083 Best Vocal Reverbs and Favorite Reverb Types

On this episode, we take a question from one of our MixCoach Pro Members asking about our favorite reverb types, and advice on vocal reverb.

Check out this episode of the podcast to see what advice Kevin and Jon have for choosing reverbs, and how to dial in reverb settings.

Show Notes:

– Pick a day and go through all of your reverbs and find what you like, then make presets of those settings.

– Go with your first instinct when trying out a reverb sound.

– The best vocal reverb or reverb type is whatever works!

Raw Transcript:

Host: Welcome to the MixCoach podcast, the podcast dedicated to making you a more skilled and confident mixer.

The MixCoach podcast takes both submitted questions from our free members and live questions from our pro members. If you’d like to submit a question, or find out how to become a pro member, head over to MixCoach.com/free.

Jon: All right, we’ve got Alexis asking, “Any advice on Vocal reverb? I’m never really happy with it in my mixes. What is the first option you reach for whenever you reach for a hall or a plate or a room kind of sound?”

Kevin: Are you asking if we reach for a hall, a plate, or room?

Jon: That could be it as well. So what’s your favorite?

Kevin: I tend to go for the plate, the vocal plate. But, there again, it’s all in experimentation. I have halls that I like. I can tell you my go-tos. On the Vocal reverb, lately, what I’ve been using is the EMT 140, and I usually won’t change anything about it. It’s the middle preset on the universal audio. The ones on either side, I don’t like either one of them.

Jon: Gotcha.

Kevin: The one in the middle, I like, and I’ll pull the reverb return on that plate back until it’s not washy, or whatever. On the Altiverb, I used to use the 250, which is a digital reverb copy, I guess. And I would use the 1.8 preset on that one. That one’s always good. On the 480L, I would use, if it’s a big ballad, medium and hall. And then sometimes I’ll use, if it’s a fast song, I’ll use, I think it’s called, Music Club? I think I stole that from J.R. McNeely. But Vocal Club is kind of one of those presets that you go to. That’s pretty much my bag of tricks as far as ‘verb.

Jon: And then Deverb.

Kevin: And then Deverb, Deverb is actually pretty good. Sometimes, if you want a longer reverb, you might want to put a delay just before it at about 50% so that you’re getting just as much pre-delay as you’re getting delay. So you actually doubling your reverb without having to change.

Jon: Without having to change the room sound or the length so you get weird artifacts, that sort of thing, so you’re basically just getting a little bit longer of a tail. Something about the reverbs – I use TL Space, or it’s just called “space” now, and so that’s really nice, as well. So I usually use the haul, there, that’s a medium hall, or the plate on that. That’s really a nice plate. On Deverb, basically, it was funny, we were talking, and I think we mentioned this a couple months ago on one of the tutorials or walkthroughs that we did on the Devin McGlamery record. And basically I pulled up the reverb for his vocal, and I’m like, “This sounds really good, this reverb is really good!” And it’s like the default. You open Deverb, and that’s the setting. And I pulled it up and I was shocked to find this! And it was like, “How does this sound that good?” It just sounded good.

Kevin: Actually, I think a lot of people probably think too much about that sort of thing.

Jon: Yeah.

Kevin: I mean, people who obsess over reverb, you either like it or you don’t. I will tell you that I used a Bricasti last year when we were at the NAMM show, I got to sit and listen to the Bricasti ‘verb, which is that $4,000 verb that a lot of people are using. And it really was amazing. I could have used every preset on that. But my advice to you would be, find a verb that works, which any vocal. Just go through it. When you’re not doing a session, when you’re not doing a mix, go through the ‘verbs, and just go, “Like it, like it.” Go with your instinct. If you say, “Oh, that’s cool,” put “cool ‘verb.” I do that a lot. You can even set that as the default when it comes up, because you don’t really want to be hindered too much with reverb trails and early reflections and that sort of thing when you try to mix. Just take a day and go through all of your ‘verbs, and just find the ones you like and forget about every other one.

Jon: Valhalla is the Bricasti substitute for $50, supposedly, this is what Zoley [SP] is saying.

Kevin: Wow.

Jon: It has been compared to it, believe it or not.

Kevin: I will be buying that then.

Jon: 50 bucks.

Kevin: Because, I’ve downloaded some of the Bricasti presets for waves, and the trail just cut off. It’s a nice sample, but it just cut off.

Jon: Well, it’s interesting, and there’s a follow up question here from Balu [SP], but it’s interesting about the quality of the ‘verb, a lot of times like, “Go with your gut,” because the quality of the verb… A lot of times if you have a low quality ‘verb, or if you’re trying to use something that just isn’t working, you’ll want to push the ‘verb hotter and hotter and hotter so there’s a lot of verb on it, versus if you use a really good quality reverb, it’s not nearly as loud, but you perceive it a lot more. Especially on AC, it opens a great kind of very vocal tracks. You’ll hear these big, long reverbs that you think are just massive, but they may not be really loud. It’s just a good, solid, ‘verb, like the Bricasti or those types of things. Balu says, on the subject of reverb, “Is there a big difference between convolutions, IR, etcetera, or just whatever works?”

Kevin: The convolution and the IR are the same thing, I think. I think that’s just two different words for the same technology or the same terminology. And usually the only reason those ‘verbs exist is to sample other ‘verbs, usually, or sample spaces that you may not afford to record in, or whatever. So with those two being eliminated, it’s just whatever works. I don’t think you can go wrong with the EMT 250, or the 140, or Brent Rader sent some tracks in here the other day, and he had the universal audio 224. And his sounded great, too.

Jon: Yeah.

Kevin: Deverb is fine. The Valhalla, I’m going to try out.

Jon: TL Space, really good. I’m a big fan.

Kevin: I really don’t think you can go wrong. And I think you nailed it when you said, “It’s whatever works.” I wouldn’t be afraid to experiment. See if it sounds good the next day. And if it does, use it again.

Jon: The MixCoach podcast takes both submitted questions from our free members and live questions from our pro members. And if you would like to submit a question or find out how to become a pro member, head over to MixCoach.com/free