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How to apply reverb to EZ drummer
Old 12th July 2019
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

How to apply reverb to EZ drummer

In the mixer there is already a standard reverb channel but I want to use my own reverb because I want to put it in a room with my other instruments so it all sounds like the drums and other instruments are being played in the same space. I have routed the outputs from easy drummer into my DAW so I now have 8 channels and can send each of those to a reverb room which I have chosen. The question I have is this: when mixing drums, do you send the "ambience" mic's to a reverb as well or only the independent drum sounds like snare and hats? I am wondering if I should even use the "ambience" channel in my mix as won't that put the drums in "that" space and not in my room reverb?
Old 12th July 2019
  #2
Gear Addict
 

I think the "ambience" mics are samples of actual room mics, so you might want to keep those. It depends on what you're going for. Just set up an effects bus with whatever reverb you want to try and send some signal to that. just experiment. You could probably have already figured out what you like in the time it took to get the first response.
Old 12th July 2019
  #3
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by camomiletea View Post
In the mixer there is already a standard reverb channel but I want to use my own reverb because I want to put it in a room with my other instruments so it all sounds like the drums and other instruments are being played in the same space.
a perfectly reasonable approach

however when I am mixing, I am often using 3, 4, 5, or more reverbs for the mix. Instruments are 'sharing' these spaces, but in different proportions and overlaps. In a real space, there are complexities created by the positioning of the instrument in the room etc. and just sending a split of each instrument into one reverb does not always do a good job of reflecting that. Using multiple reverbs in different proportions you can give things the same sounds to "blend" them, and also different sounds to "separate" them - as needed.

Quote:
I have routed the outputs from easy drummer into my DAW so I now have 8 channels and can send each of those to a reverb room which I have chosen. The question I have is this: when mixing drums, do you send the "ambience" mic's to a reverb as well or only the independent drum sounds like snare and hats?
I often record real instruments and I frequently take a room mic. Many times I will add reverb to that room mic. Sometimes I will add reverb only to the room mic. I have even put a large room room mic into a small room reverb. Not a lot of "reality" in that one. Doing it each way has a different effect, but whether or not it is better - you just have to try it and decide if it works for you.

In a recent mix I put reverb only on the snare drum. It was a very busy mix and the reverb on the snare acted as a kind of "shorthand" for reverb on the whole kit. It suggested the drum set was in a space, without actually putting the whole drumset in that space. The way an artist might suggest a "cat" with just a few lines of ink. This left more space in the mix which was a priority in this crowded production.

Quote:
I am wondering if I should even use the "ambience" channel in my mix as won't that put the drums in "that" space and not in my room reverb?
It's possible that this ambience may indeed conflict with the space you are trying to set up. If so, then leave it out. OTOH, these mics are part of the actual sample recorded in the actual room. They are more than just 'reverb' - they are the same sample hit recorded from a distance. They have a little "something" in terms of realism and detail that mere reverb may not give you. Of course it has to fit the song.

But also keep in mind, some of that same room the drums were in exists on the close mics and the overheads and so on. That space is going to be there a bit anyway. Try it with and without. There is no right or wrong here, only what works best for the song. The fact that you are are already thinking in these terms means you should no difficulty in deciding what you like.
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Old 4 weeks ago
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
a perfectly reasonable approach

however when I am mixing, I am often using 3, 4, 5, or more reverbs for the mix. Instruments are 'sharing' these spaces, but in different proportions and overlaps. In a real space, there are complexities created by the positioning of the instrument in the room etc. and just sending a split of each instrument into one reverb does not always do a good job of reflecting that. Using multiple reverbs in different proportions you can give things the same sounds to "blend" them, and also different sounds to "separate" them - as needed.

thanks for this. I found this part interesting. I am interested to know what you mean by "Instruments are 'sharing' these spaces, but in different proportions and overlaps."

Do you mean with different pre-delay settings? I sometimes have several reverbs for different instruments but each with different pre-delay for each instrument. Like if I want the vocal more up-front I will have a longer pre delay. Is this what you mean? What other reasons are there for having so many seperate reverbs if your goal is really to put everything into just one room?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camomiletea View Post
What other reasons are there for having so many seperate reverbs if your goal is really to put everything into just one room?
Because real rooms are more complex than reverbs.

