Choosing the proper reverb for each sound is one of the most confusing
decisions you can be presented with in a mix. Fortunately you can get
around most of this confusion if you understand a few simple pitfalls
that everyone falls into when choosing a reverb setting. By
understanding a few functions of what reverb does you can easily
evaluate and choose the best setting for your song. With this knowledge
in mind it will be easy to scroll through presets and tweak them to
make sure that you get the perfect reverb sound for your mix.
Conventional wisdom – The first problem we experience when trying to
choose a reverb are the broad generalizations thrown around in articles
on mixing that cloud our judgment. You will read things like “snares
like plate reverb” which is absolutely true but not totally correct for
every genre. If you put a plate on a dead 70′s disco drum sound you are
missing the goal of that sound entirely. The first thing to do when
choosing a reverb is forget the wisdom you have heard and use your
ears. Often times reverb presets will says thinks like “Vocal Ambiance”
and you will want to use it since it is suggested for vocals.
Unfortunately, this setting may be amazing on a 80′s ballad but not so
great on your death metal track. I am often shocked what the reverb
preset says when I find something magical and 3 out of 5 times it is
not meant for what I am using it for. Forget what you have been taught
and learn something new by using your ears and don’t be biased by the
silly names someone in a lab was pressured to come up with.