I agree with Hannes, there is a much faster and easier way to accomplish more realistic effects with Altiverb than using all those send knobs and buses.
Sorry Sam, I do appreciate the time it took to create this tutorial, but I don't feel it represents the most effective way to use Altiverb for orchestral recordings. Just my opinion, but perhaps others will benefit from your work.
How do you avoid the phasing from the Dry/Wet knob? Thats the main issue. The point of the sends is to allow total control over the sound of the reverb. It gives you direct access to the levels then of all aspects, and even the volumes of parts of the reverbs. Altiverb as one instance cannot do that.
It was interesting to look through your Altiverb tute. It's an impressive indication of dedication when someone takes the time to pass on what they've learned. Many people never take the time to try helping others of less experience.
I have a suggestion which could make your tute less likely to put some people on the defensive. You title it "Proper Orchestral Mixing with Altiverb 5+," and yet in the first paragraph the first thing you point out is that there many ways of mixing and of using reverb, and your tute is only one approach.
So perhaps the title could lose the word "proper" since that can only be interpreted to mean "The Only proper..." Just titling this "Using Altiverb 5+" I think would say more accurately what you mean. I think maybe losing the word "Orchestral" also may be a good idea - considering the response you've already gotten on your thread.
What you describe with sends and buses is the only way I've ever seen using reverb explained. It's the way things have always worked in hardware mixers and the way they've always worked in computer recording. I don't quite understand why this is spelled out as if it's a new approach - ?
If you're trying to reach complete novices who need to be told what each part of the mixer is, then what would be more helpful, in my opinion, if you not just step them through your example, but explain more about Why you're taking those steps. It would be good if people could finish the tute with a better understanding of the whole theory of using reverb, not just how to do this particular set up for a solo instrument you demonstrated.
It was never clear to me, since you didn't mention it, what one is do with 40 or more separate instrumental tracks in their mix. Are they to share these same instances of Altiverb, or yet more? I'm asking what your intended advice is on that--I know what I do and am happy with results I get, so I'm not asking on my own behalf.
Now I need to say that there Is one place where I've heard someone explain how to use reverb differently than I've ever seen anyone explain in quite the same way anywhere else. Right here at Northern Sounds, DPDAN presented a very thorough and understandable explanation of how he uses Altiverb, and it was different from any method I've seen anywhere else. DPDAN obviously creates superb sounding mixes, so it's foolish to argue with him about how he works. That's not to say his unique method is "right"--but it does clearly work.
He essentially is saying to Not use sends because he feels that this lends an unreality to the results--a split personality to the sound, with a dry one and a semi-wet one superimposed on each other. He sends the sound through the bus with Altiverb and does all the adding of effect right there in the one location---I'm not remembering exactly if he uses the Altiverb wet/dry knob. If he does, then I don't know why that would be different from what he's objecting to - that's mixing dry and wet signal the same as if a send was being used. If he wants to explain again, that would be good, because I'm a little fuzzy on the details of his explanation--since I don't use Altiverb, and I mix in the "old fashioned" way you've described in your tute.
The concept of using three different impulses on the one sound, to get the effect you want, now that is a new approach to me. I don't think I've seen that recommended before. If you think you get better results that way, then I think that's great.
The wet sample you provided--the dry oboe recording with Altiverb added as per your process sounded very good, extremely wet and distant, too much so for my taste, but maybe you exaggerated the amount of reverb to make your point.
Just now in your new reply you indicated that phasing issues happen when using the wet/dry knob. That's interesting--I've never heard that, but then I use reverbs in the way I believe they were intended, with the knob always fully wet. The amount of reverb added to a signal is via the send knob, as you described, and that only works if the reverb is set to full 100% wet.
The wet/dry knob is included in reverbs for the cases when someone has some reason for wanting to insert a reverb directly on a track's mixer module, instead of through a send. In this configuration, obviously you'd need a knob to control the amount of reverb, or only full on wet sound would be possible--and that's a rarely used special effect.
So - Using all those Altiverb instances on one sound was interesting. Without using Altiverb and having the benefit of experimenting with it, I have no idea if I'd agree one gets better results that way.
But the rest of your tute is text book "How To Use Reverb"--and as you can see, other people have their ideas of how to change the way reverb is used. And I can say for sure at least in the case of DPDAN, --you can't argue with the results he gets!
It was interesting--I do feel you should think about changing the title so it doesn't sound like you think you're explaining the Only intelligent way to use Altiverb.
Hi Randy and Sam,
I should have kept quiet, I know better, so please forgive me Sam.
You're a good guy, and it is very non-selfish of you to share what you have learned using Altiverb!
It is indeed an amazing product and I certainly share your enthusiasm.
I feel Randy is right on about what he said.
There really is no right or wrong way to use any reverb, but with the technology that Altiverb provides, we need to adapt to the ways that it can work, and put aside our old ways and do things differently. I am self taught and bullheaded and I have changed the way I apply reverb with orchestral projects.
Here is a very short quicktime movie I made demonstrating how Altiverb treats sound, even with the wet/dry knob fully wet.
Sometimes I use the wet/dry knobs not full, it all depends on the stage positioning and time alignment of the audio tracks. Since phase (when it's out slightly) is an ugly thing and phase is just time, it is reasonable that we can nudge the audio track one way or the other to eliminate this phase issue, to a point where we can get stuff to sound just how we want.
I once recorded a live concert from my live console direct outputs, then transferred the project to Digital Performer, and then discovered that the upright acoustic bass did not sound as good as I thought because he was so close to the drummer's mics. I ended up nudging the basses direct input and mic tracks to eliminate the phase issue, of course as he moved around, the phase changed, but I was able to nudge it far enough that the fullness came back and his time was still very much in the pocket so to speak.
I hope I did not offend you by my short comment. All I wanted to say is that there is a pop orientated approach to reverb and a classical orientated approach. Both have their merits, even for orchestra music, and I just did not want to go further into detail because DPDAN is the real expert here.
It was meant as a purely factual distinction, not as a criticism.
To put it into short words:
Pop orientated ambience is based on the idea to take a dry studio recording and add reverberation to that.
Classical orientated ambience is based on either recording acoustical instruments in a well sounding room with certain distance between microphones and instruments, or running dry signals entirely through convolution for emulating this distance.
If there is a substantial percentage of direct sound that stays in the final mix it will reduce the effect that Altiverb has for positioning on stage (stereo and depth), or even lead to a split sound. Instead of a horn that should be back on stage we hear half a horn right in front of us and half a horn very far away.
In certain cases it may be good to mix in an amount of direct signal, especially if the signal itself is not completely dry. Also the pop orientated reverberation has a history in film music recordings taken in a half-wet, half-dry studio ambience. But currently I am happy using Altiverb full wet and using the other controls (stage position, reverb time and room size) for adjusting the wetness.