And also because it's not always my 'goal'. There is no law that says a mix is supposed to mimic "reality" anyway.

for the first part, imagine your band on the steps leading up to the altar of a church. Behind them is the apse, that semi-circular recess. That kind of acts like a small room. Quickly reflecting and focusing the reflections. To the sides are these wings called 'transcripts' - they are like a medium room. In front of the band is the nave- the giant space where all the pews are - your large room or hall. When you make a sound in this space you are getting 3 kinds of sounds, and the proportions may vary depending upon where on the stage the instrument is located, how loud it is, and how directional it is.

As far as the constructed (un)reality of a mix, you can use larger rooms to make instruments seem like they are "behind" instruments that have smaller rooms. Try it. Take a duet - or any two instruments - and put large room on one and small room on the other. The one with the larger verb will sound further away. Then switch the reverbs, and you will hear them "change places".

If you do this "all or nothing", it can be quite dramatic. But maybe a bit fake-sounding. If you do it proportionally it can be quite subtle and since both instruments share both reverbs to some extent, you still get the benefit of the 'blending' and "same room" principles.

In a typical mix, I might indeed designate one of the reverbs to be the main "room the band is in". Let's say a medium room. Just varying the amounts can affect the perception of space. But on top of that, I might add some large hall to the strings to push them to the "back" of the mix. They don't sound like they are located in a totally different space, because they do share the medium room somewhat, but they also appear farther away because they have an "extra" reverb on them and it's really large.

I often get very fiddly - if not OCD - on creating these overlaps. Many fun and interesting aspects of 'space' can be explored with these things, and not all of them are naturalistic.

Quote:
I sometimes have several reverbs for different instruments but each with different pre-delay for each instrument.
You mean each reverb is set to the same room setting except for pre-delay? When I want to do that, I will instead create several different auxes with different delays which then feed the reverb. So a lead vocal will go to a long delay and then to the reverb, and the snare will go to a shorter delay, and the backing vocal might go straight to the reverb.

Sometimes I will use a small room (or the room mics) as the "pre-delay" for a bigger reverb. Once in a while, I may put the large room inside the small room. Like Doctor Who's Tardis - it's bigger on the inside.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #6
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Owen L T's Avatar
With those multi-sampled drum VSTs, the ambient channels often sound more real than putting the dry channels through a reverb - mostly on account of the ambient/room channels being those self-same drums as recorded, at the same time, through a pair of room mics. So, they are more real. Same goes for the drum overheads - which, though less room-y than the ambient channels, nonetheless typically convey a strong sense of the space in which the drums were played. On some mixes, if I'm looking for that "real kit in a real room sound", and therefore need other parts of the band to sound similarly situated, I'll dial in a convolution reverb, and try to find a similar sounding space. Since most of those VST libraries are recorded in fairly typical "live room" or "drum room" spaces, and most convolution impulses usually include a pretty similar space, you can get pretty good results that way. Actually, I do this mostly to be able to dial in a healthy amount of the overheads, and put other instruments in the same space - but to a degree that's also a question of how wet you make everything else. It's just another approach, and YMMV.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
Because real rooms are more complex than reverbs.

And also because it's not always my 'goal'. There is no law that says a mix is supposed to mimic "reality" anyway.

for the first part, imagine your band on the steps leading up to the altar of a church. Behind them is the apse, that semi-circular recess. That kind of acts like a small room. Quickly reflecting and focusing the reflections. To the sides are these wings called 'transcripts' - they are like a medium room. In front of the band is the nave- the giant space where all the pews are - your large room or hall. When you make a sound in this space you are getting 3 kinds of sounds, and the proportions may vary depending upon where on the stage the instrument is located, how loud it is, and how directional it is.

