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Huge reverb that does not cover the rest of mix?
Old 20th February 2011
  #1
Huge reverb that does not cover the rest of mix?

I am finishing my second album and I am struggling to get this effect on vocal, where it has a very thick and long reverb making the vocal sound huge(like on the Thom Yorke's vocal on the new "King of Limbs" album) but at the same time it is not covering the rest of the mix. How to make it not clash with the rest of the arrangment? I tried all the usuall stuff - EQing the reverb returns and ducking but all I get is a blurry mud.
Any tips?
Old 20th February 2011
  #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vibralux View Post
I am finishing my second album and I am struggling to get this effect on vocal, where it has a very thick and long reverb making the vocal sound huge(like on the Thom Yorke's vocal on the new "King of Limbs" album) but at the same time it is not covering the rest of the mix. How to make it not clash with the rest of the arrangment? I tried all the usuall stuff - EQing the reverb returns and ducking but all I get is a blurry mud.
Any tips?
predelay
Old 20th February 2011
  #3
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travisbrown's Avatar
The first thing I have to do in cases like this is make room for it in the arrangement. Then make room for it in the mix. Then use lots of predelay and ducking to get it out of the way of the actual vocal line. Then maybe try some parallel comp on the vocals (rather than a pre-send insert) so you can pop the vocal line up over the reverb send without sending a compressed signal to the reverb.

Hard to say without hearing what you are working with, though.
Old 20th February 2011
  #4
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travisbrown's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by robertshaw View Post
predelay
That would get it out of the way of the source vocals, but the question is how not have it conflict with the rest of the mix.
Old 20th February 2011
  #5
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Steab's Avatar
Emt 140
Old 20th February 2011
  #6
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John Suitcase's Avatar
 

Using some delays instead of reverb can help.

One trick I use sometimes is to feed your reverb with a ping pong delay, set to 1/8th or 1/4 notes. Mix it so there's no dry delayed signal, just the reverb. That way you can get a longer, more huge sounding reverb effect, without a huge amount of actual reverb, if that makes sense!
Old 20th February 2011
  #7
@ travis

Quote:
ducking to get it out of the way of the actual vocal line
Do You mean ducke the verb with the actual vocal track?

Quote:
parallel comp on the vocals (rather than a pre-send insert) so you can pop the vocal line up over the reverb send without sending a compressed signal to the reverb.
This one I dont get - I know how to do a parallel compression but how do I apply it in this scenario? How to aply it to a vocal track so it wont go to a reverb send?

Thanks for the tips!
Old 20th February 2011
  #8
@ john - by feeding the reverb with delay do You mean I should put the delay prior the reverb on the fx channel's insert ? (I work in Cubase) and than just send the vocal to this "delay-reverb" channel?
Old 20th February 2011
  #9
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steveschizoid's Avatar
Your mix might be too dense, forcing you to turn the reverb up too much in order to hear it. It's all about creating space and playing with it. Depending on the reverb, you might want to try messing around with whatever frequency dependent decay parameters are tweakable, and make sure you are aware of the way the reverb swings with the music.

I'm liking my current method, which basically means creating a very tight, near finished mix (in terms of sounds, frequencies and balance anyway) with the bricasti send turned off, then, when I do bring it in, it's a lot easier to immediately hear the impact.

As far as your dpecific issue - by all means tweak the predelay, and if you are using a vocal specific reverb, you might even want to have you vocal duck the reverb a bit so it blossoms when the vocal stops.
Old 20th February 2011
  #10
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travisbrown's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by vibralux View Post
@ travis

Do You mean ducke the verb with the actual vocal track?
Yes, to get the same effect as predelay, but keyed to the actual vocal line rather than a set predelay time. This way the reverb only kicks in once the line is finished rather than in the middle of a word or phrase. Take a while to getting it sounding right when it actually works. Same principle as a ducked delay.

The other way to do this, which is much easier in a DAW, is just automate the reverb send or return so it comes up at the end of each vocal phrase or where appropriate. I suspect this is how many do it these days rather than setting up an expander. This is how I do it if I'm just doing in a couple key parts of the song, but more often with delay than reverb.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vibralux View Post
This one I dont get - I know how to do a parallel compression but how do I apply it in this scenario? How to aply it to a vocal track so it wont go to a reverb send?
Pretty much exactly like you would set up a reverb.

