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Best strategies for reverb mixing?


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If I have a few different reverb plugins, whether on the channel strips themselves or in aux channels getting signals bussed to them, what needs to be done to ensure that these different reverbs with different qualities are congruent enough as possible in the mix- each may have unique pre-delays, frequency response,etc. Would it be a good idea to run them all through an EQ and compressor to gel them together?... OR is one reverb for multiple channels the best way to avoid mud and inconsistencies in a mix because of different settings of different units?

 

Thanks!!

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Compressing reverbs doesn't sound like a good idea unless you're trying to achieve some special effect. A reverb "tail" is supposed to drop in level over time. A compressor will mess with that.

 

A reverb helps position sounds in a virtual space. If you want a realistic result where it sounds like all your sounds come from the same space, you may have more luck using reverbs that have similar qualities. A bathroom reverb on a singer, church reverb on the drummer, and concert hall reverb on the piano won't help you making them sound like the musicians are on the same stage or in the same room. If you're not looking for it to sound realistic, then all bets are off.

 

I wouldn't bus reverbs together to process them together to make them gel. Instead I would adjust their pre-delay, frequency responses etc... to make them sound more similar, if that's what you're trying to do.

 

How many reverbs are you using, and what type of music/instrumentation are you working with?

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Www.soundcloud.com/whitmanbransford

 

Electronic/trance stuff.. Honestly I don't feel like I have any particular glaring problems using reverbs, its just one of the things that I've always been kind of haphazard about i.e. Hmm let's try this preset and wiggle these knobs. Never really considered "tuning" a mix in that area with calculated methods

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Usually you use reverbs to gel all sounds together. You shouldn't be in the situation where you need to gel various reverbs together. Only if you use reverbs in a more creative way. In this case it's not about compressing or EQing them. Just try to get the various reverbs sound the way they play along well / gel well right from the beginning. So you have to dig in and tune the parameters.

 

This takes me sometime a couple of hours until I get one or two special creative reverbs sit well.

 

For reverbs that only need to give the mix a stage/width/depth/etc. I mostly work with presets, because they are anyway bearly hearable. You can just "feel" the room. And it's only obvious when it's muted, not turned on.

 

However, I equalise almost always almost all effect returns. A locut between 100 - 400 Hz and if needed 2-3 dB low shelf drop at a frequency a little higher than the locut. This helps to get rid of the mud in the mix. It's not meant to gel different effects together.

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Back in my early days, many years ago in the analogue era, it was once explained to me by my lecturer that while general panning will help put left and right space into the mix for a bit of separation, reverb can help do the same across the z dimension, or depth.

 

Ratio of reverb is important here too. If you want a sound to appear closer, increasing the pre-delay and ER and having a soft decay could help pull off the illusion. While a distant sound would have less direct sound and reflections but much more reverb tail, making for a much different wet/dry ratio. Of course, these examples are a bit extreme, but you get the idea.

 

It's not uncommon to do a it of revernpb tuning to help it sit better in a mix and become less of a distraction. A bit of eq tuning, increasing pre-delay and shaving of transient information is often helpful. You could also apply a bit of chorusing effect for more lushness, this helps simulate the way sounds interact with each other and their environment in a more lively room. Good for orchestras.

 

http://www.waves.com/1lib/images/products/plugins/full/h-reverb.jpg

 

There's heaps of good reverbs out there, I use Space Designer quite a lot, but I must say I am eagerly awaiting this little beastie from Waves, can't wait to give it a good run.

 

I've heard of the case of compressors been used on reverb, but to get it to behave like more of a ducker. So you set it up to shave a few decibels off during phrases, but it becomes slightly elevated during the gaps. Of course you can also automate the send to create a similar, but not quite the same effect.

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