Last week we talked about using reverb for blend. This week we will move on to using reverb to add size. We all know that reverb is about creating space. So, you’d think duh Matt size is a no brainer. Before you jump the gun I’d like to dive deeper into the subject of “size” reverb. After reading the article, be sure to comment and let me know what helped. I’d love the feedback!
Blend and size tend to go hand-in-hand. They’re often used synonymously. But there is one major difference between the two. Dialing in a good blend reverb comes from fine tuning your early reflections and the initial attack. On the other hand getting a good size from your reverb is all about the reverb tail. So, if you need a lush reverb with a nice long tail, it’s best to use a reverb with softer attacks. If you need a short, tight reverb with some liveliness, it’s time to use a reverb with a strong attack and tweak your early reflections until you land on perfection.
Blending size is for the most part a very simple procedure. The larger the reverb tail and the more you turn the return channel up, the bigger the acoustic space illusion becomes. This can give a track larger presence and a feeling of power, but it also pushes the element further and further back in the mix. Both blend and size reverbs deal with the front to back spatial depth of the mix. There isn’t a lot you can discuss about blending your size reverb. It truly is up to the best judgement with your ear.
If you need a larger-than-life long tailed reverb don’t reach for the CPU light digital reverb of lesser quality algorithms. They tend to sound very unnatural, and bigger reverbs need to sound natural. If you can reach for a convolution reverb or higher end digital reverb such as Exponential Audio or 2CAudio. They make great algorithmic reverbs. As you increase the length of the tail, make sure to check that your stereo field is evenly spread on the reverb patch you use, and definitely be sure to check mono compatibility no matter the size. Always check mono compatibility frequently for all aspects of mixing! Once you have dialed in a sound you really like loop a section and bring the patch in and out allowing some time in between to let your ears adjust. This will help ensure this is the sound you want. On size reverbs don’t fret too much over the tonal balance, but I always recommend high pass filtering the return to help keep any additional mud entering the mix. I also recommend using only a 6db/octave high pass on longer reverb tails to help ward off any comb filtering issues.
I hope you guys are enjoying this series on reverb. It took me a long time to really respect quality reverb. It’s now one of my loves. You could say I’m a reverb junky. It has so many different capabilities when you know how to use them. I just hope each week you’ll be able to add something new to your mixing arsenal. Please comment below on your thoughts, and if you aren’t a MixCoach Pro Member come try it out! We have plenty of great mixers in the community with plenty of topics like this in the forum. It’s a great chance for one-on-one interaction. I’ll be back next week to talk about using reverb as a sustain effect. See you then!