Mixing With Reverb 5 Tips
I want to take a bit of time and talk about some of the important things I’ve learned when it comes to mixing with reverb. When I started messing around with recording in high school reverb was always one of the go to plug-ins. Even still to this day I love spending time playing with it. It’s a plug-in that gives you instant gratification and wow. But I’ve learned over the years that to much of a good thing can really ruin a mix and it’s better when used sparingly.
So why is to much of it a bad thing. Well for starters because Reverb is a series of delays used to create the image sensation of a space we can introduce comb filtering which can really start to thin out a mix if over used. It can also become very distracting and take away from what should be the focus.
So here are 5 tips when mixing with reverb.
Mixing with Reverb Tip #1 Use Aux tracks and set up a Send and Return
It’s very easy to through a reverb on a track and dial it in but I recommend using an aux track and create an effects send and return and send the tracks that need the reverb to that aux track. Sure it might take a bit of time to set it up but then it will save you a bunch of time after. Also, Your reverb will sound more realistic and not as phased out. That’s because you’re using one reverb and not multiple reverb effects. It’s also really nice when you want to change the reverb effect. You just have to switch out one on the aux instead of multiple on the tracks.
Mixing with Reverb Tip #2 Use an EQ on the Reverb Send/Return
This one is a lot of fun. Put an eq on the aux track that you have the reverb on. This way you can sculpt exactly which frequencies get the effect and get rid of the frequencies you don’t need. For example on vocal you might just want the mid range to get the reverb so you can roll off all the low-end that might make things feel muddy and lose. There’s a technique called the Abbey Road Technique that will get rid off everything below 1kHz and everything above 8kHz and scoop around 5k. But you can mess around and get some really neat reverb sounds.
Mixing with Reverb Tip #3 Adjust the Pre Delay
The pre delay is a perimeter that sets the time from which the reverb is audible after the original source. this is really useful when you want to create the illusion of a big space. The bigger the space the longer the reflection takes to get back at the mic. If you are setting a really big pre delay then maybe a slap back is what you want to use.
It’s also important to give your more focused instruments in the mix a bit longer of a pre delay. This will help them feel more forward and not pushed back in the mix.
Mixing with Reverb Tip #4 Watch your Decay Times
Just like the pre delay, decay times are also a perimeter you want to think about. If you set the decay time to long then your reverb might start to phase out and take away from something else. Think of a snare drum. You want to use enough reverb that it makes the snare feel big. however if the decay time is to long then it will start to wash over the next snare hit and possibly phase it out. to avoid anything like this you want to make sure the reverb is out before the next snare hit. so when setting your decay think of the tempo and groove of your track.
Mixing with Reverb Tip #5 Watch The Reverb Volume
This is important less is always more. Instead of putting everything thing through the reverb aux’s as yourself does it really need it. Where is this instrument in my mix? Forward instruments will have less or even no reverb where as instrument that are less important might have more. This will create a sense of depth in your mix.
Don’t be afraid to automate your reverb and cut it where you don’t need it. If you aren’t sure what is the right level of reverb here’s a trick. Crank it to a point where you know it’s too much and work your way down. This will be much more efficient than if you slowly creep it up.
If you like this blog check out some of our other blogs and reviews.