Reverb Sizes & Characteristics

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
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Reverb Sizes & Characteristics

Post by 808Stylee » Thu Jun 04, 2015 6:43 pm

What's up everyone,

New to the forum. Hello to all :D I've been producing off and on from 2009-2014, with 2015 being the year I finally decided to make it a daily/weekly task. It's been so much fun, and along that ride comes some questions.

I'm trying to dial in my method for reverbs, and wanted to get some feedback from those experienced with reverb methodology. I use three different returns for my reverbs, each hosting a different size reverb (small, medium, large). With respect to keeping the room on the entire track uniform, should I be keeping most of the characteristics for each of these reverbs the same, across all 3 return tracks?

I'm mainly referring to parameters that change the shape of the room, i.e. Reflection, Diffusion, Density, shape, pre-delay, etc. I figured that, if I were to alter these parameters slightly on each of the return tracks, that I would be negating the entire goal of unifying the reverb "room" for the whole composition.

My thinking is that, for this routing to be effective and uniform for the song in its entirety, I would only be "allowed" to change parameters that don't affect the shape of the reverb on each return (diffusion network, input processing, etc.) and of course having the decay times set respective to their needed length. Hopefully this makes sense.

My goal is to get all my tracks sounding cohesive within the same "room", whether that room feels bigger or smaller depending on what sound is playing, just keeping it uniform.

All thoughts are welcome and encouraged. I look forward to hearing what you have to say.

Thanks in advance! :mrgreen:

- Jamo

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Re: Reverb Sizes & Characteristics

Post by silversurfer60 » Sun Jun 07, 2015 7:14 pm

One of the functions of the reverb is to position the instruments/voice in your track.

Rules of the thumb.

Instruments more at the front:

few reverberation (low decay time under 1 sec.)
many highs (you can do that with the high or low filter at the diffusion network in abletons reverb)
wide panorama (you can don that with the stereo parameter in abletons reverb or with utility but not more then 100%)
few density, few predelay

Instruments more in the back:

many reverberation (decay time from 1,5 sec upward)
few highs (you can do that with the high or low filter at the diffusion network in abletons reverb)
small panorama (between 50% and 80%)
high density, more predelay (25-30ms)

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Re: Reverb Sizes & Characteristics

Post by TomViolenz » Sun Jun 07, 2015 10:21 pm

Without you telling us what kind of music you are trying to make, this question can not be answered. In a regular mixing-the-instruments approach, you would probably follow what you are doing. But if your music is more experimental, and dare I say electronic, things are not so straight forward.

Space here becomes not so much an imitation of reality, but is absolutely its own element. So you would design different spaces for your elements. And if they fit or don't is utterly your creative choice.

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Re: Reverb Sizes & Characteristics

Post by 808Stylee » Mon Jun 08, 2015 6:29 pm

Production genre is dance music. I guess what I'm more or less getting at is if there is a general rule of thumb for reverb on a composition, or if you can break all the rules with just as good results (i.e. all elements sounding cohesive in the space, working together). Basically, which process will yield less mud or more mud in the mix. There has got to be some sort of insight on this, dance music or not. Just looking for a place to start for my own methodology on reverb usage. .

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Re: Reverb Sizes & Characteristics

Post by TomViolenz » Tue Jun 09, 2015 9:01 am

Well your OP reads like you already kinda know what you're doing. Though I think this is more a general approach and not really tailored for electronic (i.e. totally artificial) music.

What I do for electronic music is, I only use one Send reverb for giving the general room feel to the track.

I usually make the preset according to how I imagine the listening environment to be for that particular track. If it is a huge dance floor machine, I'll usually make a preset with a big hall kind of feel. Is it a little housy, groovy, I choose a somewhat smaller hall, as I think this fits the genre better.
If it's something pretty much undanceable but pretty to listen to, I usually imagine a living room as the spot to hear that in best and if I think it's best for being ouside running, hiking, sitting on blankets in the park I make a huge space preset (but use a lot less of it)

This preset needs to be on the best quality reverb I own (speak lush, lush, LUSH!). Valhalla is a pretty good source, but so are the entry level Lexicon ones that have come down in price a lot recently.

Then for the mud issue, I always high pass the reverb (I usually use the inbuilt HP filter/crossover and I like the approach of giving the bass frequencies a multiplier (I use about 0.25 at frequencies below 130 Hz).

This track reverb then gets applied to all the tracks by dialing in the reverb send so that you start to barely notice it if you listen to that track by itself, and then I dial it slowly back till it starts to disappear again from percerption. That's the point I set it at. Kinda homeopathic really :mrgreen:

But of course this is far from the only reverb in my set. I even have two or more on other sends and I use them in a much more audible manner. But these are not real spaces and they are used for effect. These are also a nice and easy thing to play with live. Important here is a: anything goes (yes even, though very rarely, reverb on frequencies below 130hz (maybe a plate, or a spring verb) b: don't use them all over the track.

If you try to make an album that kinda keeps the feeling between tracks, while changing the space, this works rather well (sure you could also just copy the preset between tracks and just change its size around, but I find that unnecessary and limiting.)
As for what values to dial in for all the parameters (density, early reflections, whatever......) THIS is really what your ears are for.

So now you know how one other poster on these forums handles his reverbs 8)

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Re: Reverb Sizes & Characteristics

Post by Aeya_ » Tue Jun 09, 2015 11:33 am

Longer pre-delay usually brings the sound closer to the front. Anyway, I only use reverb as a send if I need to—if I’m applying an effect to the reverb signal—else I use it as an insert. It’s all smoke & mirrors at the end of the day.

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