Set up a compressor on an aux track in your DAW or a send channel on your console. Return the compressor to a new channel . Use the aux send level on the vocal channel to route the vocal signal to the compressor send. Mix the compressed channel with the source vocal channel. You might play around with pre/post setting on the send depending on how you are riding the vocal level. This way you can create some added punch to the vocal line without sending that compressed signal to the reverb channel.
Old 20th February 2011
  #11
Sweet - many thanks for the clarification. Will try in now.
Old 20th February 2011
  #12
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king of limbs seem to have a lot of delay on those tracks with the big vocal tail, they don't sound like a reverb effect to me
Old 20th February 2011
  #13
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edva's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by vibralux View Post
@ travis



Do You mean ducke the verb with the actual vocal track?

Yes.

This one I dont get - I know how to do a parallel compression but how do I apply it in this scenario? How to aply it to a vocal track so it wont go to a reverb send?

The uncompressed vox gets reverb, the parallel compressed vox doesn't.

Thanks for the tips!
HTH.
Old 20th February 2011
  #14
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RCM - Ronan's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by travisbrown View Post
The first thing I have to do in cases like this is make room for it in the arrangement.
That is the key. I just heard the first single and that arrangement is SPARSE.
Old 20th February 2011
  #15
Yes I am aware of that - but there are some tracks that are a lot more dense yet they managed to keep this huge verb on top of all the other things. BTW - is it just me or is that album squashed to death???? Literally.
Old 20th February 2011
  #16
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toneguru's Avatar
Generally the less going on in the mix the easier it is to get the reverb to sound right and sit right.

Back in the 70's there was a band "ELO" and Jeff Lynne the primary songwriter/producer made it clear to the engineer that he did not want any reverb on his tracks. One reason was that he had so much going on that it would just muck things up. I think the other reason is that he hated reverb.

Anyway, you may want to consider a short verb and a long verb and a delay all set with dif pre delays and EQ's and pans. You can actually use less when combined from the three seperate fx channels. Also I would do this with an EMT plate, a Bricasti and a good dedicated delay like a Lexicon pcm42 or an AMS. Of course most folks don't have all these great fx's at there fingertips but if you can get em you will appreciate the difference.

Just a thought. There are lots of tricks that I am not aware of but mess around with different devices and odd ways of using them and you may well stumble upon a "happy accident". Especially if you are in the analog domain where accidents have a much better chance of being "happy".

Good luck.
Old 20th February 2011
  #17
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John Suitcase's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by vibralux View Post
@ john - by feeding the reverb with delay do You mean I should put the delay prior the reverb on the fx channel's insert ? (I work in Cubase) and than just send the vocal to this "delay-reverb" channel?
Yep, set up a stereo fx channel, with the ping pong in the first slot, and the reverb in the 2nd slot, set to be 100% wet.
Old 20th February 2011
  #18
Huge reverb that does not cover the rest of mix?

My first thought without hearing the song is to make sure your music is size-wise in the same ballpark (or arena) as the reverb you're trying to use on the vocal. It might not be that it's too loud, but instead that against a dryer ensemble, it only seems that way.
Old 20th February 2011
  #19
That is a very good point - sometimes I forget about this as I try not to overuse reverbs especially that everyone nowadays goes crazy with verbs. I will try to wet some other arrangment parts a bit and see what happens.
Old 21st February 2011
  #20
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travisbrown's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by vibralux View Post
That is a very good point - sometimes I forget about this as I try not to overuse reverbs especially that everyone nowadays goes crazy with verbs. I will try to wet some other arrangment parts a bit and see what happens.
I think today the trend is more of vocal echoes than reverbs. Maybe it's swinging back the other way now.
Old 21st February 2011
  #21
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I had good luck on my last mix using parellel on the vox and using a send with sonnox verb on one of the vocals. I tried a lot of verbs to get what I wanted, but sonnox has a very nice layout and was very quick to get the sound I wanted from scratch. I love the controls and layout compared to the Lexicon Native verbs. I also hard panned my guitars and synths. Kick and bass at the bottom down the center and a lot of room for vocals to spread out. When I'm in the very first stages sometimes I'll put up the CLA Vocal plugin as a sub so the artist can get inspired and so I can keep in mind how big the reverb is going to be come mix time. I love the verb on the CLA Vocal plug and just wish they would make it it's own plugin for a send! It's scarey how good that artist series plug sounds right away, but a bit to simple for my taste with no control what so ever.
Old 21st February 2011
  #22
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shipwreck's Avatar
 

I've been using this technique for a while to get really dense reverb without losing too much clarity:

Run a duplicate of the vocal track, de-ess the hell out of it (all sibilance), then eq a low cut filter with a cutoff around the primary tonal frequencies of the vocalist (for me around 200-300hz works fine). Put a long trailing reverb on this duplicate track and you won't get all of the sibilance in your reverb trail. Then you can blend the two tracks and mask your reverb so you don't lose all of your vocal clarity.

I find putting a small room reverb on the main vocal helps to blend the tracks together also.
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