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EQing reverb/delay returns...


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Hey all,

 

In professional circles, how common is it to EQ the returns for reverbs and delays?

 

I did a quick exercise by listening to returns in isolation, and even with a great reverb (e.g. UAD EMT-140), the sound is sometimes grotesque. Of course these returns are not meant to be heard in isolation, so perhaps some of that "grotesque" output is intentional to comb filter or change the dry sound in a musically favorable way. Said another way, if I EQ'd the returns and thinned out the bloat, maybe the lushness of the reverb would disappear.

 

I'm just curious if top flight engineers typically EQ the returns as standard practice.

 

Thanks in advance.

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Well, I think the answer is engineers do it if they perceive a need for it. Back in the day of having a single acoustic space for reverb, you'd often EQ the returns. With digital reverbs, a lot of times there's already EQ included in the preset, or is at least available within the reverb.

 

Lately I've been getting into removing tracks more than adding them, because every time I remove a track the remaining tracks stand out more. So it is with frequencies...sometimes thinning out certain ranges prevents collisions with other frequencies. And of course, a lot depends on context of the rest of the tracks and the music itself.

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The 'Abbey Road' trick comes to mind: High passing at 300 to 600 Hz' date=' and low passing at 1.5K to 3K. It really does remove a crapload of clutter from a reverb return.[/quote']

 

That doesn't leave very much reverb, does it? Maybe a different effect is in order, or none at all.

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I frequently' date=' but not always, compress the signal going in to a reverb (before the reverb, in other words), and sometimes a delay as well.[/quote']

 

Out of curiosity, what does the compression do for you? Are you hitting it hard, or just knocking off a few dBs?

 

Are you doing it to get a better reverb sound, or are you using it as a sort of parallel / New York compression (in addition to the reverb effect)?

 

Thanks in advance for any insight.

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I've been having a lot of success in this arena, since this thread was written. I'm working on a fairly complex mix, 90% of which is synths and any time I've invoked a reverb or delay I've put an EQ in front of it or in back of it. What a difference... You can really get rid of some bothersome resonances and a lot of bloat with a good parametric. I've been using Fabfilter's Pro-Q2 (my Swiss Army EQ), and while I try to mix it up a bit, I use the EMT-140 plate a lot (UAD plugin). It's a great reverb, but it definitely benefits from some clean-up EQ.

 

I took a guitar track this afternoon, panned it to 10 o'clock, copied it to a new channel, rolled-off the pluck of the strings, panned the copy to 2 o'clock, slapped a Lexicon 224 on it with a really wet plate (UAD), and then EQ'd the result... Heavenly.

 

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This isn't strictly on-topic but it relates to reverb.

 

I hardly use reverb at all so I don't use buses. When I add reverb, it's to vocals but I restrict the lows going into the reverb (and do the same with delay if using that instead of reverb). This lets the vocal reverb "float" above all the stuff happening in the 50-500 Hz range, and gives an "airier" feel.

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This isn't strictly on-topic but it relates to reverb.

 

I hardly use reverb at all so I don't use buses. When I add reverb, it's to vocals but I restrict the lows going into the reverb (and do the same with delay if using that instead of reverb). This lets the vocal reverb "float" above all the stuff happening in the 50-500 Hz range, and gives an "airier" feel.

 

I've definitely been rolling off the bottom. I also use an ultra-narrow peaking bell to find the unpleasant resonances, and then I pull them down and reduce the Q. Fabfilter is great for finding resonances and getting a visual picture of what you're doing.

 

I still love reverb. I'm not using super large halls and teasing my hair, but even if I'm doing a fairly dry mix, I still use a blending reverb for most tracks just to tie it together and give it a bit of polish.

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Hey all,

 

I just want to say that this technique/tool has been one of the biggest boosts to my mixes in a long time. By default, I'm putting an EQ in front my reverbs and delays now. There is a tremendous amount of boom and mud that comes out of your average reverb or delay (particularly some of the ones that emulate vintage gear), and putting an EQ in front of it makes a big difference to mix clarity and pleasing sonics. Sometimes I do the Abbey Road trick (roll off everything below 600 Hz and everything above 10 KHz), and in other cases I'm more detailed in my approach.

 

The key is putting the EQ in front of the reverb/delay. You can do it after, but I find that it removes too much from the reverb.

 

If you want to try this yourself, do a 100% send to a reverb, and set the send as pre-fader. Then kill the fader on the source track and solo the reverb channel. You might be surprised by what you hear. Now put an EQ in front of it, roll off the bottom and top end, and disengage the pre-fader switch. Now bring up the source track and set the send level to taste.

 

Magic...

 

 

 

 

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Not directly related to the question in the OP but I've done it with a 'traditional' Fender guitar amp by plugging the output of the Reverb springs into the Normal channel input.

 

The added control is significant enough to make it a worthwhile endeavour - especially when there is a Midrange control available.

 

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