize that asking for all kinds of twiddly specifics is a fool's errand that just results in noise instead of information:

Sit down with the musical material you are interested in and use your ears. Then, working at your DAW, experiment with different settings until you can begin to capture what you're looking for.

Sure, you'll find bozos telling you stuff like always set the widgetizer to -23 dB with an input slope of blah blah blah... but there are no always's in recording.

When you are dealing with complex matrices of devices, each with a number of parameters, having a "magic" number on one is meaningless because all the other devices and their settings will change the context and maybe the specific operation of the device in question.

Go, listen, experiment, have fun.

Make music.
Old 11th November 2009
Lives for gear
R3altruth's Avatar

Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
Sure, you'll find bozos telling you stuff like always set the widgetizer to -23 dB with an input slope of blah blah blah... but there are no always's in recording.
Widgetizer... I love it... Seriously though.... reverb is one of the funnest things because you can just throw one on and experiment....
A lot of people can't hear small eq changes... and Compressors can get so frustrating and can hurt your music so much if done wrong that many people pull out hairs over comp settings.... But reverb is something you can hear... you can feel.... so just throw one on and you can hear what a plate vs a room sound like... and if predelay on a vocal will work... and reverb tails... diffusion... all of that you can hear a difference when tweaked... then if you need comparison... throw on a commercial song similar to the vibe and feel of your song and compare
Old 12th November 2009
Lives for gear

i know that sound on sound magazine has a bunch of free articles you can read online with major label mixers breaking down mixes

here is phil tan taling about reverbs and plugins he used on Rihanna: 'SOS' and 'Unfaithful'.
Secrets Of The Mix Engineers: Phil Tan

here is another with dave pensado talking about what reverb he used on pink
Dave Pensado's Plug-In Secrets
Old 12th November 2009
Lives for gear
LQM's Avatar

Dave Pensado also gave a full break down on how he mixed 'Buttons' and 'Bleep' by the Pussycat Dolls in January 2007 Sound on Sound - but he states (as you know) that he is happy to give the details because those settings would only work in the context of those tracks with those musicians and singers and content.

Of course, it does at least give you an insight into the type of plugins he used and why he used them which you might be able to translate into another project, albeit with revised settings for that context.
Old 12th November 2009
Lives for gear

Originally Posted by LQM View Post
Of course, it does at least give you an insight into the type of plugins he used and why he used them which you might be able to translate into another project, albeit with revised settings for that context.
Which is the point... getting a frame of reference on similarly produced material to see what sort of approach has worked. In general in life, the attitude of starting by understanding what has already worked well in the past is a better one any day of the week than fumbling around with no direction.
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