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  • Reverb as a buss effect...

    Hey all,

    I'm still learning, and I just recently came across the idea/suggestion of putting a reverb on the main mix buss.

    I trust this is to help glue the different sounds together, and I also suspect it's intended to be a very small amount. I suspect this reverb would be EQ'd, just like others (e.g. roll off the bottom and possible the top).

    Do you do this with any of your tracks?

    Also, would you put the reverb ahead of or behind a buss compressor (my trusty UAD SSL 4000 emulation)? I would think after, as the compressor would tend to pull up and squash the reverb. I guess I can try it both ways.

    Any input is appreciated.

    Todd
    144 dB
    Just Finished: Condensation
    Working on: They Live, We Groove
    Main Axes: Kawai MP11 and Kurzweil PC361

  • #2
    No, I normally don't run a reverb on the stereo bus, but I've heard of it being done. If you wanted to put everyone into the same "room", it might work, but you'd want to keep it subtle, like you suggested.

    The problem with it from my perspective is it puts everyone in not only the same room, but also the same relative distance from the listener, which I personally find un-natural. Even if I want to put everyone in the same room, I might want to still have the ability to put some of them further away, or closer to the listener. I often use reverb as one of my front / back "depth" tools when I mix, so giving everyone the same amount tends to work against that. Unless I was working on an acoustic trio who recorded single-mic or something along those lines, I don't think it would work very well for the way I like to approach mixing. YMMV.
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    • #3
      One of the ways Neutron 2 advanced Visual Mixer, has impressed me is the way I can actually control instrument placement (and if stereo, width too) at the main bus. Reverbs can be used for flavour or for space gluing. A number of producer/master engineers use reverb as a environment placement on the master bus, or at least as a part of a chain in the mastering process, done subtly or as enhanced as you want. Aux Bus use of groups of vocals say, is of course common. I actually created a discussion over on another forum recently asking about putting the reverb after say the limiter on the main bus rather than before. General wisdom is that you put it before and adjust as needed with the limiter in play.

      A great way to use Reverb on say main vocal is to put the Reverb on a AUX bus and pop a sidechained compressor after it. Clean up front vocals with a nice tail as wanted from reverb, and similar trick on delay too.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by 144dB View Post
        Hey all,

        I'm still learning, and I just recently came across the idea/suggestion of putting a reverb on the main mix buss.

        I trust this is to help glue the different sounds together, and I also suspect it's intended to be a very small amount. I suspect this reverb would be EQ'd, just like others (e.g. roll off the bottom and possible the top).

        Do you do this with any of your tracks?
        To put this in perspective, when there wasn't anything else but the stereo bus (or mono bus, for that matter), that was where reverb was always added (if at all, of course). Back when "mastering" was the process of getting a tape recording on to a lacquer disk, it was the mastering studios that had the best reverbs to sweeten up a dry recording. It's why hardware reverbs had a wet/dry mix control - so you could adjust the amount of reverb added to the recording.


        Also, would you put the reverb ahead of or behind a buss compressor (my trusty UAD SSL 4000 emulation)?[/B] I would think after, as the compressor would tend to pull up and squash the reverb. I guess I can try it both ways.
        Going back to "real mastering," the compressor (like the famous Fairchild, actually, a limiter) was part of the cutting system and was the last thing the signal hit before going to the amplifier that drives the cutter head.

        Today you can do anything that you want, and it's up to you to decide what "sounds better" is.

        --
        "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
        Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

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        • #5
          Originally posted by 144dB View Post
          Hey all,

          I'm still learning, and I just recently came across the idea/suggestion of putting a reverb on the main mix buss.

          I trust this is to help glue the different sounds together, and I also suspect it's intended to be a very small amount. I suspect this reverb would be EQ'd, just like others (e.g. roll off the bottom and possible the top).

          Do you do this with any of your tracks?

          Also, would you put the reverb ahead of or behind a buss compressor (my trusty UAD SSL 4000 emulation)? I would think after, as the compressor would tend to pull up and squash the reverb. I guess I can try it both ways.

          Any input is appreciated.

