Using Reverb in your Mixes

Reverb is an essential effect when mixing to create depth and make the different parts in the song sit well together and enhance the overall sound.

Here are 5 little tips to help you understand the general rules and avoid ending destroying all the hard work of your recording:

1. Start by putting your reverb on a Mix bus (Aux track) rather than directly on the track itself, you can now easily control how much dry signal you send to the reverb plug-in from different tracks.
This way you are also able to only have one reverb on the mix bus for each instrument or group rather than on every track the needs the effect. This will give more clarity to your mix while also saving on your computer’s CPU (central processing unit).

2. If the reverb plug-in has a dry/wet mix, set it to 100% wet. You only want the ‘wet’ reverb (the effect) to be returned to the mixing board, and none of the ‘dry’ signal (the original unaffected sound).

3. When experimenting with different setting you will notice how a shorter reverb time setting will make the sound appear closer to the front, while longer times will create a feeling of distance, pushing a vocal or instrument further back in the mix. In general fast tempo songs works best with shorter reverb settings whereas slower music benefits from longer and bigger reverb.

4. Don’t add reverb to any bass sounds or kick drum or other lower frequency pad sounds as it will make your track sound muddy. If you have an artistic or sound design reason to put it on then go for it but try using a hi-pass filter on the reverb to remove the lower frequencies, which leaves more room across your whole mix.

5. In general too much reverb will make a mix seem messy and full – the track won’t be able to breathe, so when mixing, bring your reverb volume up until you just start hearing it, and then lower it slightly.

You never really want the reverb in the song to be too noticeable, it works better when it’s subtle. In other words you probably don’t need as much reverb as you think you do. Less is often more!
Next time we will look at how to use Delay in your mixes, till then have fun working on your songs!

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