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Friday, July 20, 2012

HOW TO USE REVERB WHEN MIXING (with free Vst Plugins Included) PART 1/2


Hello and welcome to this week's article!
Today we're going to talk about how to use Reverb when mixing!

Everybody knows what reverb is, it's the persistence of a sound that we create, as it reflects into an ambient. Fewer knows how to use it properly, as in a mix reverb is one of devil's favourite tools to create mud and make details disappear.
It could take a whole book just to describe everything about Reverb and its various uses, but today we will see only its function in the mixing phase, which is to let the single tracks to sit better in the mix and to smoothen a bit the Transient, making it a bit less "In Your Face", letting it "breathe" a little more.

First off, there are different kinds of reverb, the most importants of which are:

- Hardware Reverbs: This kind of reverb, such as Plate Reverb or Spring Reverb, was used on the early studios, and are based on the physical reflection of the signal, sent on a resonant ambient and taken back with a magnet or microphone. Today, Spring Reverb, for example, is still featured as a built-in effect on some vintage guitar amplifier, and there are many Vst emulators, such as the free Spring Reverb Type 4. A good example of Spring reverb can be found on many songs played by Jimi Hendrix.

- Studio Reverbs: Those are digital or transistor reverbs, that have been increasingly used since the mid '80, with the advent of digital rack fx processors, and are known for their cleanliness and linearity. Today studio reverbs are still used because they do not colour the original sound too much and are very versatile: they can be used with very low settings too, for example to add some depht and room even in the Mastering Phase, after the Compressors, in the mastering chain. Some good free Vst of this kind are: DxReverb Light, Magnus AmbienceVoxengo OldSkoolVerb, EpicVerb.

- Ambience Reverbs: Those are the reverbs that tries to recreate a real ambient, and are used mainly on single instruments (especially with sampled drums, or guitar Amp Simulators, DI Bass, and all those situations where you don't have a microphoned sound, so there is no natural ambience on your mix), in order to have a more cohesive sound, as if all the instruments were played in the same room. Today, ambience reverbs are often Convolution Impulse reverbs, which are reverbs based on the real response of a reverb captured by a microphone. We have already seen them applied on Guitar Amp Simulators on This Article, but impulses can be successfully used for any instruments. A great free convolution impulse reverb plugin is SIR.

The ideal use of reverb when mixing is on a Fx Track, so we can use a single reverb instance with a sound that will be coherent through all the instruments of our mix: this will have the double positive side of giving to the listener the pleasant feeling that the instruments are played live on the same room at the same time, and will reduce the CPU load, since reverbs are some of the worst "CPU hogs" among all plugins. As we've seen of the Fx Tracks dedicated article, with a reverb loaded on this track we can send the effected signal to the single tracks, as many as we want, using the same effect instance and adjusting the amount of effect to be sent to the single tracks via the WET/DRY  control of each track: this way we can decide for example to send more reverb to the Vocals track, and less to the Toms tracks, or to the Snare100% Wet means that the track is completely effected, while the Dry percentage is the amount of signal unaffected by the reverb.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE PART 2/2 OF THIS ARTICLE, with the explaination of how to set the Reverb controls properly!!

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