Reverb and Heavy Music

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by eonblue, May 2, 2005.

  1. eonblue

    eonblue Guest

    Let me preface this post by saying that I realize that mixing is entirely subjective. However, I need a place to start and I figured no better place to ask than

    That being said let me move to the question.

    Is reverb often placed on every element of a song to provide a sense of depth/space?

    I bought and read "The Mixing Engineer's Handbook" and in it the author mentioned that you should put a bit of your longest reverb on all the pieces. By "longest" does he mean the reverb with the longest decay time?

    Also, if the answer is "yes" it is common to put a bit of reverb on everything, can you tell me what kind of reverb is most commonly used on electric guitars, drums, bass. By "what kind" I mean room, hall, plate as well as length, pre-delay, etc. I obviously not looking for exact settings because that would just be dumb. Hell, short or long will suffice. I got nothing!! I am assuming vocal reverb is entirely dependent upon the effect you want from them.

    Sorry to ask what seems to be such a subjective question but after playing around with it a while it kinda became overwhelming.

    Thanks for the help.

  2. McCheese

    McCheese Well-Known Member

    Mar 24, 2005
    A lot of today's heavier music seems to be much dryer than pop music. Not a whole lot of 'verb going on. That said, putting everything through one 'verb on a bus, to varying degrees, can help to put everything in the same space overall. Best thing to do is just fiddle around with it. You can add more reverb to things to help put them farther back in the mix and such.
  3. huub

    huub Guest

    funny thing is, lots of really dry sounding rock (brendan o'brien and rick rubin stuff) has lots of reverb going on if you listen closely..just at low levels..
    Blood sugar sex magic I always considered to be a dry sounding album, until I realized the HUGE verb (or compressed room?) on the snare..
  4. Kswiss

    Kswiss Guest

    I usually set up a medium or large room ambience and put almost everything through it it low levels. It won't sound like reverb, it just adds space. I usually put electric guitars and drums through this, and then i set up another verb specifically for the snare drum if i want it to have more space, and maybe another for vocals.... sometimes i end up with just one ambient verb though....just don't put reverb on bass unless for effect, same with kick least for my preferences it just muddies up the low end..

  5. eonblue

    eonblue Guest


    Nice, that was exactly what I was looking for. I had experimented with using a reverb on everything, but I had the bass oriented guys running through it as well and it got really muddy, so that must have been my problem. Three more questions in relation to this.

    1. When people refer to ambience reverbs, does this qualifier "ambient" make it different than other types of reverb and if so, what constitutes an "ambient" reverb?

    2. Since I will be running multiple instruments through the same reverb effect I assume I should use an FX Send(in Cubase). Now in doing so, there is this "pre" button on the FX Send. Lets say I was going to run everything through a medium room. Should I enable the "pre" button(I can't quite remember what that button does :( ?

    3. When you say low level I get a bit confused. On the particular reverb that I am using it has level settings for the dry and wet signal. Would low level mean the highest dry setting with just a tad of wet?

    Btw, if I am probably rehashing something that is well documented in some kind of book or article. If you would rather point me to some kind of literature, please feel free.


  6. McCheese

    McCheese Well-Known Member

    Mar 24, 2005
    1) To me, an ambient reverb isn't something you hear and think "Hey, Reverb!" it's more of just making it sound like a space, you don't think about it as much. For a good starting point for ambience I slowly turn up the send until I can hear the 'verb and then back off a touch. That gives me a place to go from. Also try turning up the diffusion, which makes it less like an echo (but that depends on the space you're trying to create). When doing it slowly you can't hear it as much, but once you get there, try A/Bing it with the dry sound by hitting bypass on the verb a couple of times, you'll be able to hear the difference, but it's not an in-your-face kind of reverb. It's more of something you just 'feel' is there.

    2) The Pre button sets the send for pre-fader, i.e. if you change the volume on the fader in pre mode, it won't affect the send volume. reverbs are typically sent post-fader, but either way will work.

    3) If you're using a send to a reverb, have it at 100% wet since you still have a dry track to work with. If you were applying a permanent effect to a certain track, then you would fiddle with the wet/dry to get the right mix. As for low level, we just mean fairly quiet, like I stated in answer 1.
  7. 6thstringer

    6thstringer Guest

    Great point mentioned in that the reverb should not 'stick out' and be recognizable... All in all, the best studio recording shouldn't sound like anything.. The masterpiece is making the producers role invisible... Anyway, as with the reverb, a cheap and easy trick is to use an ambient room mic (esp. in big rooms far from the source and walls) to pick up a beautiful natural reverb. Other than that, just play around and see what you love.
  8. Massive Mastering

    Massive Mastering Well-Known Member

    Jul 18, 2004
    Chicago area, IL, USA
    Home Page:
    If you haven't tried compressing the snot out of your verb return, I highly suggest it.

    Did I say "compressing the snot out of?"

    I meant tastefully squashing... :eek:
  9. killersoundz

    killersoundz Guest

    Don't add reverb over the entire frequency range. It should only be in a spot. I'll have it around say 800-4000hz. Just definitely no low end. Have it on the high end for cymbals and such though.

    One of the best ways I use reverb is on a snare with a compressor. Put reverb on the snare, then a compressor with 0ms attack and relase and enjoy.
  10. anonymous

    anonymous Guests

    Feb 10, 2001
    I play and record heavy music. I use...
    kick drum...dry (use a good pre amp, but no reverb)
    snare...reverb (any-- big or small)
    vocals...reverb (any-- short or long) I like delay some also here
    bass...No reverb
    guitar...reverb on some parts, or dry all the time, I get good results either way
    Try it out, see if it's for you.

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