How much reverb do you use?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
Grappadura
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How much reverb do you use?

Post by Grappadura » Wed Dec 10, 2008 10:34 pm

Ând how? Always on a return track? Or as an insert, with different settings on each channel? Just in case, "whatever sounds good" is not the answer I´m after, I want to know how important reverb is to you, and if you have any filosofies concerning it. I used to dislike reverb as an effect, because it would muddy the sound, and it took me a while to find reverbs that sounded good to my ears and would add some life to the mix. I don´t like large hall reverbs because they usually leave no room for other instruments imo. So I use medium or small room reverbs, and always very decently. Generally I use them as inserts, because one soaked instrument is enough for me.

knotkranky
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Post by knotkranky » Wed Dec 10, 2008 10:57 pm

For me, other than the egregious FX, it is a depth tool. It simply drops sounds back n forth a bit or a lot. It's a great way to define sounds. If one is up front and the other sounds farther away, they are both heard but not stepping on each other in the same spectral space. It makes some sounds easier to define in a mix and are usually room verbs. There is no answer to "how much"

nebulae
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Post by nebulae » Wed Dec 10, 2008 11:10 pm

Reverb is a tricky topic...I'd say that it's in the top level of importance, along with EQ and Compression.

At its core, reverb is the use of space in audio. However, in application, it can be used to glue a mix together, to send sounds to the background, to bring sounds into the foreground, to extend shorter sounds, and even to create jarring soundscapes. Because there are so many uses of it, generally, the easiest telltale of an inexperienced producer/mixer is that there tends to be too much reverb in the mix, thereby creating a "muddy" mix.

Generally, I always have an instance of Arts Acoustic Reverb on a send, and I try to use that as a "glue" to keep the whole mix feeling like it's in the same space. However, I don't send all tracks to this verb in equal amounts...some more than others. Also, I start with shorter decays in verb, carefully extending as needed, only when needed.

Also, use your filter in the reverb so that you're dampening the high end of any signal you send to your verb. This is especially important if you send drums to the verb...especially hats and snares.
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Grappadura
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Post by Grappadura » Wed Dec 10, 2008 11:19 pm

Thx guys, thats enlightning. Do you regularly add reverb to the kick drum as well?

nebulae
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Post by nebulae » Wed Dec 10, 2008 11:23 pm

Grappadura wrote:Thx guys, thats enlightning. Do you regularly add reverb to the kick drum as well?
hardly ever...too easy to make it boomy. If it's a live drum, then the mic on the drum will capture the "air" and if it's electronic, then you want a punchy non-boomy kick. I use verb to create dramatic booms, but that's more like excessive verb on purpose, if that makes sense.
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laird
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Post by laird » Wed Dec 10, 2008 11:38 pm

There's always at least one track in my songs that has two reverb plugins and a delay.

My general rule (i didnt make this up), "if you can hear the reverb its probably too much". Reverb is more often a psychoacoustic phenomenon, something our brain decodes directly into information (like: I am standing in a small room, or in a subway, or in an open field, or that person is really far away) rather than perceived as an individual sound. Only audio dorks ever "hear" reverb ;)

But when I break the rule, I like to break it BIG. And its a rule I love breaking.

nebulae
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Post by nebulae » Wed Dec 10, 2008 11:40 pm

laird wrote:There's always at least one track in my songs that has two reverb plugins and a delay.

My general rule (i didnt make this up), "if you can hear the reverb its probably too much". Reverb is more often a psychoacoustic phenomenon, something our brain decodes directly into information (like: I am standing in a small room, or in a subway, or in an open field, or that person is really far away) rather than perceived as an individual sound. Only audio dorks ever "hear" reverb ;)

But when I break the rule, I like to break it BIG. And its a rule I love breaking.
yes, this is very well put...nicely done!
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nebulae
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Post by nebulae » Wed Dec 10, 2008 11:41 pm

Also, keep in mind that verb can change the timbre of a sound...what sounds raw before can sound silky after...again, lots of uses for verb
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Grappadura
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Post by Grappadura » Wed Dec 10, 2008 11:41 pm

The other day wallace and I went out field recording in Berlin, we went into an old abandoned radar station that had the shape of a perfect half globe. We played it like a drum, but we were inside and recorded a monstrous boom-bass kick with an incredible natural environment reverb, that we couldn´t possibly have worked out with the usual devices. Its gorgeous, i will show you as soon as the track is ready. The track basically just features this enormous kick, everything else is just buildt around it.

