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Need help with reverbs

Profile picture for user Smashh

Hi all , Im experimenting with a track that I ve come back to , and trying to get a better sounding mix in general ,
I downloaded the reverb responses after reading Donnys post ( thanks ) and loaded them in Reverberate,
I've used the m7 for snare plate and vocal plate .
In the box here , and i have used Valhalla room in the past but still trying to find that
nicer depth and better results .
Any tips from you would be appreciated as to where you would go with verb /eq on this mix with what I have.
I feel like I wanna hear some closer room around everything to help gel it together ,
what are your thoughts ?


I put a small hall from the m7 impulse library over it .




Profile picture for user Josh Conley

Josh Conley Fri, 05/23/2014 - 01:25

general rule of thumb for reverb: pick one you like with a relatively short decay (tail, whatev) , mix it in until you just start to hear it, and back it off a bit. less is more, try checking reverb on headphones if your room sucks. dont pick something too boomy (cathedral!!!), and watch out for mud. no reverb on bass elements...

try picking a bright plate with less than half a second decay and no delay, full on, send #1. drop a filter after it to roll off ultra low and ultra hi, and maybe a cut at 500 hz
then a dark room, same same and 1 sec or less decay, send #2. same filter schema.

use only those two, no other verbs, not on the master bus, and never more than 25-30%. see how that sounds.

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Josh Conley Fri, 05/23/2014 - 01:42

on the other end, if you want to make your reverb feedback, audio damages rat shack reverb can be set to resonate oh so nicely... sounds lovely on guitar and distorto vox

Profile picture for user Smashh

Smashh Fri, 05/23/2014 - 15:47

Cool thanks Josh , I'll try that technique :).

Checked out the rat shack verb ,sounds lovely , nice price ,says 64bit Au but doesn't say aax format .
will it work on PT 11 ?

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Smashh Fri, 05/23/2014 - 17:04

Ok first attempt and I ve gotta say it sounds way better than my previous mix attempts of this song, thanks again Josh .

Now I can hear where the snare verb can go from here because there is way more clarity ,and I can hear bright vs dark verbs comming in to play for
control of percieved depth etc .
Happy boy here (y) ! , got something to run with , I was getting frustrated before with endless experimenting in the dark with mush :unsure:
Now got something to work with on session management to cut down cpu usage and crashes :)

Profile picture for user Josh Conley

Josh Conley Sat, 05/24/2014 - 04:07

reverb can sound lovely in copious amounts, especially when you hit that sweet spot.... ohhhh dont i know. many great bands make musical use of that like my bloody valentine, the red sparrowes, stars of the lid.
just try to remember that unless you are shooting for a specific effect, your reverb should be relatively invisible in the mix and youll be just fine.
and those starting points work well for my tastes, no hard and fast rules here, but i will say that i think eq'ing the reverbed signal on the way back in can really give your mix a more polished feel. so if you crank the send, eq out the crappy parts, when you turn the send back down.... love happens

DonnyAir Sat, 05/24/2014 - 07:03

Reverb is just another collection of different colors on your audio painting pallet.

Just be careful about how much color you use, or mixing a bunch of different colors together... you can end up with a lot of gray... ;)

Profile picture for user philter1

philter1 Fri, 06/20/2014 - 07:10

I was listening to a ton of tracks on my media player the other day just to hear where the reverb was, how subtle, how large, etc.
There was one track that I couldn't hear any verb at all. That was an educational afternoon. Made me think a bit more on these things.

DonnyAir Fri, 06/20/2014 - 11:43

Here's something from Donny's ancient bag of tricks - LOL I'm positive it's not my idea originally...I'm sure many engineers use this same process or a similar one...

For vocal, I will select a plate. Plates tend to be warmer and smoother sounding, so they are generally my first choice for reverb type when I'm mixing vocals.

While I prefer convolution reverbs - I use Pristine Space with Bricasti files as my main go-to for vocal verbs - you don't have to use impulse files for this method, you can use Waves, Sonitus, etc., and in fact, whatever plug that came stock with your DAW program is probably going to be your best bet, because the plugs that come with the various DAW platforms are generally coded for that particular platform... but, use whatever you have available.

