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Reverb? Do "professionals" use plugins?


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With all the talk about room mics, and all that, how many current ish (within the last....15 years or so) CDs use "artifical reverb"? Also what do they use because most of the reverb plugins i've tried sound....akward and make things sound not as "real" as just dry. Any input on if CDs like 311s blue album, Godsmacks self first CD, Korns Issues, or stuff like that( Sorry I like the 90s), where you hear "ambience" is it from room mics, an outboard reverb unit, or plugins?

 

Also is "cheap reverb" the weak link in most mixes more so then an ok EQ or compressor/limiter?

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Digital reverb has been all the rage for more like 25 years than 15 years... the stuff you like from the 90's was almost entirely [until at least the late 90's] digital outboard effects boxes. The late 90's through modern times [say the last 10 years] have seen plug ins come to be. There are several plug ins I've tried [no, I can't remember their names] that I thought were pretty good... but no one has really been able to do a plate properly [which is kind of a drag]... but other than that, most of the reverb you hear on modern records is from the box.

 

I'll add that the great majority of the boxes suck ass... as do the great majority of the plugins I've heard... you can "get away" with them... but you'll very often have to get into the menus and do stuff like roll off top end... compress the send to the reverb [a "transient designer" is usually my favorite treatment for a reverb send... there are hardware and software versions of them].

 

Will it "make or break" a recording? Hell no. The song will do that. It will however enhance or detract from the presentation which is [as engineers] our primary concern.

 

Peace.

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I've learned that the more I can use the room, the less I have to use a plug. Then... (Thanks Bruce Swedien) if I want a reverb, by dialing the predelay back enough so I can hear the real ER helps make that reverb sound good.

 

I used to scratch my head when Bruce would talk about big predelay times until I pushed the point with him and he pointed out he always takes great pains to grab the early refections right off the room itself. The real room ER's fill the predelay gap. Learn to do that, and any artificial reverb usage gets a lot more bearable.

 

Nice trick with the Transient Designer before reverb, Fletcher. I've got to try that. I have the Waves "equivalent".

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Why would you compress the send, and do you mean compress the reverb bus track, or like the stuff before it hits the reverb?

 

I'm using a Digi 001, with super old pro tools into a G3 B&W (overclocked to 400mhz! haha) powermac with OS9, sort of because my main computer with a Delta 66 and Kristal crashed-won't even boot, and the delta interface was having issues anyway. And also cause the setup (B&W G3 + matching 21inch CRT and delta for a total of around $185. I've been getting into older macs latley since the PC crash, hence I'm using an eMac in my room.

 

 

But I guess my point is this, would it be worth it to invest in room mics? or should I just move my overheads a little further away, or should I just use plugins (I have digiverb that came with old protools)?

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our primary concern.


Peace.

 

I was curious as to what you'd recommend for a multi-FX or Reverb box. Do you have any experience with the Lexicon MX400? I know that I can use a usb connection for connectivity to my DAW. I also want an outboard box because of some potential analog synths that I want to buy down the road.

 

My needs:

1) A small rack unit

 

2) USB or FW connectivity for my DAW/Studio application

 

3) Excellent reverbs and delays for both live/studio use

 

The only box that seems to fit all three of these requests are the Lexicon MX400XL. I know I can run it as a VST/AU thru usb.

 

I've went through the Eventide boxes, Lexicon, Kurzweil and TC Electronic. Those seem to be the only companies that fit the bill. What's your recommendation?

 

BTW, sorry about the thread hijack.

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I should point out that reverb boxes, whether good or bad, have been coming with predelays for quite some time now, so dialing them back so that the reverb hits after the note or voice stops makes the reverb space seem a little clearer, and as a bonus, you can typically dial back on the reverb level as well.

 

Another great way of creating space without having everything awash in reverb is to use delays, which can often create a sense of space, thus allowing you to use less reverb level and/or a shorter reverb.

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I was curious as to what you'd recommend for a multi-FX or Reverb box.

 

I use a TC Electronic M300 with my DAW via S/PDIF. Please note that I'm not saying that this is the best, but I also purchased it for less than $200, and it sounds surprisingly good and, obviously, since I use this in place of a reverb plug-in, you don't tax the CPU, if that's a concern to you.

 

I've generally liked Lexicon stuff, although I'm definitely not up on the current bunch of boxes. I've found that their stuff sounds good, although it doesn't sound "realistic". Then again, it's rare that any of these things sound "realistic".

 

EDIT: I missed the bottom part of your post, and this older box does not have USB or Firewire capability. I connect it via S/PDIF. I'll leave the post up in case it helps someone else.

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Why would you compress the send, and do you mean compress the reverb bus track, or like the stuff before it hits the reverb?

 

 

Regarding your first question, it depends...you can simply send your signal to a auxiliary track in which you reverb is on, and slap a compressor plug-in on there. Of course, if you are processing several items through this reverb track, then all of them will obviously get compressed, not necessarily a bad thing, but something you should know.

