I'm very particular about what reverb I use, so this may be of no use to many of you. I've used the impulses, etc. and like them very much, but when I'm looking for a solid, high-quality reverb, I use the FREE vst plug-in, Freeverb Too.
I'm sure many of you have heard of this already, but I wanted to recommend it to those who haven't. It can be tuned very nicely and sounds great.
I'm very new to GPO and would rather ask you a question if I may than try to be clever. I am ending with either very flat mixes (no depth) or too muddy (too much reverb). I just can not seem to find the midway. How do you propose to use reverb settings? Do you use different settings for different instruments with multiple reverb busses?
PS I use Sonar 3.1.1 and tried Lexicon, Ambience, Sonitus and SIR. I seem to get better results with Ambience or SIR for orchestral stuff, but still can not get the mix satisfactory.
Put your verb on an aux bus, and send from each instrument to it. Least for the up front instruments, more and more send the further back into the orchesta you get. If you want a classical orchestra 'from a distance', like some classical recordings, then even the up front instruments are rather wet. Best way I know to 'tweak' is to get a good recording of the sound you're looking for, then A/B your mix versus the recording.
Sometimes a verb will need EQ, especially if you use convolution reverb, depending on the impulse you're starting with and style of music. The low-mids and mids can quickly muddy up.
That is a very cool idea. Now how do you do it? I'm using Sonar 3 Producer and haven't found a way to send to the aux bus from a midi instrument, unless I have an audio track for each instrument. Is that the answer?
I don't recall the details in Sonar3, but basically, yes, an audio track for each instrument. GPO allows you to select a unique stereo output pair for each instrument.
So, for example, if instance #1 of GPO contains 8 instruments, each one is routed to a different output pair (1/2, 3/4, 5/6 ......15/16). Sonar should give you an aux send control for each of those outputs/instruments.
Yes, to do it in Sonar you have to insert 4 audio tracks in the track view of Sonar. Then click in the input control of each new track and select "PeronalPrchestraVST" and a popup will allow you to choose any of the outputs from kontakt. Inseret a new bus in the bus pane and then go to each track to insert a bus sent.
OK, That part I got right because I used that same procedures in Sonar for other samplers & synths. The part where I'm still not getting the mix right is the reverb settings itself. As I understand from above, more reverb send an instrument back and less reverb bring it forward, but how much is less and how much is more? Does it mean that 0.0 send is right in front and -INF right back?
The advice you've gotten so far is excellent--separate Reverb bus, A/B-ing the sound will show you clearly the effect of the reverb.
-INF on the send from your audio (GPO instrument(s)) track to the reverb bus ==> no reverb.
0.0 on the send ==> nominal output level is being sent to the reverb.
Other tips (I'm a SONAR Producer 3.1.1 user) for a simple ambient reverb approach. You can get much more complicated solutions that involve long and short reverbs, and use of delay, but I think you're looking for a simpler solution right now:
Send all dry output from GPO instruments to a separate single (master) bus that has no reverb itself.
Use the send level on the inserted Aux Reverb send on each GPO track to control the level that is sent to the Aux Reverb bus.
Set up the Aux Reverb track to send to the master bus so that you can control the overall reverb level from your console. You can easily solo and mute the reverb bus.
The reverb itself should be reverb only, no dry sound. On the Sonitus, for example, put the "Dry" slider all the way down (left) or mute it.
Now you can blend the reverb Aux bus with the dry master bus by controlling its send level to the master from the SONAR console, and can A/B it with the mute button or solo it.
If you can hear a lot of reverb over the music as it's playing, you've applied to much reverb and/or the decay time of reverb is too long. The best test of your reverb levels is at the pauses in the music. You should hear a tail that's clean and relatively short, almost like a breath--no ringing or roaring. If you have 4 seconds of ringing, roaring reverb at the pause, you have too much. In a good concert venue, there's a bit of muted reverberation, but it dies quickly. A lot of money is spent designing concert venues to eliminate excessive reverberation, among other unwanted sonic effects.
Thanks billp. That's a great run-through for doing it on Sonar. I ran the test as you suggested, listening to the tails when the music stops and I can hear a distict "slap back" of reverb, I suppose meaning that I must be using too much and maybe too long a delay time?
Ultimately (for the present!) you should send your audio out of your PC to a Lex 480L.
Well I agree that's an expensive solution. But it is what many 'pros' in scoring circles use and it is what contributes to the great sound they get. I use to be able to rent one for a weekend at quite a reasonable rate and it was not hard to set up in my little studio for a mixing session. That option has not been available to me for a few years now, so I have searched for a 'plug-in' that can give me the same sound as that beautiful 480L.
I have not found it yet. The bundled 'verbs with Sonar are great (the Sonitus 'verb is almost Lex-like but even Lexicon's own Pantheon is not up to their own standard of hardware reverb!) but even the AMBIENCE bundled with GPO is way better than what you could get a few years ago. I have tried the way over-priced WAVES plug-ins for their very nice reverb, but frankly none of the plug-in type of reverbs approaches what you can get out of even a PCM-91.
I don't know why this should be given the vast computer power we now have coupled with copious amounts of ram. If it were possible to fully emulate these units, sales of new 'hi end' hardware reverbs would evaporate which they haven't. They are still much in demand in many top film scoring studios for their natural lively reverb.
The Impulse or convolution type of reverb is very nice now. I like the latest SIR and use it alot. Getting excellent impulses is the thing with these plug-ins. I have demo'd the WAVES convolution 'verb and it is very nice. It is also waayyy overpriced in the classic WAVES tradition!
I think the impulse 'verb is going to be the way to go. I hope to see advancements very soon that will finally achieve what us 'po folks need: realistic cheap reverberation with a lot of control added in. The Pristine Space from Voxengo is nice but still not just what we really need from this kind of technology.
In the mean time, what I usually do with orchestral music is to apply a nice synthesized reverb from something like the Sonitus (I use a nice plug from Prosoniq) for it's strong early reflections but with not much reverb tail. This is combined with an individual use of some delay and compression applied judiciously to individual instrument parts or at least to separate sections. Of course, the strings are at the front so they get much less than the brass at the back, especially the horns which shoot their sound against the back wall of the hall. For percussion I like to apply it indivdually with different plate reverbs to 'lift' them out of the mix and make them sound like they are at the very back of the orchestra.
Finally, in the very last step of the 'pre-master' stage I apply an overall impulse reverb adjusted so just the tail is prominent. This is on the wholemix.
I have even used this after final limiting or compression to allow the mix to regain some of it's 'air'. This is against good mastering convention, but I learned long ago that nothing is set in stone in this business!
My techniques for purely electronic recordings are quite different. Orchestra requires it's own unique approach which comes from much practice playing, recording and mixing.
Well, if you're using GigaStudio... I think that the NFX-4 reverb is pretty good. Don't use too much reverb though... as it tends to kinda "run notes together." There are a lot of people who use "external" reverb units... I just prefer the Giga reverb myself. Gary