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Reverb : Less is more ?

Your comments ?
Lately I've listened to some dangerously brilliant recordings for reference.
Guess what ? NO REVERB !
Or at least so little of it, that it just doesn't matter.
The approach it would seem :
Take the best mic pre amps money can buy, the right mics, and get the performance tracks so that they just dont get any beter,
... and who needs reverb.
Mind you, this may only work for certain suited music genres.
The kind I happen to like. Jazz, Acoustic Jazz/blues,
world contemp jazz/influence etc.


Pro Audio Guest Wed, 05/24/2006 - 10:37
saemskin is right, i think you'll find that all those songs most likely employ reverb but is made to sound natural so it is not apparent, when you have reverb say on vocals, unless your going for a specific effect, should just sound like a good singer. Hit the mute button on your send and then you can see what that so called imperceivable reverb is doing, the difference will be quite dramatic. For even more fun subtle use of vocal delay can really add alot.

Cucco Wed, 05/24/2006 - 12:30
Something else -

Most people never touch the predelay when they tweak their reverb settings. Predelay is one of the best ways to make a reverb sound so natural you don't even realize it's there. Without it, it sounds like you dunked your vocalist's head in a toilet bowl and told them to sing...not fun.


saemskin Wed, 05/24/2006 - 13:40
Compression and reverb are about on par with one another as being the most difficult to implement properly, and understand, signal processors. I hated reverb for the longest time, why? Because I hadnt a clue how to use it, thus when I did, I ruined the source material with a fully "wet" signal.

I wish someone had told me back then to always use my reverb on a send, both to save on cpu and to control amount. if they did, I certainly wasnt listening.

Pro Audio Guest Thu, 05/25/2006 - 05:29
Reply re Reverbless.

Well said people. 8)
Sure, when I listened to these recordings I gathered there was some amount of verb applied - but minimumly and brilliantly.
It wasn't there...but it was .
Re the send technique - but of course.
Using the bus / send way is most definately the only way, and it applies to many other of the dynamic plug ins. Saves untold CPU and the mixes are better for it yes ?
My next mix is going to have verb applied to as few tracks as I can effectively manage it, because it could be that one reverb applied minimumly to less tracks will be noticeable enough for the overall mix.
I like my work to result in a close and intimate feel.
Someone once said to me that Reverb will give your mixes a really professional and quality sound.
In fact I've found that Reverb, especially too much of it takes your sound off into the distance where you don't want it to be.
But of course all this is subjective. We all have different likes and dislikes.

8) cheers.

FifthCircle Thu, 05/25/2006 - 08:40
Reverb absolutely can be a great tool for a mix, but not all music always needs a lot. As others have alluded to, being able to really tweak your settings is important. High Frequency content can make a reverb obvious (that metalic "tizz" at the end of a reverb tail). The predelay can bring in or remove clarity. Hall size, reverb type, etc... will also be important- I'd use a hall on a classical recording, but likely a plate on a jazz recording...

You'll also find that the better the verb, the more likely you'll be able to use. Cheap verbs will sound like you have too much even when small amounts are used. A good verb allows you the flexibility to use more if you want it.


FifthCircle Thu, 05/25/2006 - 10:06
Good lord.... Why would anybody put a comp on an aux? Bus compression can be a very useful thing for certain styles of music, but you need to remember what tools are used in a particular situation. Compression of a reverb return can be an interesting effect for certain things, but the OP mentioned jazz work. I'd never do that for jazz.

Now, talking aux sends for reverb. The mix on that aux is just as important as the other things I mentioned- the verb type, predelay, high freq. content, etc... If you send too much bass into a reverb send, you can end up with a very muddy sound. Similarly, a more resonant instrument like a piano or drum kit (overheads esp) will likely need less verb than a drier instrument like a brass or woodwind instrument.


Pro Audio Guest Thu, 05/25/2006 - 10:52
Personally I would LOVE to hear more about the subtle application of reverb, delay, and EQ'ing the reverb for vocal tracks. When you really listen to some good vocal tracks it just seems almost freakish how they are so sublty built using the above techniques. Any pro's care to divulge on the subject? Also on using a delay calculator in conjuction with the BPM of the song. Thanks

Pro Audio Guest Fri, 05/26/2006 - 07:44
Bus sends.

saemskin wrote: just be particular about what goes to a send track. If your reverb tails are running into one another it could sound messy.
Same thing with a compressor, the decay of something meddling with the attack of another. not good, personally I never use a compressor as a send track.

8) Too true !! The only sends I use at all are only reverbs.
Currently I seem to be getting good results by blending 3 or 2 reverbs at varying amounts. I preset my reverbs to the way I like to hear them and apply them to solo'd selected tracks individually. I then turn off the solo button to hear them in context with the rest of my mix and re tweak if necessary.

FifthCircle Fri, 05/26/2006 - 10:25
Reggie wrote:
Well, for parallel compression for one...or are you talking about in line with a reverb unit on the same aux?

Gotcha, but for parallel compression, it is making up for the lack of proper busing in most DAWs. On an analog console, parallel compression is done using mix buses, not auxes.

When I compress a reverb, it is only the return, not the send. It can create an intensity of the sound that you don't get naturally. As I said earlier, it isn't for everything, but it can be a useful sound.