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Reverb, how do you generally edit?
Old 7th June 2011
  #1
Gear Nut
 

Reverb, how do you generally edit?

While making a big plugin reverb comparsion I was forced do dive deeper in the esoteric parameters of reverb.

I'm generally a tweaker, editing parameters just to listening to what change they make and I've found editing reverbs is often frustrating. Some parameters seems to do very little to the sound, the nuances are mostly very subtle. I used to end up changing reverb-time and filters. But making this comparsion made me learn more.

Some terms (like "diffusion" and "size") are also used differently between vendors.

Anyway, I'm interested in hearing other peoples strategies when working with reverb.
Old 7th June 2011
  #2
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tha]-[acksaw's Avatar
 

Im totally with you. Reverbs are far from intuitive. They often do label things different from company to company. And the results of its functions are often very subtle.

Im pretty much to a point where i only mess with four things when setting a verb. I fist get the type of space im looking for (large, small, bright, dark). Then i mess with reverb time and try to dial it in a bit, based on the tempo or mood of the song. From there i mess with early reflections. The last thing i do is filters. I will usually do this with an EQ plugin before the verb plugin. I just like the way it sounds that way, and don't much care for EQ or filters built into the verb plugin. Mostly cause i can open up an EQ and instantly see whats going on. Where i have to do a bit of digging inside a verb to figure out whats going on.

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Old 7th June 2011
  #3
Gear Nut
 

That's why, as much as people hate on them, I often use the reverb built into the sequencer I'm working with, unless I need something specific it can't do. Because they often come with great manuals. Check out the manual covering the reverb built into Ableton Live. It's hard to beat that. And once you understand it and practice, you can actually get some pretty good sound out of it. The manual helps you do that.
Old 7th June 2011
  #4
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Sk106's Avatar
 

Reverb usage .. to me, it's the same thing as with most other aspects and tools of audio editing. It's about using the best raw material for task at hand as possible (use the right verb device for certain verb types), and adjusting it a little to snug, perhaps use several in combination to each other and use different aspect of their sound together as one tail.

In all the testing and fiddling around and "being forced to make the best of things", with time you tend to find a way to use one or a few of them that tends to sound equally good every time by doing the same thing with them. And from there things start developing. One fact of tools, as a fact of life, is you can’t always have what you need. You gotta make the best you can, out of what you have at your disposal. Getting a good reverb comes out of such a process.

What is equally true, is you can’t get a good sweet hall out of any unit just by editing. They don’t offer that flexibility. Editing a verb is like using EQ on a track: the more EQ it needs, the more proof it is that you’re using the wrong raw material. You need different raw material. I do make adjustments to verbs, but those are usually pretty gentle. The reverb needs to sound pretty good straight away for it to be considered for the task.

I’ve found ways to call up great short verbs, long ones, bright and dirty ones, by using different verb tools in specific ways, personal ways that I ‘found’ by doing, and didn’t dig up from anywhere else. Some verb toys are great at short verbs but suck at long ones, for other toys it’s the opposite. Most things I read about regarding verb usage are very general guidelines, but as soon as the talk goes into editing the voices go silent real fast. Might stretch as far as what parameter change what character of the sound, but that’s as far as it goes. It’s easy to fall for the empty patronizing that all one needs to do is to learn to use it, which is a wiseguy comment and won’t get you the control and sound you want.

There are verbs and toys that are 'known' as good among people, verbs that you feel you "should" agree are good, or otherwise you question everybody else's judgment and you better explain yourself. Take the Lexicon bundle for example. What all the big names have in common - in my view - is they sound pretty sweet straight away, like the preset is the magic golden flower, but shaping them through editing always makes it sound like you're degrading things. They tend to be use it as is, or not at all.

