Outboard Reverb

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by pmolsonmus, Nov 17, 2005.

  1. pmolsonmus

    pmolsonmus Well-Known Member

    Jun 23, 2003

    I posted a similar question a few years ago as I was changing my set up. I had the intention of going with outboard reverb at that time, but the cost was too prohibitive.

    I instead went with Waves Renaissance and although they're better plugs than what I was using I'm not satisfied with the sound. I'm using PT and a DIGI 002r. I've been using 2 AKG 414's in omni but I'm going to try a Decca Tree using the AKGs and a Rode K2 for a little more brightness and presence (see acoustic problems below)

    I am limited because of time/ schedule to change venues for anything but concerts, so need to record my choir in the classroom on a regular basis.
    The plus side is the ability for multiple takes and getting great performances on tape, the negative side is a relatively dead room approx 50'x 50' with one wall removed opening to a room about 40'x 40' which is very live (no treatment except carpeting and a lower 12' ceiling made of concrete). The main room where we normally rehearse has Wenger Acoustic Panels on the wall opposite the choir and industrial carpeting on the floor and suspended acoustic tile ceiling about 15' high.

    I would like to invest in a reverb that will give me a better sense of space for the complex sound of a choir. I can get much better than list prices because of my school situation, but almost 3k for a Lexicon Reverb still seems a bit much to justify.

    Can I get away with something like a Lexicon MPX1 with classical stuff or will I be dissapointed down the road. The only other use is primarily solo voice things in a jazz, classical or Broadway type setting.

    Your suggestions? T.C Electronics? Yamaha? Other?
    Spend the money on a PCM 91?

    Thanks, I appreciate your input.
  2. Cucco

    Cucco Distinguished Member

    Mar 8, 2004
    Tacoma, WA
    Hey Phil!

    Just a couple comments -

    Yes, outboard reverb can do quite well - even budget boxes do quite well provided they can be tweaked. Case in point - the MPX-550. It's a VERY inexpensive box but has good AD/DA conversion built in (not GREAT, but VERY good - especially considering the price.) It also has a very "tweakable" reverb section so that you can add great amounts of depth and space without sounding fake.

    I made the mistake of selling mine not too long ago. I would use it as a "go to" reverb processor because of its flexibility. Granted, I do like some of the IR reverbs in Sequoia better (only a few though - many of them are unusable.)

    The thing about mid-level to high-level reverbs (outboard and plug-in varieties) is that they should be able to be adjusted. Things such as early reflections (cue-ing you in to the size of the room), HF damping (an underutilized feature on many folks' reverbs - when you hear that "tinny" metalic sound in a tail, it's because the HF wasn't rolled off correctly. In most rooms, HF is absorbed quite easily and doesn't reverberate around for the same length of time as a low frequency stuff.), LF extension (converse of the previous statement).

    If you need to go outboard, many of the mid-level boxes will do QUITE well for you and, if you tweak them right, you will not be disappointed. Inexpensive boxes from TC, Lexicon, Kurzweil are all quite good.

    I find that, when most people gripe about these devices, it's usually because they loaded up a default preset and didn't like how it sounded. Just like plug-ins - the presets are only intended to get you into the right neighborhood.

    On another note (no pun intended...)

    I just picked up a K2 and I have to say HOLY CRAP this is an excellent mic. $600 is an insult to Rode for this quality. I won't go into too much here, I'm going to post more about it in the "Mics and preamps to die for" sticky in this forum.

    You use the term "bright" in regards to it, and I agree that it has a sheen, but it totally avoids the bright/brittle problems common in so many "me too" mics.

    I'd be interested in your thoughts on your K2. (Such as, the case they ship it in is perfect for my sniper rifle! I've never seen such a large, robust case for a microphone before!!)

  3. pmolsonmus

    pmolsonmus Well-Known Member

    Jun 23, 2003
    Hey Jeremy,

    I LOOOVE my K2, I bought it after a bunch of research and trying it out.
    I plug it into a seb pre and for the first time in trying this stuff for 20 years - I like the way it sounds on my voice. I've done a bunch of singing and have used most of the first call mics in the best mic cabinets on recording projects.
    I just finished singing on a recording project in a great studio with great players and a dynamite engineer using Neumanns and while I like what he did, I prefer the sound I'm able to get with my own set-up - except for the reverb thing! I was tempted to bring the K2 to the session, but I was a hired gun and I respect the writer/arranger and the engineer too much to want to come in as "the artist with attitude". There's too many of those types already.
    Have fun and welcome to the Aussie fan club.

    As I said on another thread, between the seb and rode and my love of Shiraz, I might as well move to Sydney because a lot of my money seems to end up there.

    Peace and Happy Thanksgiving
  4. route909

    route909 Guest

    I have to chime in and make a recommendation about the NT2000. Last week I used solely this mic for foley, adr and sound effects gathering for a short movie I was involved in. It´s really flexible, with variable hp filter, pad and pattern selector on the mic! Dead silent, great transient response, natural sound and a weight to the sound that small diaphragm mics seem to lack when making effects. Great mic! A totally different beast from the NT1000s I´ve had before.

  5. animix

    animix Guest

    If you can't afford a Quantec Room simulator, I would suggest a Quantec Yardstick. For a natural ambience in a box, I've never heard anything better for the price. You can sometimes fine them on EBay for around $1200.00 (MSRP is/was around $2500.00). Note that they are AES I/O so you will need to interface it digitally or get an external AD/DA converter.
  6. FifthCircle

    FifthCircle Well-Known Member

    Feb 12, 2001
    Los Angeles, CA
    Home Page:
    I'd also look at a used Lexicon 300. I pretty regularly see them for under $2K (sometimes as low as $1300-$1500). The Quantec is a great box too...

    For either of these, I'd only run it digitally (well, with the Quantec, you have to). The Lex 300, being an older technology, really only sounds good when used at 100% wet. Still is the "go-to" though, for a number of my clients.

  7. pmolsonmus

    pmolsonmus Well-Known Member

    Jun 23, 2003
    Just a follow up -

    I went ahead with the PCM 91, the options and flexibility as well as a great school price (a little over 50% of list) from Full Compass were too good to pass up.
    I have to say, I haven't spent a ton of time with it yet, but I certainly will.
    The result is absolutely amazing. We're working on a holiday project and the difference between my Waves plug-ins and the Lexicon are amazing. While the Waves made the dry room sound much better, I sense a new "room" with the Lexicon.
    The ability to use some of the other effects on pop/rock/jazz projects will make this a very worthwhile purchase, that I can't anticipate regretting.
    Thanks for everyone's input
  8. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2004
    Philadelphia, PA/ Greenville, DE
    Home Page:
    Glad you're making progress with this, Phil.

    Any chance of putting up some A/B comparisons when you're done? Perhaps one version with the Waves, and one with nothing changed but the PCM 91? I'd love to hear the differences.

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