The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
Better reverb/delay for live sound
Old 10th February 2020
  #1
Lives for gear
 
grannis's Avatar
Better reverb/delay for live sound

I have never been satisfied with my delay/reverb when playing live. I keep it very low or it sounds crap.
I have plenty of options, so I’m not looking for new gear, just approaches to different types of tones - lead and rhythm, clean and dirty. Before or after preamp. Ducking, predelay, detune, early reflections, diffusion, reverse, HPF, LPF. I have settings for all of them but I can’t quite arrive at a plan...

I’m pretty competent with every other effect, but there’s something I’m not quite getting with delay and reverb.
Old 10th February 2020
  #2
Gear Maniac
 
sniff's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by grannis View Post
I have never been satisfied with my delay/reverb when playing live. I keep it very low or it sounds crap.
I have plenty of options, so I’m not looking for new gear, just approaches to different types of tones - lead and rhythm, clean and dirty. Before or after preamp. Ducking, predelay, detune, early reflections, diffusion, reverse, HPF, LPF. I have settings for all of them but I can’t quite arrive at a plan...

I’m pretty competent with every other effect, but there’s something I’m not quite getting with delay and reverb.
ducking def cleans stuff up. do you go through foh with additional reverb too?

can you listen out front on soundcheck?

for years went straight in to an amp, no pedals or verb at all, happy days ...
Old 10th February 2020
  #3
Lives for gear
 
grannis's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by sniff View Post
ducking def cleans stuff up. do you go through foh with additional reverb too?

can you listen out front on soundcheck?

for years went straight in to an amp, no pedals or verb at all, happy days ...
Direct to FOH with IRs, yes plenty of opportunity to experiment and listen, no additional verb
Old 10th February 2020
  #4
Ok, the question is what is the issue for you?

For live work a lot of the time you may wish to disable reverb in your patches because the space you play will likely be very reverberant. However some sounds require verb like surf and that spring verb sound. What you can do is use hi and lo pass on the reverb itself to trim away annoying mush or shrill feedback from the verb.

The same is true of delay, it's an effect. If you have it set up to fill out the sound or to emulate a roomy spacey sound then the minute your'e in a spacey room you're defeating the point. Work on the frequencies of the delays, lower their overall mix volume then as final resort use ducking because unless you're careful it can result in unpleasant hot/pressure pumping sounds.

You may need to have a little time to tweak the sounds when you're setting up if at all possible. Although you won't be able to do it every time if you can do it a couple of places it should help tremendously as it's almost impossible to get it right when just setting up at home at much lower volume, in probably a much nicer space. At least then when you get back you'll be able to hear just how different the live vs home sounds need to be for your rig.
Old 10th February 2020
  #5
Gear Maniac
 
sniff's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdme_sadie View Post
then as final resort use ducking because unless you're careful it can result in unpleasant hot/pressure pumping sounds.
good point - don't overdo it. maybe also try with just delay and ditch the reverb completely, then see if you think you need it. also be aware of the effect compression can have on frequencies.
Old 11th February 2020
  #6
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by grannis View Post
I have never been satisfied with my delay/reverb when playing live. I keep it very low or it sounds crap.
I have plenty of options, so I’m not looking for new gear, just approaches to different types of tones - lead and rhythm, clean and dirty. Before or after preamp. Ducking, predelay, detune, early reflections, diffusion, reverse, HPF, LPF. I have settings for all of them but I can’t quite arrive at a plan...

I’m pretty competent with every other effect, but there’s something I’m not quite getting with delay and reverb.
What kind of music?
What's your current signal path?

How much delay are you trying to get? I find that I'm constantly tweaking my longer delay time and the mix level depending on the venue. It's also going to be highly dependent on what effects are before the delay/reverb, and what amp you're going into.

More info would be helpful.
Old 11th February 2020
  #7
Lives for gear
 
chrischoir's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by grannis View Post
I have never been satisfied with my delay/reverb when playing live. I keep it very low or it sounds crap.
I have plenty of options, so I’m not looking for new gear, just approaches to different types of tones - lead and rhythm, clean and dirty. Before or after preamp. Ducking, predelay, detune, early reflections, diffusion, reverse, HPF, LPF. I have settings for all of them but I can’t quite arrive at a plan...