Try as many verb units as you possibly can, and use the same dry reference material to put through them. In that material, try to incorporate sounds that are difficult for reverbs to handle, such as bright snare drums, sharp crossticks, Roland 808 hihat and snare, distorted electric guitar solo, full orchestra or band, vocals with big dynamic range and sharp consonants, S-sounds. etc

For those verbs you don’t own, get their preset lists off of the manual (or wherever you can find them) and select about 10 presets that you’d like to hear, as a way of judging their sound. Call friends and acquaintances who have those verbs, or ask for demos in stores, or ask other engineers what tools they used for this or that. Download demo versions off of manufacturer’s sites. PM people on forums who has verbs that you don’t, and ask if they mind you sending them some files that they’ll run through the presets you selected and send the results back to you. Perhaps offer an exchange to do the same for them, regarding a tools you have that they don’t. You’d be surprised how many like talking about what they used, and talk about details and stuff. Try and get some presets put onto your reference material if possible. If you can’t, then make careful notes about your impressions.

All verb units got “a sound” that permeates everything about them – even impulse verbs do. Determine what ‘sound’ a certain unit has, and what that can be put to good use and what to not put it on. Try to determine what certain units are good for. Paradoxically, this is best done listening for where they sound the most crap, because that’s easier to determine, and it’s a fair conclusion to make that they’ll sound better doing the opposite than where they sound crap. There aren't too many units that sounds crap on everything. Determine which tail lengths certain units sound the best on. Short? Medium? Long? Also listen closely for clues to that some units tends to sound good on certain things, like drums, vocals, electronic sounds. Can they handle the metallic factor well? Etc etc.

With time, you’ll discern patterns. The X model never seems to suffer from *whatever*, and that makes it good for *these* kinds of sounds. A tip for trying long big reverbs: narrow the stereo width of the reverb by 50% or more, makes is easier to hear what's going on. The Yamaha SPX90 reverb (hardware) is a gritty, metallic and bright reverb. It sounds pretty bad on most things, but it works real good as short bright reverb on drums. It’s renown for that, even today. The software Wizooverb, to me, is dark and woody in color, and have a quality that tastes almost like ... chorus. It works best as short early reflections or long 'eternity' verbs on dark to medium bright sources, such as piano, vocals, acoustic instruments (my opinion).

These are the kinds of clues you need to collect, and gather from testing yourself. Ask others what tools they use for such’n such verbs, and try to find out if they know of any renown reverb units for certain things, such as the SPX90 being useful on drums. With time, you’ll gather a toolbox and a way of working that is personal to you, that enables you to do all the bread’n butter stuff you’ll ever need. That, is the point where editing can begin to be actually useful.
Old 7th June 2011
  #5
Gear Nut
 

One interesting info I got from the manual for Lexicon 480 is that it's the "top" 15 dB buildup and decay that matters the most for how roomsize is percieved by the listener. That's why they recommend working with shape and spread prior to changing decay time or predelay.

Also they don't encourage the use of early reflections. Rather they recommend using other parameters first to create the sense of a soundstage.

Finally, predelay is - according to the 480 manual - not a "realistic" parameter. Although they admit it can increase the percieved size it can also ruin the realism of the room produced.

All this was news for me.
Old 8th June 2011
  #6
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tha]-[acksaw's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by oortone View Post
One interesting info I got from the manual for Lexicon 480 is that it's the "top" 15 dB buildup and decay that matters the most for how roomsize is percieved by the listener. That's why they recommend working with shape and spread prior to changing decay time or predelay.

Also they don't encourage the use of early reflections. Rather they recommend using other parameters first to create the sense of a soundstage.

Finally, predelay is - according to the 480 manual - not a "realistic" parameter. Although they admit it can increase the percieved size it can also ruin the realism of the room produced.

All this was news for me.
This is some interesting stuff. Do you by chance have a link to the article? I'm kinda curious as to what they mean by "top 15 dB buildup and decay". I hate to seem like a total noob but what do they mean when they say "working with the shape and spread". Shape, like envelope or tone? I'm guessing spread is pan or stereo width.

Any thoughts on any of that stuff? You got me curious. Thanks for the post.
Old 8th June 2011
  #7
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by tha]-[acksaw View Post
This is some interesting stuff. Do you by chance have a link to the article?
I read it in the manual for 480L V4 Rev 0: http://www.peabody.jhu.edu/data/46/l...anual_Rev0.pdf

It's in the chapter called "In search of ambience" on page 3-2. Really interesting chapter.
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