          Todd
          Not on the stereo buss. I usually create a reverb buss and a delay buss, then send signals to those busses. I`ve heard of mixers putting reverb on the stereo buss just to give the mix some space but I prefer to keep reverb and delays on its own buss.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by 144dB View Post
            Hey all,

            I'm still learning, and I just recently came across the idea/suggestion of putting a reverb on the main mix buss.
            I don't prefer doing this for the reasons Phil mentioned, but I will say that I have done this occasionally with really ambient sorts of songs, doing so in a subtle manner to create a sense of space. But generally, no, I am really particular about instruments having their own space or amounts of reverbs. I am not a purist by any stretch with respect to realism, but just prefer the sound when I am placing instruments in their own space or sense of space or the amounts that they receive.

            Ken Lee on 500px / Ken's Photo Store / Ken Lee Photography Facebook Website / Blueberry Buddha Studios / Ajanta Palace Houseboat - Kashmir / Hotel Green View - Kashmir / Eleven Shadows website / Ken Lee Photography Blog / Akai 12-track tape transfers / MY NEW ALBUM! The Mercury Seven

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            • #7
              Originally posted by UstadKhanAli View Post
              I am really particular about instruments having their own space or amounts of reverbs. I am not a purist by any stretch with respect to realism, but just prefer the sound when I am placing instruments in their own space or sense of space or the amounts that they receive.
              Since I only work with "played" and never with "constructed" music, all of the instruments are recorded in the same space and I want them to sound that way. If I'm doing an overdub, It'll almost certainly be recorded in the same space as the rest of the recording.

              I suppose if I worked on projects where band members took a reference mix home and each worked out his part and recorded it separately in his own space, I'd have to get creative with reverb to get them to match, but I don't usually have the patience to work that way.

              The worst jobs are the bands who record a live show and then want to go into a studio to replace a bunch of parts. I like groups who can make a record in two hours in the studio and go home happy.
              --
              "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
              Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

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              • #8
                Originally posted by MikeRivers View Post

                Since I only work with "played" and never with "constructed" music, all of the instruments are recorded in the same space and I want them to sound that way. If I'm doing an overdub, It'll almost certainly be recorded in the same space as the rest of the recording.
                Right, and I do that often as well, as you know. But some microphones are closer, some are farther away. Some have treatment, some might not. Regardless, that is important to me. Sure, I use a room mic or two to "glue" it all together, but what I don't typically wish to do is slather on a reverb on the Mix Buss that removes some of that.

                Ken Lee on 500px / Ken's Photo Store / Ken Lee Photography Facebook Website / Blueberry Buddha Studios / Ajanta Palace Houseboat - Kashmir / Hotel Green View - Kashmir / Eleven Shadows website / Ken Lee Photography Blog / Akai 12-track tape transfers / MY NEW ALBUM! The Mercury Seven

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                • #9
                  I've considered it at times. The reasons not to present themselves before I've ever tried it, I guess. I'm a 'you'll notice the reverb if I take it away' guy for most of my music, other than the occasional trippy, ambient sort of thing. I have an Alesis Wedge and an Eventide GTR4000 on aux send/return. One for plates and rooms and the other for the hall. I think it's best to be able to be specific about how much reverb each instrument receives, and to be able to put an instrument more to one side or the other. Bass has usually got less reverb than the rest, unless it's spending quite a bit of time in the treble clef. Snare often has more.

                  I occasionally get the urge to go all Purple Rain with reverb and delays though. I listen to that and wonder how.

                  And I wonder if maybe I might have to give the stereo buss thought a try.

                  I'm still learning too, btw.

                  Is it possible to have nothing else to learn with this stuff?

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                  • #10
                    I'm not a huge reverb fan. I like a good room sound on drums, and reverb on voice and possibly an instrument like lead guitar.

                    However, when mastering I would sometimes receive stereo mixes that were drier than the desert. I'd master a version, then do a second version with just a touch of reverb. Most artists liked the reverb...actually I can remember only one who didn't want it, he wanted a super-dry sound and the lack of space was on purpose.

                    Although these days I'm getting more into mastering within the project because I run off different stereo mixes into tracks for comparison, for mission-critical projects I still tend to master to stereo without anything in the master bus, and save that for the mastering stage.
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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Anderton View Post
                      I'm not a huge reverb fan. I like a good room sound on drums, and reverb on voice and possibly an instrument like lead guitar.

