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Reverb -- too much, too little...
Old 21st November 2002
  #1
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Mike Jasper's Avatar
Reverb -- too much, too little...

I'd like to hear more about reverb and how you guys use it. My tendency is to use too much. It'll sound fine on individual vocal tracks and the acoustic guitars, but when I combine them in the mix, it's too much.

It seems to me that I hear less reverb in today's music than I have in the past. But that might be because I used to get stoned and listen to Pink Floyd when I was a kid.

Jasper
Old 21st November 2002
  #2
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Curve Dominant's Avatar
I used to use too much reverb. Way too much. Jules yelled at me about this, so I cut way back. Just a smidgen here and there anymore. Much happier now. Don't miss it, not at all.

A lot of times, I'll put some delay on the lead vocal, and a little stereo reverb on the backing vocals - nice combo.

A hair of the rhythm guitar through the stereo reverb aux gives it some body in the mix. Nice.

Synthesised strings and ambient sounds will get lots of stereo reverb, and delay too, except for marcato strings or a fast cello or something like that.

Reverb is like spice: Too much and you can't taste the food.
Old 21st November 2002
  #3
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doug_hti's Avatar
 

Last year I stopped using reverb in general on vocals, depending mostly on timed delays, but I got tired of this upfront dryness....so lately I'm using reverbs on vocals (and still timed delays)...but still trying to keep the voice up front and very clear...
I've had good luck with plates (I use ReverbOne a lot).
I put the low pass at around 8-9k and a high pass around 100-150hz.
I boost the 5-9k region.
I use a very long decay time of around 1.5 - 2.5 seconds.
And most importantly, I have a long Predelay of about 60-80ms.
Have a expander on it for peaks.
This does especially well on ballads and slower songs.

I put it up enough to where I can noticably hear it, then pull it back a hair.


You just have to experiment, it may not work the same for everyone.
Old 21st November 2002
  #4
Gear Addict
 

Using lots of early reflections these days. Anything over 1.3 seconds is an effect usually.

I can generally keep a plate program on snare under a second as well...
Old 22nd November 2002
  #5
Re: Reverb -- too much, too little...

Quote:
Originally posted by Mike Jasper
I'd like to hear more about reverb and how you guys use it. My tendency is to use too much. It'll sound fine on individual vocal tracks and the acoustic guitars, but when I combine them in the mix, it's too much.

It seems to me that I hear less reverb in today's music than I have in the past. But that might be because I used to get stoned and listen to Pink Floyd when I was a kid.

Jasper

You are right about less reverb!!(I think you can either thank or blame Nirvana for that).

The secret to a lot of todays vocals is multitap delays. Sometimes the summation of a couple of multitap delays is much clearer than the decay of a reverb.

A quick trick is to use a pre delay to trigger the reverb. If you want to get even fancier, EQ the pre delay differently than the track which is triggering it. This will give your reverb a different color which may blend better with track.

If you must use reverb on vocals, than the important factors are:
1)Diffusion- use a short diffusion on vocals(imagine someone having a conversation with you at a close range, you don't hear reverb all around right?)Use longer one's on brighter instruments(percussion and brass)
2)Pre delay- gives your vocal a chance to stand out before the reverb tail kicks in. This can be timed to the track or not.
3)Try a reverb return in mono sometimes for vocals- pan it off center(mono listening works great for this) and check it out!!!


You will thank me later!!lol

And finally, learn to mix as a whole not as individual instruments and your mixes will have the cohesiveness you want.

Peace.
Old 22nd November 2002
  #6
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Mike Jasper's Avatar
Quote:
You will thank me later!!lol
Hell, i'll thank you now, Thrill. And Pete. And all you guys.

I've seen pre-delay on plugins, but I don't understand the concept. I also don't understand the concept of timed or triggered delays. Any Web site or book you can point me too?

Thanks,

Jasper
Old 22nd November 2002
  #7
Gear Addict
 

pre-delay

Pre-delay on a reverb means that the processor holds the signal for a short period before generating the effect from it. So the effect waits a second before starting. (This is different from changing the length of the reverb, which is about decay time.) The pre-delay allows the ear to hear the original sound as separate from the reverb, so the reverb doesn't muddy up the sound as much, just provides a kind of padding behind it. Very useful. Try putting a reverb on a vocal with no pre-delay (set it to 0) and then add some (say, 60ms), and you'll hear the difference. You'll find you can use more reverb this way without cluttering the sound. (Not that I'm encouraging more reverb...)
Old 23rd November 2002
  #8
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Mike Jasper's Avatar
Quote:
Pre-delay on a reverb means that the processor holds the signal for a short period before generating the effect from it. So the effect waits a second before starting.
Ahhhh That makes sense. So on vocals, for example, the reverb wouldn't screw up the attack, so you can hear the words better, ect.

Yeah, I did some reading on this last night myself, but your description was put more simple. I did find out that timed delays are timed to the tempo of the song.

I also found out that the following -- Lexicon PCm91, Eventide Eclipse, Lexicon 480L, TCM2000 and 3000 -- all suck. At least, I found people who say it does, but everyone makes a good case.

The PCM91 doesn't have word clock and is 20-bit, rather than 24. The Eventide Eclipse has 24 bit and up to 96k for some presets, but doesn't have the right reverbs. The TCM2000 and 3000 have very clean reverbs, but they aren't lush enough (some say) and if you connect via AES/EBU it's 24-bit, otherwise it's 20-bit if you connect via S/PDIF. And the 480L is 18-bit and too damn expensive, even on the used market.

I guess the above is kind of an expansion of the topic. How much reverb is too much? How much is too little? And which box is going to get you the right sound?

I know. It's subjective. Hell, I heard a great CD production yesterday and the guy was using a TC Electronic M-One for the verbs. Go figure.

One thing is certain, whether it's on the gearslutz forum or anywhere else. There's not one piece of high-end equipment around that won't elicit two responses: "It's the greatest thing I've ever used," and, "It's the worst piece of crap ever." And all responses in between.

Keeps things lively though!

Jasper
Old 23rd November 2002
  #9
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bassmac's Avatar
 

Yeah, that is a good simple explanation of pre-delay.

And yes on the AES connection for M3000 users - or you'll be four bits too short. :eek:
Old 23rd November 2002
  #10
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John Sayers's Avatar
 

Stand in a room and shout. The predealy is the time it takes for the sound to hit the walls and return as a first reflection and subsequently the reverberation.. The bigger the room the longer the predelay. It's also a good idea to set it to a delay in time with the track tempo.

cheers
John
Old 24th November 2002
  #11
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Mike Jasper's Avatar
Quote:
2)Pre delay- gives your vocal a chance to stand out before the reverb tail kicks in. This can be timed to the track or not.
Thrill, how exactly do you time a pre-dealy to a track?

Jasper
Old 24th November 2002
  #12
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Curve Dominant's Avatar
Quote:
Thrill, how exactly do you time a pre-delay to a track?

Jasper
Mike,

When you start getting that cheesy 80's disco sound, you know you're in the ballpark.

SORRY...I just...have this thing about pre-delay on reverb...

I HATE IT!!!

There, I said it. Let the flamewars begin.
Old 24th November 2002
  #13
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Steve Smith's Avatar
 

I generally set the pre-delay to a subdivision of the tempo of the song, but not like an eigth or even a sixteenth, way faster than that generally.. unless of course I want a long one..


Just figure out the tempo of the song, convert that to ms and start dividing.. I am lazy about remembering the math, so i just use echo farm to do the conversion for me ( or my TC Electronics D2)
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