As far as the constructed (un)reality of a mix, you can use larger rooms to make instruments seem like they are "behind" instruments that have smaller rooms. Try it. Take a duet - or any two instruments - and put large room on one and small room on the other. The one with the larger verb will sound further away. Then switch the reverbs, and you will hear them "change places".

If you do this "all or nothing", it can be quite dramatic. But maybe a bit fake-sounding. If you do it proportionally it can be quite subtle and since both instruments share both reverbs to some extent, you still get the benefit of the 'blending' and "same room" principles.

In a typical mix, I might indeed designate one of the reverbs to be the main "room the band is in". Let's say a medium room. Just varying the amounts can affect the perception of space. But on top of that, I might add some large hall to the strings to push them to the "back" of the mix. They don't sound like they are located in a totally different space, because they do share the medium room somewhat, but they also appear farther away because they have an "extra" reverb on them and it's really large.

I often get very fiddly - if not OCD - on creating these overlaps. Many fun and interesting aspects of 'space' can be explored with these things, and not all of them are naturalistic.



You mean each reverb is set to the same room setting except for pre-delay? When I want to do that, I will instead create several different auxes with different delays which then feed the reverb. So a lead vocal will go to a long delay and then to the reverb, and the snare will go to a shorter delay, and the backing vocal might go straight to the reverb.

Sometimes I will use a small room (or the room mics) as the "pre-delay" for a bigger reverb. Once in a while, I may put the large room inside the small room. Like Doctor Who's Tardis - it's bigger on the inside.
yeah I think we are going for two different things here. I really want something as natural sounding as possible. See, I have a dry recording/control room with slats in it but the slats don't really liven the sound up too much so it sounds very dry. I just want to add a little bit of very subtle reverb so I choose a room and kind of want all my instruments to sound like they all are in the same space.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #8
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Owen L T View Post
With those multi-sampled drum VSTs, the ambient channels often sound more real than putting the dry channels through a reverb - mostly on account of the ambient/room channels being those self-same drums as recorded, at the same time, through a pair of room mics. So, they are more real. Same goes for the drum overheads - which, though less room-y than the ambient channels, nonetheless typically convey a strong sense of the space in which the drums were played. On some mixes, if I'm looking for that "real kit in a real room sound", and therefore need other parts of the band to sound similarly situated, I'll dial in a convolution reverb, and try to find a similar sounding space. Since most of those VST libraries are recorded in fairly typical "live room" or "drum room" spaces, and most convolution impulses usually include a pretty similar space, you can get pretty good results that way. Actually, I do this mostly to be able to dial in a healthy amount of the overheads, and put other instruments in the same space - but to a degree that's also a question of how wet you make everything else. It's just another approach, and YMMV.
Yeah, I tried to put reverb on the individual sounds and it just doesn't sound good or real anymore. You are right about that. Maybe I can try just putting reverb on the "ambience" room mics and see how that sounds else I think maybe I will just leave the reverb off the drums completely.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #9
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Owen L T's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by camomiletea View Post
Yeah, I tried to put reverb on the individual sounds and it just doesn't sound good or real anymore. You are right about that. Maybe I can try just putting reverb on the "ambience" room mics and see how that sounds else I think maybe I will just leave the reverb off the drums completely.
Slight misunderstanding. The "ambience" IS the reverb for the drum directs. But instead of being artificial reverb, it's the sound of those drums in that room. By using the ambient mics, you are already effectively adding reverb to the drums. The trick is to find a similar space in your convolution reverbs to use on any other (non drum) tracks you want to place in a similar space.

That's not to say you can't ever add reverb to drum directs (or room/other mics as well) if warranted. But, conceptually, using the ambient mics is the same adding reverb to each of the individual drum channels.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #10
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Owen L T View Post
Slight misunderstanding. The "ambience" IS the reverb for the drum directs. But instead of being artificial reverb, it's the sound of those drums in that room.
On the EZ drummer mixer there is an "ambience" channel AND a "reverb" channel. So how does that work? If ambience is the reverb then what is the reverb?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #11
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Owen L T's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by camomiletea View Post
On the EZ drummer mixer there is an "ambience" channel AND a "reverb" channel. So how does that work? If ambience is the reverb then what is the reverb?
The ambience channel is actual reverberation, not reverb from a reverb processor. It is a recording of the drums by mics that are further away from the kit, and therefore contain more reflected sound - or the sound of the room. More ambience, in other words.

