5 Rules For Taming Reverb

Posted: March 10, 2010 in Music, Tutorials
Tags: , , , ,

At its core, reverb is an emulation of sound in a physical space. Without it, instruments can seem dry and onedimensional. We hear reverb in the world around us—both indoors and outdoors— and it helps us define proximity and spatial depth. Reverb can be a great sonic lifesaver that transforms limp, boring sounds into elements of vibe and ear-catching interest.

But using reverb is much like risking a blowfish repast. Eating a little can taste exotic, but too much of the wrong stuff can kill you. Likewise, overuse of reverb can kill your mix by making it sound muddy, washy, and undefined. Reverb needs to be used tastefully, judiciously, and, most of all, playfully.

Obviously, personal choice is a huge factor in what is a “good” or “bad” use of reverb, but there are some pretty reasonable rules of thumb regarding the effect if you want your mixes to sound professional. For example, nothing says “newbie” like a nice vocal performance completely drenched in reverb. You may think the massive reverb covers up a few little vocal flaws, but the reverb tsunami may also be washing away the clarity and impact of the overall mix.

So if you’re feeling a bit unsure of your reverb levels and how they affect the other elements of the mix, here are some tips for turning down the spigot. You can always apply more reverb if you feel the subtle approach isn’t thrilling enough, but these suggestions should, at least, help you identify what “too much” is before you go overboard. [read via EQ Mag]


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