5 Tips For Using Reverb
Reverb is a handy tool that can be used in many different situations. It can help create ambience and atmosphere, it can help make things stick out in the mix or conversely sit better in the mix.
Here are 5 tips for using Reverb to help you get the most out of it.
1) Sync Your Reverb to the BPM
I like to have my Reverb synced to the tempo of the work I’m doing. The best way to do this (irrespective of whether you’re using Pro Tools) is to select one bar in your DAW and find out how long that is in seconds.
Then, plug that time (in this case 2.033 seconds) into the ‘Time’ or ‘Length’ in your Reverb plugin.
Now your Reverb is timed or sync’d to the tempo of the piece you’re working on. If you want to go more complex you could also divide the time up if you want to change the sync rate. So for example if you want your Reverb time to last only half a bar you could halve the time. If you want it to last for a quarter note you could take a quarter of the time and so on.
2) Keep it Subtle
A trick I like to do when mixing my Reverb on a voice over, is to pull the level of the Reverb right down until I can just barely here it. It’s so quite that I can’t hear it, but if I mute it I notice a difference with it gone. Then I knock it up 1dB.
For me, that gets a great level that doesn’t swamp the voice, but gives it all the flavour it needs from the Reverb.
3) It’s Not Just For Voices
The third tip in our 5 tips for using Reverb; it can be used in all sorts of situations other than just for voices. For example:
- To help soften sharp ends of music, or FX.
- To create long tails on kick drums to make custom booms/impact sounds.
- As a tool when mastering to help bring the whole mix into a similar space (careful not to create a muddy mix though).
If your Reverb plugin has EQ, use it. If it doesn’t add some EQ post the reverb plugin. That way you can further shape the sound of your Reverb to fit your mix even better.
5) Stack Reverb with Other Effects
Try using Reverb stacked on a send with Flanger to add some movement or a Delay to create some interesting width. What about a Bit-crusher, or an Auto-pan or Distortion? There’s no limit to what you can try to generate some really creative atmospheres to add to your voices.
That Rounds It Up
Get creative and start experimenting. See how these 5 tips for using reverb work for yourself in your next piece of work.