When it comes to music production, we tend to situate the elements of a track in their own space to add depth and dimension to the mix. Treating a sound with reverb is an excellent way of giving it space, but it requires a careful balancing act that should take into account the character of the source sound, and how it relates to both the other elements in the track and the mix as a whole.
Mixing reverb can involve a subtle touch or more heavy-handed moves, depending on whether you’re working on vocals or bass, indie rock or techno, and, of course, good old-fashioned personal taste. Like most things in music production, there’s no one way of doing it, but there are definitely some techniques you can use to streamline your workflow and get great-sounding mixes. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some pro strategies for mixing reverb.
Set Up a Reverb Bus
One of the decisions you’ll have to make when using a reverb plugin is whether to use it as an insert effect or through auxiliary sends and buses. Inserts are a good choice if you’re applying reverb treatment to a single track, especially if it’s the only track in your session that uses that particular reverb. However, when you’re working with a lot of tracks that need reverb, setting up an individual reverb treatment for each one will eat up your CPU and quickly become hard to manage.
Setting up a reverb bus is a great way of conserving CPU usage and creating a consistent sonic space across multiple instruments. A bus is an extra track in your DAW that receives an input from another track, and you can send as many signals as you want this way.
By placing a reverb plugin on a bus and then sending other instruments into it, you can streamline your workflow and save time. More often than not you’ll have the main reverb that you use on lots of elements in your mix, and this should be controlled from a master reverb bus.
Add Clarity with Pre-Delay
When you find a great-sounding reverb it can be tempting to go all out and smother your tracks in it. One of the issues with doing this is that too much reverb can make it difficult to hear the detail in the original unprocessed signal. The more you saturate a sound in reverb, the more it will become background material, while a lighter treatment tends to keep things up front.
If you’re wondering how to use reverb like a pro, a parameter that you should pay close attention to on your reverb plugin is pre-delay. Pre-delay is a time-based setting that lets the plugin know how long to wait before it starts applying reverb. If you set the pre-delay to 40ms, the plugin will wait for 40 milliseconds before it engages. ……….
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