View Single Post
Old 5th July 2018
Gear Guru

Originally Posted by sagar4848 View Post
I don’t want to know how each parameter works or how it will affect a sound
too bad, IMO that's really really important for knowing how and when to use it. Tweaking the presets should be done with the reverb cranked past where you will 'really' end up. You want to hear what the flavor of it is.

I want to understand how and when do I use it to my advantage?
reverb is good for blending things to make them sound together, but it can also be useful to make things stand out - if something has a unique reverb from the rest of the band, it may stand out. Perhaps unrealistically, but it will sound separated.

I usually use from 5-10 time-based effects in a mix. Rooms, plates and delays but sometimes also flanges and choruses. As others have said, a lot of it is front-to-back stuff. Longer times and larger amounts are generally "back" and smaller amounts and shorter times tend to be "front".

I tend to mix with overlapping reverbs so lets say I had 3 reverbs, large, medium and small, I might do something like;
drums - medium and large
vocals - small and medium
guitars small medium and large
keyboards - a bit of small and a lot of medium
horns - a lot of small and a bit of medium

these ^^ are not "recommendations" but just hypothetical examples for illustrative purposes only. Notice how most of the instruments in the example have some medium room. This is the 'shared space' the "band" is located inside of. Notice also how the bass and kick are not listed. As someone said above, low frequency stuff can get really muddy really fast. Unless the mix is really sparse, reverb on a kick or bass is just going to get lost in the sauce and turn to mush.

Real spaces can be very complex. I first realized this recording a classical group in a church. To simulate that room I would have needed probably at least 3 artificial reverbs. They were up on the altar and the curved domed apse right behind them was kind of like a small room. The big nave where the congregation sat was obviously a large room. There were also two 'wings' to the sides where the choirs were that were kind of like a medium room.

Something like a perspective on how to add reverb to a song. On how many and which type of elements so that it sounds cohesive? how to select which tracks should be on different reverbs? Should the different reverbs be completely different in terms of rooms and parameters or not?
all of these questions are honestly "it depends" questions for me. I can't really help you with these.
How should I decide if on a signal I should want to add the reverb as aux or directly use it as an insert?
Here I do have a firm opinion - I can't even remember the last time I used a reverb directly as an insert. Even if the track was the only instrument getting that reverb. Because: 1. you never know if you suddenly will get inspired to have that sound available for other instruments. 2. you want to just grab a send and not open the damn plug and fiddle with the damn percentage knob and then feel compelled to also tweak the damn fader. 3. Harder to automate. 4. The Aux Returns provide a really quick method of raising or lowering the overall amount of reverb in the mix; 5. some of these insert with a percentage deals, I am convinced they suck tone from the dry signal - I have no scientific basis for believing that, but I do feel that way.

Basically just your decisions on reverb and why?
short answer -
• some combination of 'smearing the tracks together in the same imaginary space(s) for blending purposes;
• putting a "halo" around an instrument to put it into its own space in order to separate it from other similar sounds;
• creating front to back illusions;
• increasing the illusion of sustain or the illusion of power.

All that being said, after I audition my reverbs to make sure they are appropriate for the music, I usually dial them way back until sometimes people say "how come you don't have any reverb?". Then I will mute the reverb returns as a group and they will hear the mix truly dry and understand. I want people to 'think' my mix is dry, even though it is almost never is. One thing I learned early on was to hit stop during a loud passage and listen to what reverbs and delays continue on after. One of the things about reverb is that you can get used to it to the point that you forget you have it on there. Then you reflexively add more.

But perhaps a good way to learn how to use it would be to go for some really wet mixes where you can really hear it working. You can always dial it back to a more tasteful level later. You could do that by just dropping the Aux Returns.

Always consider the possibility that some of your "difficulty" may derive less from you not understanding reverb, and more from you not really liking reverb. Some people mix pretty dry simply because that's what they like and that's what they feel fits their music.