I’m pretty competent with every other effect, but there’s something I’m not quite getting with delay and reverb.
why would you need reverb at a live show?
Old 11th February 2020
  #8
Lives for gear
This was hinted at by another post. EQ the output from the reverb. The cheaper & More metallic the reverb, the more it needs EQ.
Old 11th February 2020
  #9
Lives for gear
 
grannis's Avatar
I do turn the reverb so low it’s sometimes barely noticeable, but then my lead tones sound a bit sparse.
I guess I just assumed other guitarists used reverb more than delay because so many amps have it built in. Would I be better off spending my time trying to dial in delay instead?

Believe me I’m no newbie, but for some reason I just never figured this out!
Old 11th February 2020
  #10
That might just be an arrangement issue. What’s the rest of the band comprised of? Also what is your goal with the reverb? Think carefully, do you really feel it’s too sparse, or is it really too in your face, up front and lonely?

Reverb can be used to push a sound further back in a mix, but so can careful eq. Reducing the treble for instance.

You shouldn’t feel that you have to fill out the sound with FX if the arrangement is working we and you are otherwise happy with your tone. Perhaps also you are just not comfortable with being that far in the front, that can simply be a confidence issue. Think about how sparse and dry the sound is of a band like RHCP and yet how effectively it works. Sometimes you just need the confidence to allow space and not try to fill every silence with sound.

If you really need to fill up the sound then IMO delay is always better than reverb unless it’s for a specific genre style such as surf.

Can you post some clips? It’s possible that most people might not think there’s anything wrong with your sound and in that case then it comes down to your own discernment and whether you want to spend the time programming to get the sound just right or instead should think about getting a third party engineer to help you achieve exactly then sound you’re after live.
Old 11th February 2020
  #11
Lives for gear
 

My rule of thumb for delays/reverbs (and most other FX as well, fwiw) would be: They need to be heard easily or I keep them off. An exception possibly being sparsely arranged music via InEars - but that's happening rarely in my world. In that case I may add a tad of always-on reverb for listening pleasure. In all other cases, especially reverbs but also delays tend to get lost as an effect anyway and all that's happening is a less clear overall sound. In other words: Apart from the mentioned exceptions, I absolutely believe that all that "smidgen of reverb" is counterproductive for a nice, easy to mix, cutting through live sound.

Now, I still use delays/verbs quite a bit, just that they're turned up a lot if I do. Things I'm doing so they're not getting in the way:
- Cutting lows and highs on both delays and reverbs. That way, delay repeats are less rhythmically important and reverbs don't go on a campaign against cymbals and what not.
- Use less diffuse reverbs. Usually resulting in less mud.
- Use rather high predelay amounts on reverbs. Helps to keep the dry signal clear.
- Use ducking delays. I'm however not a big fan of those because I find adjusting the ducking intensity a tricky thing. I seem to prefer "what you set is what you get" type delays.
- Instead of using larger and/or louder reverbs, I often rather add a delay, using small delay values (<100ms), quite some feedback (depending on the ms value) and low wet values. Has a bit similar effect as using less diffuse reverbs.
- For the main delays, I pretty much always use tap tempo delays, usually 1:1 (so "what I tap is what I get"), occasionally a mix of 1/4 notes and dotted 1/8s. I don't like rhythmically unrelated delays in case the trails overlap into a break or otherwise less loud passages.

I would love to have a delay with a transient shaper (or swell) function on its input (but not affecting the dry signal). I'm using that quite a bit within Logic, it's "Enveloper" does a decent job in some situations. What it does is to cut off just the attack of clearly attacked notes while leaving all the rest intact. Helps a *lot* to keep delays away from adding rhythmically relevant information. Unfortunately, the "swell" block on my Helix doesn't work for such things as its minimum attack time is too long already. I should possibly ask some programmers to add such a functionality (from all I know, there's *no* single unit offering such a function).

