Five Mistakes To Avoid When Choosing A Reverb Sound – Mistake #5

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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.

What are you putting into it? – If you are still having trouble with
your reverb you may want to consider what you are putting into it. The
source of what is feeding the reverb can make a dramatic difference on
how the reverb sounds. If the vocal isn’t properly de-essed you may
hate every reverb sound you get since it will be full of hissy treble
blasts. If the vocal is too bright the reverb may sound brittle and if
the vocal is too bassy it will be far too boomy. When getting to know a
reverb setting and what could be giving you results you are not happy
with it can often help to put a EQ before the reverb and listen to the
sound you are feeding it in a few different ways. First turn down the
treble up and down with a shelving EQ by 6-12DB. Next do the same to
the bass (starting even as high as 400hz). Taking out a lot of bass can
give a reverb a lot of smoothness, where as taking out the treble can
give a fullness people often look for in a reverb. You can often use
huge boosts and cuts to achieve these results you wouldn’t normally use
in a mix. When adding reverb to drums keep in mind the same can apply.
An added complication with drums can be bleed. Too much cymbals can
make the reverb sound trashy where as an overly gated sound can make
decays sound unnatural and clanky. It also helps to have sorted out
most sounds dynamics beforehand, we tend to like reverbs that are
consistent in volume and if we are hearing jumps in their volume the
reverb may react oddly.

Jesse Cannon is the editor of Musformation. He produces records at his studio Cannon Found Soundation. Follow him on Twitter at @JesseCannonMusF. For more info please visit his website.