                      However, when mastering I would sometimes receive stereo mixes that were drier than the desert. I'd master a version, then do a second version with just a touch of reverb. Most artists liked the reverb...actually I can remember only one who didn't want it, he wanted a super-dry sound and the lack of space was on purpose.

                      Although these days I'm getting more into mastering within the project because I run off different stereo mixes into tracks for comparison, for mission-critical projects I still tend to master to stereo without anything in the master bus, and save that for the mastering stage.
                      Me either, and me too. Generally speaking, the slower the tempo the more reverb has a role to play. As tempos get faster I tend to keep it tidy, and it seems to be more beneficial to match pre delay and decay times to the tempo and stuff. As always though I try to go with what the song seems to need, or to be asking for as I'm developing it. And if that's a mystery, then someone has more work to do and well...maybe in their next life.

                      So far I've always done my own mastering. I use the Finalyzer Plus on the buss lightly for the mix...limit a few peaks, a little compression and EQ. Then hopefully mastering is just a little more shine on the polish, making it louder to some degree without beating it up too much. If the mix seems to need much more, I just go back and remix. It's a fairly simple matter to hit bypass and grab a mix without anything on it. I should, and now likely will do it more often.

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                      • #12
                        A friend (and a good producer) told me that the older you get, the more reverb you like. I think we were in our 30s at the time. Now that I'm 75, I guess I don't mind reverb all that much, as long as it sounds like the space in which the music might realistically be performed.

                        But then, if Sylvia Massy wants to record guitars and drums in a retired nuclear power plant cooling tower, well, if it doesn't work out in the mix, at least she has a better story to tell than when I used a bathroom at Davis & Elkins College as a live echo chamber.

                        --
                        "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
                        Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by MikeRivers View Post

                          To put this in perspective...
                          Thanks Mike - Very interesting to know the history.

                          Todd

                          144 dB
                          Just Finished: Condensation
                          Working on: They Live, We Groove
                          Main Axes: Kawai MP11 and Kurzweil PC361

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by MikeRivers View Post
                            A friend (and a good producer) told me that the older you get, the more reverb you like. I think we were in our 30s at the time. Now that I'm 75, I guess I don't mind reverb all that much, as long as it sounds like the space in which the music might realistically be performed.

                            But then, if Sylvia Massy wants to record guitars and drums in a retired nuclear power plant cooling tower, well, if it doesn't work out in the mix, at least she has a better story to tell than when I used a bathroom at Davis & Elkins College as a live echo chamber.
                            I'm pushin 55 and I'm about where I've always been. Actually, if anything I'm considerably less enamored with effects in general than I once was.

                            Maybe it would bring the magic back if I could brag that I'd been to the top of a missile silo. It certainly would beat the snot out of admitting to still using an Alesis Wedge.

                            Do I have to cop a nuclear tan to love the reverb, or do I have to love reverb to willing to do that?



                            (Bravo Alesis, btw. It's been over 20 years and the Wedge has never blinked.)
                            Last edited by RockViolin; 12-27-2017, 11:09 AM.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by RockViolin View Post
                              Do I have to cop a nuclear tan to love the reverb, or do I have to love reverb to willing to do that?

                              (Bravo Alesis, btw. It's been over 20 years and the Wedge has never blinked.)
                              The Wedge was from the days when Alesis had a real designer at the helm. I was really tempted to get one when I wanted to replace my Great British Spring reverb, but the thing that put me off was the big bundle of cables that were tied to that relatively small and light box. I was afraid that it would always be falling off the table. At the time, I had a remote recording truck and there wasn't enough space to commit to bolting down the desktop unit in a place where it could be used easily. I ended up with a Roland SVR-2000, which I still use as my primary reverb, the little that I use it.

                              Apparently this tower was never used before the power plant shut down, so it wasn't "hot."



                              --
                              "Today's production equipment is IT-based and cannot be operated without a passing knowledge of computing, although it seems that it can be operated without a passing knowledge of audio." - John Watkinson, Resolution Magazine, October 2006
                              Drop by http://mikeriversaudio.wordpress.com now and then

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