- By admin
- 23 September, 2013
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Using reverb effects properly can really help you create a sense of space and a more 3 dimensional sound to your mixes. Many sound mixers set up at least 3 reverb spaces as aux sends in their daw or console. You might have a tight room sound on aux 1, a medium room on aux 2 and a large hall on aux 3. Then you can simply effect various tracks as needed. This is usually a good starting point, but there are a few other tricks you might want to try.
The Effect Returns
Many up and coming mixers have their reverb returns untouched in their daw or console. This is where you can get creative and achieve even more space in your mix. If you have 3 different reverbs, why not try eq’ing them differently? Let’s say, adding a touch of air on the hall reverb, leaving the medium room neutral, and darkening the short/room reverb by adding a hicut filter eq. Such a simple trick can give you a more 3d sounding mix if used properly. You can also try adding various amounts of tape, tube and distortion plugins for extra grit. Typically, many engineers roll off the highs on the reverb returns for a natural sound. But to create dimension, remember you don’t always need to do this. Try putting on exciter on one of the returns a widening plugin, or a slight pitch shifter. Get creative. You might stumble across something that really works well for the song you are working on.
(the Lexicon PCM91 is one of the most popular outboard reverb units for both project and mid tier studios around the world)
Most people simply pan their reverb returns in full stereo. Depending on the track, you can get a little creative here as well. Try panning a short reverb return full left or right, or maybe at 2 o’clock. Just because you are using a stereo reverb, doesn’t mean you can’t return it in mono and slightly pan it off axis. Such subtle panning techniques can really help in getting a fuller, wider sounding mix. Remember, when mixing you are painting a picture with sound. So be sure to really analyze how sounds and effects work in relation to other instruments.
Always remember that when you are putting reverb on something, you are actually sending it back in the mix. Any elements that you want right up front, should generally have no reverb or very little reverb. If you want to send an element further back in the mix, you can also try to doing it through eq, not just reverb. Experiment to see what works. Let’s say you have a string or a pad section. Many people might just put a big hall reverb and be done with it. You can also choose to roll off the highs which would darken the sound and give you the illusion of sending it a littler further back in your mix as well. Mixing is an art, and many times, you don’t have to follow set rules to achieve a working result. It’s all about how sounds and instruments work with each other.
(if you are mixing with reverb plugins, it’s very easy to experiment. Just put an eq, distortion or even short delay plugin afterwards and experiment away!)