We have all heard the effect of reverb on sound, the most common example of this is when
your singing in the shower, and you noticed the acoustics in your
voice really stood out, or maybe the sound of a voice echoing through
a canyon or stadium. Reverb is simply creating a physical atmosphere
for the sound (like a virtual room).
Using reverb is essential in producing a song, In order for a drum kit to sound realistic
you must give some atmosphere to the sound. Reverb is also important
in adding depth to your song, by using different types of reverb
you can add different depths to your mix, giving you a some dimension
to your track. Reverb is also commonly applied to vocal tracks,
to add a bit of interest.
Types of Reverb
There are many various examples of reverb some sound like the instrument
is being played in a concert hall where as others mimic smaller
spaces such as a shower stall, or a closet. The settings on a reverb
effect generally go:
Wet - this is the amount of the effect being applied
Dry - this is the intitial sound before it is effected
Room size - The room size should be adjusted according to
the decay time. Small room size with shorter decay, large room with
Pre-delay - This controls the time of the delay in the reverb
and should be adjusted according to the room size. Less pre-delay
for smaller rooms, more for larger rooms.
Low cut - Takes the base out before the reverb is added.
High cut - Takes the treble out before the reverb is added.
Diffusion - Makes echo sound close so that it sounds like
white noise. distorting the echo.
Decay - Controls the decay time of reverb.
Tips When Using Reverb
Using reverb properly definitely becomes an art in itself, there
is no right or wrong way to use it, Although you don't want to go
overboard with it or your song will sound like its coming from the
bottom of a well.
A different reverb can be used for each instrument or group of instruments
- i.e.. Use one on drums, one for vocals and one for all the other
instruments. You would adjust the settings to a short and bright
reverb for the drums and a longer warmer one for the vocals.
Reverb can also be used to add high interest in certain parts of the song, This can be done by
automating the effect. This will obviously take alot of trial and
error but can offer some very rewarding results in the end.
When applying reverb on drums, like the kick for example you may
want to take out the low end of kick with a low cut before you put
the effect on it. Another trick is to use a normal reverb over the
whole sample then adding an enveloped reverb on the end creating
an interesting tail to the sound.
Most audio software comes with a built in reverb effect or two but
here is one that's nice and free too:
Blueline Effects Pack
This pack is not only free to download and comes with 10 other plug-in
effects. You can find this wonderful free software at:
The company asks if you use it alot to donate a small registration fee.
In conclusion reverb is essential to use when creating a song to give it both presence
and depth. This effect is also helping change the complexity and
interest of your mix. These are only rough guide lines to go by,
feel free to experiment as much as possible when creating your music.