How Do You Use Reverb Effectively?
Using reverb effectively in a busy mix can be a challenging task. Here's our top tips for cleaning the whole lot up!
Bus Group usage
In an age of more and more CPU power at disposal there’s a trend to add reverb and delays as insert effects for each channel you want the effect to apply on.
Instead keep it simple and clean by adding the reverb and delay on individual bus groups and send the tracks you want to effect to those.
Using this method, including perhaps a couple different reverbs on individual bus groups ensures each sound has its own space in the dry world whilst shares reverb and delays space in the effect world.
It also ensures to minimise or prevent the smearing of too many reverb and delay tails which can happen when you have too many effects all vying for space of their own inevitably clashing with one another.
Contrast of wet and dry sounds
Good usage of delay and reverb is about understanding the contrast between wet and dry so keep some sounds dry or drier. Reverb sounds great and it’s natural to want to apply it to everything but doing so you’ll end up with a weak sounding mix.
Reverb and delay push sounds to the back of the mix so it’s best used for sounds which work with that. In an electronic track this may be ethereal vocal parts or pads for instance.
Dial it in then dial it back
Push the send/wet control up so you can hear the reverb/delay have an effect, where it feels (sounds) ‘good’ then dial that back a couple clicks.
Delays and Reverbs are at their best adding depth/width and space to the sound.
Rather than becoming the sound itself; dialing it back from your initial “that sounds good” position is usually just enough to give the whole part a bit more breathing space and sit better without losing its effect.
Using mono sounds with a stereo reverb can be a great way add space whilst keeping mixes under control. It really feels like added garnish to your sound rather than just a default “it needs reverb” type approach.
Don’t be afraid to dial back the reverb width control.
Nothing creates a busy mix like too many parts vying for the stereo field. What are you wanting your listeners to hear? Effects? Or your sound? Clearly your sound.