Last edited by Sascha Franck; 11th February 2020 at 05:32 PM..
Old 11th February 2020
  #12
Quote:
Originally Posted by grannis View Post
I do turn the reverb so low it’s sometimes barely noticeable, but then my lead tones sound a bit sparse.
I guess I just assumed other guitarists used reverb more than delay because so many amps have it built in. Would I be better off spending my time trying to dial in delay instead?

Believe me I’m no newbie, but for some reason I just never figured this out!
1) don't rely on the room for your reverb - that's a terrible idea - few venues are going to provide a proper reverb by default.

2) I would argue that some reverb is crucial for pretty much any tone except a heavy metal rhythm tone.

3) A good reverb or delay tone requires a good amp. A lot of people think the reverb pedal or the delay is at fault, but it's usually the amp that's actually just not up to par - reverb and delay can actually highlight a weak base tone and the reverb tail will be harsh or boomy, which is just a reflection of a bad base tone. Case in point, I had a Hot Rod Deluxe 2x12 that was boomy as hell with the bass set to zero and could never get my reverbs or delays sounding right, but it was because the amp was producing so much mud that any reverb setting that was high enough to really hear would just compound the problem.

4) I would suggest finding the right reverb that can be set by default for all your tones - so a more subtle setting that is wet enough to smooth things out - spring reverb or plate reverb settings are usually good for this,and then use specific delays or add another longer and wetter reverb for leads.

5) for delay - the best basic delay, that always works, is a quarter note delay ( tap it to the beat, or program it for the song ) with the Mix set high enough to hear it and with the feedback set to about 3 or 4 repeats - you can roll off the highs a bit to make it less percussive and which allows you to set the mix higher without the notes interfering with what you are playing. If you have modulation, flutter, other settings, don't overdo it.
Old 11th February 2020
  #13
Lives for gear
 
grannis's Avatar
Brilliant, thoughtful responses - thank you!
Old 11th February 2020
  #14
I would also note that reverb and delay, if used in front of the amp, is sensitive to amp gain ( saturation) levels - so if you are using higher gain ( i.e. distortion) settings on your amp, probably best to use the fx loop because the perceived loudness of the reverb and delay will jump around if you switch from clean to heavy etc..
Old 11th February 2020
  #15
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by grannis View Post
I do turn the reverb so low it’s sometimes barely noticeable, but then my lead tones sound a bit sparse.
I guess I just assumed other guitarists used reverb more than delay because so many amps have it built in. Would I be better off spending my time trying to dial in delay instead?

Believe me I’m no newbie, but for some reason I just never figured this out!
maybe you wanna check out michael landau's approach: one combo is for nothing but the dry sound, another combo is for all the efx - he's using a pedal to feed as little or as much efx to the second combo. when efx are fully cranked up, both amps go about equally loud - he wants engineers to mic both amps identically and run at equal gain/level settings (which you then still may do or not)....

from an engineer's point of view, many guitar players at times have a bit much efx - can't blame them though as every room responds a bit differently; i prefer getting separate dry and wet signals so i can decide whether the room can really take that much efx in a solo or if i think i should ride the efx a bit...

a l/C/r setup (C meaning the main combo/stack with the dry signal, l/r from side combos/stacks with efx) is also very nice - evh used such a setup in the mid-nieties.

or steve morse uses pedals to blend in delay and reverb...

...or jeff beck blasts everything through stacks at terrifying levels :-) lots of options actually!
Old 25th February 2020
  #16
Lives for gear
 
grannis's Avatar
This popped up on YouTube recently



I experimented with a little spring reverb before the preamp and some fairly heavy HPF and LPF on some hall reverb after. Very happy!
Old 26th February 2020
  #17
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrischoir View Post
why would you need reverb at a live show?
Depends on the music. I used to do sound for a fair number of Goth type shows and in that kind of music reverb and echo feature as prominent FX, not environmental simulations. The thing is, on that kind of stuff you don't leave it static. After getting an initial mix set I'd spend the rest of the set working FX cues if I knew the band well enough to do that.
Old 26th February 2020
  #18
Gear Nut
 