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The kick was recorded in the upper globe, hitting the wooden panels of the globe with a huge iron bolt. We went crazy up there for like 3 or 4 hours, even though it was very cold, but the reverb environment was fantastic!

eggnchips
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Post by eggnchips » Thu Dec 11, 2008 1:05 am

I love reverb and reckon a good quality one is important in song development. After getting into reverb I've come to realise how many great albums of all genres owe a lot of their sound to the reverb use. The Last Shadow Puppets' for example.
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willdahbe
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Post by willdahbe » Thu Dec 11, 2008 1:26 am

one thing I just started toying with is sending lead sounds or percussive sounds into reverb with very small size settings, very small decay and about 45-60 dry/wet.

For instance, I like making a huge sound that covers up most of the sound spectrum, then put a rack after that with two chains. One with a lowpass filter and another with a highpass filter. Tune each to cut out most of the mid frequency. The low pass is usually left untouched after this, but the high pass gets an ableton distortion and reverb. With the global size on reverb set to 0.22 and the decay time being as close to low as it can get it makes a sound pop out a lot without mudding the mix. It's a very psychoacoustic outcome as laird was talking about. So... what you end up getting is a nice sound with no 350 hz mud a clean bottom end and a somewhat defined top end depending on how much distortion is on top...

Sorry for the rant, beam does that to me..

xherv
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Post by xherv » Thu Dec 11, 2008 1:45 am

Grappadura wrote: Image
This is extremely phallic and this track should sound incredibly sexy.
http://www.soundcloud.com/xherv
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nebulae
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Post by nebulae » Thu Dec 11, 2008 2:31 am

xherv wrote: This is extremely phallic and this track should sound incredibly sexy.
The reason this is phallic is that this is a life-sized replica of my genitals.
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xherv
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Post by xherv » Thu Dec 11, 2008 2:51 am

nebulae wrote:
xherv wrote: This is extremely phallic and this track should sound incredibly sexy.
The reason this is phallic is that this is a life-sized replica of my genitals.
Including the one testicle that's kind of rolled off into the surrounding countryside!??
http://www.soundcloud.com/xherv
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leedsquietman
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Post by leedsquietman » Thu Dec 11, 2008 2:54 am

Varies depending on the need. Knotkranky defined it well.

If you want punchy in your face sounds like some electronica and or pop punk etc, you tend to have totally dry bass, light plate on vocals (maybe with a little tape slap), light on guitars and kick drum (sometimes none on kick drum) and a touch more on snare, toms and cymbals etc. Keyboards are arbitrary. Too much reverb takes away that kick you in the nuts, slap you in the face effect.

More subtle types of sounds, can be varied depending on what you need.

With drums, if they are real drums recorded in a room, the room ambience might be sufficient. Drum machines or electronic drums varies.

Then again, some genres, especially ones which use a 'wall of sound' type production or bury things in the mix, such as the 'Shoegazing' period of My Bloody Valentine, early Lush and Ride and Slowdive etc, where vocals are subdued, are just awash with reverb.

Shelving frequencies also helps to take off some of the mud as mentioned above. The mids to upper mids are what showcase the reverb the most, too much on the low end and higher frequencies can be undesirable.

Given that I work with several genres of music and musicians, I don't have any hard rules really.

However, a good thing to do is when you think you have enough, take a break and come back to it later. Your ears get immune to the effect and you start adding more and more and without realizing it can swamp the mix. And when you think you have it just right, back it off a couple of dBs anyway. (even in a mix where dense reverb is necessary)
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