Mixing vocals question

Discussion in 'Mixing & Editing' started by mm, Nov 12, 2009.

  1. mm

    mm Guest

    I am mixing 8 vocals and need to add a bit of reverb for room ambiance. Is there an sonic difference between mixing the vocals to a submaster and then applying the reverb, or applying the reverb to each vocal individually and then mixing them down?

    Thanks for any thoughts...
  2. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Oct 26, 2007
    Cocoa, FL
    Send it to a submaster.

    Make everyone sound like they are in the same room...
  3. hansgordy

    hansgordy Guest

    Definitely apply the verb to all of the voices at once. You'll get a different result for each voice, and you won't like it...unless you use exactly the same settings.

    A while back when the Eagles put out their CD, I noticed how they spread the harmonies across the whole mix. It was a wall of vocals that were processed as 'one.' It's been done before, but this was as though the guys were in front (or above) the instruments...not just louder. I'd suggest spreading the vocals like this, as though they're standing slightly apart from each other on a stage.

    One last thought...they used a ton of compression along with the verb. I think that's how they got the separation from the instruments. A whole different texture.
  4. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Distinguished Member

    Jul 18, 2004
    Chicago area, IL, USA
    Home Page:
    (Wrong forum...?)
  5. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    Dec 12, 2001
    Oberlin, OH
    Home Page:
    What does this have to do with mastering?
  6. BusterMudd

    BusterMudd Active Member

    Aug 13, 2004
    New York City

    Alright, the opposing viewpoint seems underrepresented, so...

    If the goal is to "Make everyone sound like they are in the same room" you can still achieve that by sending individual voices via individual aux sends to the 'verb...you just have to send them all to the same (virtual) "room". And unless you're trying to "get a different result for each voice" (and if you were, then presumably you would like it), the way to avoid that is simply to match the mix created via the aux sends to the mix created by the faders. Now, why would you go to all that trouble when you could just send a submix to the 'verb? You wouldn't.

    But what if you did want a different blend sent to the 'verb than that that was going on in the mix? "Gee Bob, why would I want to do that?" Because, grasshopper...

    If the goal truly is to "Make everyone sound like they are in the same room", then by definition/necessity some of those singers are standing closer to the walls of that room than others. And so the ratio of direct/reflected sound from the singers closer to the wall will be different than that of the singers further from the wall. So if you're serious about creating a realistic ambience that behaves like actual physical space, you really don't want to send the exact same blend of voices to the 'verb that you send to the mix bus; depending on the "perspective" of the listener (mics) you will probably want to use the aux sends to create an inverse of the fader balances.
  7. bouldersound

    bouldersound Real guitars are for old people. Well-Known Member

    Jan 23, 2010
    Boulder, Colorado
    I agree with BusterMudd, but it really depends on what result you're looking for. There's no objective "better" or "worse", just choices. Using a DAW lets you try applying reverb to each instrument or to a bus, or put it on an aux loop.

    Giving each voice its own aux loop type effect is probably the most versatile way to do it, combining the advantages of the next two methods, but there are a lot of variables to manage. The reverb is still subject to the affects of compression downstream, which may be audible.

    Inserting reverb on each vocal channel gives you a lot of control. If you want them to sound like they're all spread out in a room start them with the same settings and adjust each one to place it in a slightly different spot. Reverb follows panning of the channel in the mix. You can't chain anything with the reverb without it affecting the dry signal.

    A shared aux effects loop lets you at least vary the amount of reverb on each voice , if that's what you want. You can build an effects chain with eq, dynamics etc. along with the reverb plugin. The reverb's stereo image is generally independent of channel panning, unless you have a plugin with stereo input.

    Putting reverb on a vocal subgroup means you can't eq the 'verb without it affecting the dry signal (unless the eq is in the reverb plugin), but if there's a compressor on the group the reverb could be placed after it in the chain for a sound different from the other methods, which are affected by group compression. Also, a plugin that responds to stereo input may do cool things with voices panned apart.

    You could always try applying the reverb to the whole mix, perhaps after bus eq and compression.

  8. cruisemates

    cruisemates Active Member

    Jan 28, 2004
    Home Page:
    Being old school I would have just given each voice the exact same amount of gain to one reverb - same result as usually one send from a sub-mix. I think you get the idea. You don't say what these 8 voices are doing, however.
    It is a chorale group, or do you have individual soloists? If you have inidividual soloists you may find some people have vastly different voices and a single reverb setting for everyone might not give you the control you need.

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