froleich's Avatar
 

For me, live is a time of variability whereas studio is a time for perfection. I wouldn't give in to an overly significant thought process. I use a bit of analog spring reverb always and kick on a delay with no tapped tempo for the "heavier" leads (more gain). The delay is very minimal though used mainly to add some more space. Sometimes I keep it on for the added space the whole show. If there are issues with audience levels or acoustics it's just reverse automation that you can't do anything about.
Old 27th February 2020
  #19
Lives for gear
 
chrischoir's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by John Eppstein View Post
Depends on the music. I used to do sound for a fair number of Goth type shows and in that kind of music reverb and echo feature as prominent FX, not environmental simulations. The thing is, on that kind of stuff you don't leave it static. After getting an initial mix set I'd spend the rest of the set working FX cues if I knew the band well enough to do that.
John you have done live sound, guitar players who use reverb and delay live just wash out their tone. When I did FOH, I always had to explain to guitarists that used room reverb they were just washing out their sound and weakening it. They could never put 2 and 2 together and realize that they were actually playing in a room. I've seen 1000s of bands live. The tightest band was AC/DC and they just plugged direct into the Marshall with no effects. It really cut through large stadiums and arena shows. Nobody needs delay and reverb in a live setting except in select rare cases. It makes no sense otherwise. It is problematic on stage and in the mains.
Old 27th February 2020
  #20
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrischoir View Post
John you have done live sound, guitar players who use reverb and delay live just wash out their tone. When I did FOH, I always had to explain to guitarists that used room reverb they were just washing out their sound and weakening it. They could never put 2 and 2 together and realize that they were actually playing in a room.
Ok, by now we all know that you're the local expert on all things guitar, but you should really tell your thoughts about stadiums, delays and reverbs to, say, David Gilmour. I'm pretty sure he'd be all thankful for your wealth of information and PF will finally end up with a decent live sound.

Some people, really...
Old 28th February 2020
  #21
Lives for gear
 
chrischoir's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sascha Franck View Post
Ok, by now we all know that you're the local expert on all things guitar, but you should really tell your thoughts about stadiums, delays and reverbs to, say, David Gilmour. I'm pretty sure he'd be all thankful for your wealth of information and PF will finally end up with a decent live sound.

Some people, really...
I've seen Pink Floyd live and it was a very washed out guitar tone. It was not very clear. His sound works well on record obviously. However, keep in mind I am not into LSD and smoking crack at concerts. I actually go to concerts to see the musical performance so I would have a different take on a Floyd show opposed to most concert goers. 99% of the people at a Floyd show are wasted out of their minds and could care less about reverb or delay. they wouldn't know the difference either way. Drugs are a wonderful thing when it comes to overprocessed guitar tone.
Old 28th February 2020
  #22
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrischoir View Post
I've seen Pink Floyd live and it was a very washed out guitar tone. It was not very clear. His sound works well on record obviously. However, keep in mind I am not into LSD and smoking crack at concerts. I actually go to concerts to see the musical performance so I would have a different take on a Floyd show opposed to most concert goers. 99% of the people at a Floyd show are wasted out of their minds and could care less about reverb or delay. they wouldn't know the difference either way. Drugs are a wonderful thing when it comes to overprocessed guitar tone.
So, I gather that was around 45+ years ago, right?
Because otherwise it'd be just a fairytale.
But thanks for trying so hard to entertain us.
Old 28th February 2020
  #23
Gear Nut
 
froleich's Avatar
 

Gilmour is not a good guitar player.
Old 28th February 2020
  #24
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by froleich View Post
Gilmour is not a good guitar player.
Care to elaborate?
I think I could even guess what you're on to, would like to know, though...
Old 28th February 2020
  #25
Gear Nut
 
froleich's Avatar
 

He doesn't play fast enough. Speed is king!
Old 28th February 2020
  #26
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by froleich View Post
He doesn't play fast enough. Speed is king!
My bad - forgot about that option. And yes, you're right!
Old 29th February 2020
  #27
Lives for gear
 
chrischoir's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sascha Franck View Post
So, I gather that was around 45+ years ago, right?
Because otherwise it'd be just a fairytale.
But thanks for trying so hard to entertain us.
I saw them on the Wall tour and the Animals tour.
Topic:
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and Reverb.com listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.


 
 
Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Forum Jump
Forum Jump