Before you add any effect at all, always make sure that your vocal track sounds good dry first. Sculpt the EQ to your liking, get it sounding as good as you can. If you don't, the reverb is going to make things sound muddy and undefined.

Find a decent sounding verb - generally, I'm not a fan of presets, but for this, it will provide a good starting point from which you can tailor the settings.

Assign a reverb to your track, open up the reverb VST settings; select reverb type as plate.

Take a look at your project tempo/bpm. For the sake of example, let's say that it's 100 bpm.

What we want to do here, is to make sure that the reverb isn't going to crowd the vocal, or get in the way. We're using this as an added texture. We aren't relying on it as the basis for quality.
This is like icing on a cake.

And here's how we do this:

Get a calculator out. You'll need it...

enter 60,000 into the calculator.
now, divide that by your project's tempo (we chose 100, so 60,000/100=600.

Here's what you just did: you took 60,000 - which is how many milliseconds there are in a minute - and then you then divided it by the project tempo, or Beats Per Minute, which is 100.
600ms is the number that tells you what the value of the reverb attack is relative to each quarter note in a measure.
(If you wanted to find the value based on an 8th note, divide 600 in half (300ms), a 16th note would be 150ms, etc)

These are the numbers to help you get the reverb to lay (sync) in-time with your performance notes. It also reflects the amount of time that we are going to slide the reverb start time away from the dry vocal.
What we want is to have the reverb start at one of these measurements and still be in time with the track.
So now, we will take one of these measurements - let's use 600 to start with, and that's the value of the milliseconds you will use for the pre-delay setting on your reverb' settings.

You'll be able to hear, as you try different values, how fast or slow the reverb begins to work after the vocal happens. You can increase this amount to 600ms, or make it as fast as immediately, but for this example, we are trying to get the reverb to "offset" a little from the vocal to avoid everything happening all at once.

Now, select your reverb time. This is the amount of time that your reverb will last. You'll have to choose what is best for the song, what fits and sounds good. The longer time you choose, the longer the reverb will last. If it's a "popping" kinda song, you may want to bring the time down to 500ms, or, maybe even lower. If it's a ballad, then a longer time may be more appropriate to help set the sonic mood. For the sake of example, let's use a reverb time of 1000ms (1 second).

The last thing to set at this point is the Mix. This will determine how much of what you hear is the original vocal, and how much is the effect.
Depending on the reverb plug, it may give you two functions, one for the "dry" signal ratio, and one labeled "wet". Or, it may just be one rotary knob or fader, that allows you to select any ratio between the two.

Find the ratio that works best within the context of the rest of the song. Don't do this in "solo" mode. Unless the song is made up entirely of one vocal and no instrumentation, then you are gonna want to hear how this sits in the mix as a whole.

Some other settings you can work with are EQ and Damping. This will effect the "sound" of the reverb, the overall tone of the effect. Again, depending on the plug, it could be as simple as hi pass / lo pass filter(s), or you may have a full paragraphic to work with. I would suggest starting out with attenuating the highs, so that nothing past 4k ( or so) gets through. Too much top end on the reverb can result in a "fizzzy" kind of sound, or sibilance, and remember that this is just an added texture, so you don't want it to crowd out the main vocal. Also, consider rolling off your lows below 160 or so. There's nothing down there of any benefit with a reverb in relation to a vocal track anyway... and you don't want the reverb on the vocal to be adding any energy down in the lower frequency register(s), because all it will do is muddy things up and wipe your definition.

So... there you have it. A simple little trick that can help when adding reverb to a vocal. There are no hard and fast numbers, but by measuring your reverb time and your BPM, you can get a little closer to being rhythmically in-time with your performance track, and allows you to add the shimmer and silk of reverb, without sacrificing the quality and presence of the original vocal track... both can shine through at the same time without getting in the way of each other.

Hope this helped. :)


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Smashh Tue, 07/01/2014 - 05:48

Thanks Donny , that is helpful , I will experiment with it and see if i can make it work.(y)

Gotta say that was a great write up , thanks again !