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Topic: Using Reverb

  1. #1

    Question Using Reverb

    Hi, all. Can anyone direct me to a source for learning more about using reverb to create placement, or can someone share some general guidelines? Using Ambinence I've found that by adjusting the wet/dry mix I can move instruments forward or backward in space but is sometimes it just seems too wet. Are there other tricks? Thanks. ~Eric

  2. #2

    Re: Using Reverb

    Here's a great basic primer:


    It's more geared towards rock music, but still a very important read. Make sure you check out the "don'ts" section towards the end.

    My two biggest pieces of advice:

    1. Use less than you think you need
    2. Never determine how much you need while mixing in headphones... you will use too much!
    - Jamie Kowalski

    All Hands Music - Kowalski on the web
    The Ear Is Always Correct - Writings on composition

  3. #3

    Re: Using Reverb

    Thanks, Jamie. I'll look into that link. I think your two principles are sound. I was mixing in headphones and after listening to the final mix I think it could use less. ~Eric

  4. #4

    Re: Using Reverb

    This is a very valuable point! Get to know your mixing speakers/headphones! When I first got my studio monitors, I mixed everything until it sounded gorgeous on them: Perfect EQ, perfect reverb. When trying the mix on any other speaker system it suddenly sounded dull, muddy and drowned in reverb.

    Took me a year to learn listening correctly to my monitors, and finally I can mentally adjust the neccessary amount of reverb. And after creating the perfect balance, I use to nudge the dry/wet-slider another bit to the dry side. Seems to work for me!

    Here is a nother website with tons of valuable information on this and other audio topics.
    Greetings from Vienna!
    My website: Above the staff.net

  5. #5

    Re: Using Reverb

    I'm always amazed when doing orchestral mock-ups and setting reverb levels at what I think is about right, then comparing to an orchestral recording of the same piece, just how 'wet' the professional recording is. To get comparable results I have to up the reverb to way beyond what feels right in isolation.

  6. #6

    Re: Using Reverb

    Reverb in commercial music is a real victim of fashion..listen to the outragious sibilant stuff all over 80's George Michael and then how dry a lot of contemporary vocals are - my feeling is that it's all up for grabs right now - and in non orchestral music I think it might be time to re-discover the joys of extreme reverbs, but with emulation of real space it's just really important to consider some of the reality of the behaviour or sound waves in a confined space - old stuff to many I'm sure, but when you realise that higher frequencies have less energy and are less directional than lower ones a lot of stuff falls into place.
    The high frequency component of reverb depends on the type of walls your space has.. concrete will do a good job of reflecting high frequencies, other materials will absorb more - but the lower energy higher frequencies will be the first victim, so as a rule of thumb rolling off the high frequencies in the reverb signal will help make a room sound more natural and tend to assist the ear by reducing the confusion between the original and reflected signal.
    There is obviously a delay between the sound made by the orchestra and that reflected by the building and there has been a lot written about this in the forums (fora?) but most reverb engines have this built in (initial reflection) and adjustable. I do think the high frequency roll off is the place to start though. Also don't forget that many commercial orchestral recordings (particularly classical) are surprisingly dry.
    It's worth remembering that people still beat a path to record orchestras in particularly flattering buildings rather than recording dry and adding reverb.. this is because the sound paths set up by 50 or so players in a hall are incredibly complex, even an amazing convolution 'sample' of a room can't react to every player individually. However, the ear is satisfyingly easy to confuse - when I was at college we did some fantastic experiments with sound - proving that quadrophonic sound doesn't really work for instance, but my favourite was cutting off the attack portion of a recording of many instruments. You'd be amazed at how many experienced musicians couldn't differentiate between woodwinds and strings and brass held notes of the same pitch once the attack and decay had been edited off! Irrelevant, but interesting all the same.

    Good luck - post something and everyone can pile in with ideas..



    BTW totally agree with not mixing on headphones - I suggested this once on a 'best headphones' thread recently and got shot down.. I have previous as an engineer and composer, a good speaker mix will also sound great on headphones - but you'll be lucky the other way around. Now, about your mixing room...

  7. #7

    Re: Using Reverb

    Hi, again. Thanks for the great input. I'm a relative newb at mixing. I'm using JABB and GPO in Sonar 6 with Ambience reverb at the moment. Can anyone that uses Ambience give ideas specific to this plug-in? If I roll of the "highs" is that reducing the treble gain or increasing the treble dampen? Now all I need is lots of time and a sound-proof room so I don't drive my wife crazy having to here the same excerpt over and over and over and over......

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