 

Think of a compressor as a wave-shaper of sorts, not just as something that squishes. So if you send a signal to a reverb but you compress it first, you take care of some of the "pokey" transients, or can even out the volume so that the reverb is "catching" more of the low level stuff, if that's what you want...or another way of looking at it is that the reverb doesn't catch the peaks, transients, or loud parts as much. This is a common trick that has been used for decades in which many of us sent signals through to a compressor before going to a reverb...same idea, it's just now people are doing it with plug-ins sometimes.

 

But I guess my point is this, would it be worth it to invest in room mics? or should I just move my overheads a little further away, or should I just use plugins (I have digiverb that came with old protools)?

 

 

The answer, in my opinion, is "maybe". Room mics can definitely help, but think about how your room sounds. If it sounds awful and you add room mics, are you helping or hindering? With sound sound treatment, you can fix this. I love room mics, and even though my living room sucks, I find that if I am really careful with mic placement, I can still get add a nice amount of depth. I use room mics regularly (although not always) with drums and guitar cabinets.

 

I'm using a Digi 001...

 

And finally, I also have Digi001 (although I use outboard mic preamps and bypass their {censored}ty converters). I've heard the Digiverb that comes with it, and it's so bloody awful that I just refuse to use it. I use the TC Electronic M300, which sounds infinitely better, and although perhaps not the greatest thing, it really sounds considerably better (see one of my earlier posts), so you might want to consider getting a hardware box and offsetting some processing from your CPU and probably getting a better sound anyway. The old Digiverb just blows. I think it's completely useless.

 

A decent plug-in was the Trueverb by Kind of Loud Technologies, which I think got bought out by Waves. I have an old system, as you can tell, so I'm not quite up on the new plug-ins and stuff. I don't know if this is the best or whatever. I'm just telling you that it was decent.

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I use a TC Electronic M300 with my DAW via S/PDIF. Please note that I'm not saying that this is the best, but I also purchased it for less than $200, and it sounds surprisingly good and, obviously, since I use this in place of a reverb plug-in, you don't tax the CPU, if that's a concern to you.


I've generally liked Lexicon stuff, although I'm definitely not up on the current bunch of boxes. I've found that their stuff sounds good, although it doesn't sound "realistic". Then again, it's rare that any of these things sound "realistic".


EDIT: I missed the bottom part of your post, and this older box does not have USB or Firewire capability. I connect it via S/PDIF. I'll leave the post up in case it helps someone else.

 

You're input is greatly appreciated as always. Keep up the great work... and BTW, do you have a demo page or something like that (ie. Myspace?). I notice that a lot of people here talk about ridiculous gear, but I've always valued your opinion where you have a more realistic (in terms of budget) view-point.

 

Not to bash guys with the high end stuff (I'm jealous!)... I value their input equal to your's... but I can't exactly go to Fletcher's page, and order all that stuff!

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Heres one trick to getting a great reverb sound while still being able to hear the words clearly. It was coined the Exciter and has been copied by many Theres a few other cool tricks but the Motown sound is pretty cool and sounds pretty good with even cheaper hard or soft reverbs.

 

http://www.recordinginstitute.com/R2KREQ/excomp.htm

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You're input is greatly appreciated as always. Keep up the great work... and BTW, do you have a demo page or something like that (ie. Myspace?). I notice that a lot of people here talk about ridiculous gear, but I've always valued your opinion where you have a more realistic (in terms of budget) view-point.


Not to bash guys with the high end stuff (I'm jealous!)... I value their input equal to your's... but I can't exactly go to Fletcher's page, and order all that stuff!

 

Fletcher, Phil, and others who post here who have some nice gear seriously know what they are talking about, and I greatly value their opinions.

 

Anyway, thanks for the kind words. Yes, I have some music up. Check it out:

 

This is my Blueberry Buddha Recording Studios page:

http://www.elevenshadows.com/studio/studio-virtualtour.htm

most of these were done with the TC Electronic M300 reverb

 

Nectarphonic:

http://www.elevenshadows.com/nectar/music.php

Most of these were done with the TC Electronic M300 reverb

 

Eleven Shadows:

http://www.elevenshadows.com/

Probably a combination of the Lexicon LXP-15 reverb and and an ancient Alesis Quadraverb

 

A lot of my stuff was recorded with budget gear. I would love to buy more from Fletcher's shop too, but I simply either can't afford it or cannot warrant the extreme cost. I'd love to have a Manley Massive Passive, but I can't afford it. No matter. It is important to have some perspective on just how good that stuff is and how musical it can make something sound so that you have a sense of what you are going for. But really, I can't complain; I've won a Lawson mic, I have a Neve Portico, and I can make really good recordings in a small house. I'm darn happy.

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