Mixing with reverb 1

That’s not to say you shouldn’t spend time learning your tools. Quite the contrary – effective use of any tool require spending a lot of time with it, exploring how it works, learning how it can work for you. It’s important to understand what the strengths and weaknesses of your tools are, and when to choose one tool over another. In audio engineering, this is the time you spend playing with your tool.

Back to reverb.
When it comes time to add reverb to your mix, stop and pause for a moment. Listen. I mean

There are many, many different choices when it comes to reverb. There are different types – hall, room, plate, spring, reverse, gated, etc. There are algorithmic and convolution reverbs. Each developer and manufacturer has their own way of designing reverbs – a Lexicon sounds different to a TC. CSR sounds different to EOS. And even if you get this far, reverbs often have a lot of presets and parameters – a single hall reverb might have over a dozen different parameters, and over a dozen different sounds.

Given all this choice, it can be easy to lose sight of the end goal – to add ambience to a mix.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t spend time learning your tools. Quite the contrary – effective use of any tool require spending a lot of time with it, exploring how it works, learning how it can work for you. It’s important to understand what the strengths and weaknesses of your tools are, and when to choose one tool over another. In audio engineering, this is the time you spend playing with your tool.

Back to reverb.

When it comes time to add reverb to your mix, stop and pause for a moment. Listen. I mean really listen. Listen to your dry mix, and imagine the ambience of the song (this is why it’s important to get the balance and tone right before you start adding reverb!). Start with the basics – Does it need short reverb or long reverb? Should the mix be lush or dry? Then start to ask the more difficult questions – Should be ambience be deep or shallow? Should it be natural or unnatural?

You should know the answers to all these questions before you lay a finger on any reverb processors.

-Kim.

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