Applying reverb on vocal tracks makes them blur

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by Elecen, Jul 21, 2009.

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  1. Elecen

    Elecen Guest

    Hey guys, what's up. Just found out about this forum, and I think it's a great idea :). I'm an amateur audio engineer, and pro musician, and I am facing a little trouble with my vocals mix.
    The problem is that after I apply reverb, the vocal lines are hard to understand (unless you read the lyrics that is :) ).
    I use the sony oxford reverb plugin on Cubase SX3, and apply two verbs as send effects. The first verb I use to apply a room sonic signature, and the other I use to make the vocal lines sound thicker, solid and better. I enjoy the result, except for the fact that the vox lines become blurry and it's hard to understand in some lines what the singer (me, who I am not a vocalist), is saying. Do you have any suggestions on how to "sharpen" the vocals?

    p.s. I know the rule says, $*^t in -> $*^t out, but what about descent in -> good out? Can we do that somehow? :D

    Nice meeting you guys again.

    You can listen to the first two tracks i'm talking about at
    Loving a Dead-Drunk Elf
  2. UncleBob58

    UncleBob58 Active Member

    Apr 9, 2003
    Fairfield County, CT
    Home Page:
    Two reverbs? That's part of the problem right there, they're probably fighting each other. Are they at least on separate sends/returns? Another possibility is that you are making the vox much too "wet".

    Try a slap-back echo as a thickener instead of a reverb.

    When mixing, solo the vox and the verb, make the verb subtle and then bring the rest of the mix back.

    I'm sure there will be lots of other suggestions.
  3. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    Feb 21, 2009
    Don't ever use two verbs on the same track, or even on different layers of construction. You should bus up the vocal tracks and apply it there, and only one reverb. If that is not understandable then try dialing down the 'mix' setting on the reverb plug.
  4. Space

    Space Well-Known Member

    Jun 26, 2007
    "...or even on different layers of construction."

    I usually put reverb on all my construction. Makes it look bigger!
  5. apstrong

    apstrong Active Member

    Feb 13, 2009
    I often use two reverbs as sends, one more intense reverb that can be dialed in to varying degrees on specific tracks (so all tracks share the same basic reverb sound) and a second very light reverb applied to the stereo out to help the whole thing gel a little. YMMV.
  6. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    Feb 21, 2009
    Haha, what I meant was like don't add reverb to the individual track, THEN add reverb again after you make subgroups, and THEN add reverb again to the master track. But I wasn't really sure about how to phrase it. :D


    All of the above are great ideas. Sometimes I like to use reverb on vocals to get a huge effect. Alot of the time I prefer a slap back delay.

    To clear up the blurring of your vocals try this:

    Apply an EQ to your reverb track

    Put a sharp EQ cut on.

    Move the EQ cut around until your vocal sounds clear. My instinct tells me this will be around the 150 to 800hz mark. Try then adding a little high shelf sparkle to brighten it all up.

    Hope this has been useful,

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