Reverb is artificial ambience. It's a reverb.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #12
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by camomiletea View Post
yeah I think we are going for two different things here. I really want something as natural sounding as possible. .
to paraphrase George Burns, naturalism is the most important thing. Once you can fake that, you've got it made.

Quote:
See, I have a dry recording/control room with slats in it but the slats don't really liven the sound up too much so it sounds very dry. I just want to add a little bit of very subtle reverb so I choose a room and kind of want all my instruments to sound like they all are in the same space
IMO, there is no guarantee that limiting your mix to a single reverb is the only direct path to a natural sound. Using multiple reverbs (especially when mixing and matching, proportionalizing and overlapping) does necessarily put your instruments into "different spaces", either.

What you are doing when you add reverb is fake. It's all fake. Overdubbing is fake. EZ-Drummer is fake. Mixing is fake. Keeping your methodology simple is fine, but i would not assume it necessarily guarantees "naturalness" - much less "realism". In fact, sometimes the 'basic' nature of a single reverb shows itself as fake because it lacks the complexity of a real space.


Use what you like, just make sure you are gauging your results on the sound, and not on the conceptual purity of your techniques. An actress may spend 3 hours in makeup to look like she is in the middle of a battle with an Apache war party.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #13
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Owen L T View Post
The ambience channel is actual reverberation, not reverb from a reverb processor. It is a recording of the drums by mics that are further away from the kit, and therefore contain more reflected sound - or the sound of the room. More ambience, in other words.

Reverb is artificial ambience. It's a reverb.
I understand the difference technically but my question was more along the lines of "why would you have both"? If the ambience mic gives you the room ambience then why add reverb on it as well?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
In fact, sometimes the 'basic' nature of a single reverb shows itself as fake because it lacks the complexity of a real space.
So what you are saying is that it is a waste of time trying to use reverb plugins to create realistic sounding reverb & acoustic spaces for my recordings?

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
Use what you like, just make sure you are gauging your results on the sound, and not on the conceptual purity of your techniques. An actress may spend 3 hours in makeup to look like she is in the middle of a battle with an Apache war party.
good tip, thanks!
Old 4 weeks ago
  #15
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I'd be curious not only what reverbs you've experimented with but some of their parameters as well. Also, not knowing EZ drummer, what do the overhead tracks bring to the table? (..i.e. could they be a good alternate source for expanding on the image of the kit'?
Old 4 weeks ago
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
I'd be curious not only what reverbs you've experimented with but some of their parameters as well. Also, not knowing EZ drummer, what do the overhead tracks bring to the table? (..i.e. could they be a good alternate source for expanding on the image of the kit'?
On EZ drummer I have hardly experimented to be honest because I first wanted to understand how and why there was a reverb channel and an ambience channel. If engineers mic a drum kit from farther away, then obviously that is the "reverb" because the room sound is coming into play. So it seems odd to me why you would then additionally add reverb to the kit. I don't know, maybe this is what is done when recording drums in some genres of music? and EZ drummer have just kept this format in their plugin? I don't have any experience recording drums so I don't know really.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #17
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I'm sorry I guess I don't understand then. You know now what the ambiance ('channel if that's what it's called..) is, and presumably what it sounds like and brings to the blend as a mix option. And I thought you said 'tried reverb [as well] but it didn't sound 'natural'.
These are all just options -with variations- in your 'tool box available to use or not.
So I guess my two 'questions stand. :>)
Old 4 weeks ago
  #18
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Owen L T's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by camomiletea View Post
So what you are saying is that it is a waste of time trying to use reverb plugins to create realistic sounding reverb & acoustic spaces for my recordings?


good tip, thanks!
No one is saying anything is a "waste of time"; just trying to explain the difference between the two channels.

It's entirely common on the snare, for instance, to add a longer plate (or other) reverb to give it more of a tail, even if that's not as "realistic" as leaving it alone.

At this point, your best best is to start listening to these.

"Ambience" = the ambient mics.
"Reverb" = a reverb unit.

Both have their uses.

Just dive in ...
Old 4 weeks ago
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camomiletea View Post
So what you are saying is that it is a waste of time trying to use reverb plugins to create realistic sounding reverb & acoustic spaces for my recordings?
Not a waste of time. In a way, what I am saying is the more time you put into your reverbs, the closer you may come to realism. Limiting yourself to 'just one reverb' for everything in your mix may have its advantages and disadvantages. It's a legitimate technique, but it doesn't always guarantee you "realism".

Room mics are more "real" than reverb, not just conceptually, but audibly so, IMHO. But it is perfectly appropriate to be concerned if the room that EZ drummer provides is the proper room for any particular song. As Owen L T said, you can try and match that room by choosing a reverb from your DAW that sounds similar. But maybe the song calls for something very different and you may want to just reverberate your drums by applying artificial reverb to the close mics.

One thing to keep in mind about room mics: if you had a big commercial studio with a giant live room, the sound of that room would be all over the drums that were recorded there. Even to some extent on the close mics and overheads. There are tons of famous studios and famous albums that 'managed' somehow to pull it off - recording all the drums in the same room for the whole record. People would go there to get that room's sound onto their drum tracks. Perhaps they got away with it because their mixes were using many different reverbs anyway.

Quote:
If engineers mic a drum kit from farther away, then obviously that is the "reverb" because the room sound is coming into play. So it seems odd to me why you would then additionally add reverb to the kit. I don't know, maybe this is what is done when recording drums in some genres of music? and EZ drummer have just kept this format in their plugin?
I'd say that's a pretty good summary. Generally, the "reverb" sound is bigger/deeper/longer than the room mics. In something like EZ-drummer, the room mics are real. They are the distant mics that were picking up the exact same snare hit that got sampled. They go with that sample as much as the close mics.

The "reverb" in most of these plug-ins is just another algorithmic reverb - not a second, more distant room mic. FWIW, I almost never use the 'built-in' reverbs from virtual instruments. I would usually assign the drums to individual channels in the DAW and effect them with the same reverb sends and returns as I use for all the other instruments . But maybe someone wants to simplify his mix, bring EZ Drummer in as a stereo. But maybe he also wants to put reverb only on the snare. For that, you would have to do it using the plug-ins "internal" reverb. It's a convenience that some users might find handy.

Although I rarely use the 'single reverb' philosophy, I do consider reverb to a mix effect and usually not part of the individual instrument's "sound". Room mics may or may not be an exception to that, they kind of occupy a gray area 'in-between' for me.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #20
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Thought the OP might be interested in this..
https://uadforum.com/general-discuss...up-mixing.html
Old 4 weeks ago
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
Thought the OP might be interested in this..
https://uadforum.com/general-discuss...up-mixing.html
thanks, last post was especially interesting.
Old 4 weeks ago
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by camomiletea View Post
thanks, last post was especially interesting.
Regarding to over heads in EZDrummer again, I'd still like to learn more about what they might bring the table -via their level in the blend, and perhaps giving some additional natural space to the kit?
l
Old 4 weeks ago
  #23
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Owen L T's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
Regarding to over heads in EZDrummer again, I'd still like to learn more about what they might bring the table -via their level in the blend, and perhaps giving some additional natural space to the kit?
l
The overheas are, to me, the sound of a drum-kit. Most VSTs allow you to set the balancd of how much each piece is in overhead (which is possible only because each kit piece was samoled one at a time). So, one approach is to use the overheads for a pretty large portion of the sound, then bring up the direct channels to taste.

Overheads have a LOT of 700-800Hz that make the kick flabby, the snare boxy, and the hat clangy. If you pull out a fair bit of the with a medium-wide Q, the whole picture from the overheads comes into focus, almost by magic, with the kick, snare and hat each becoming more defined in the mix. That, for me, is the EQ move that transformed my appreciation of overheads.
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