EQ’ing Reverb. Wait, did you really say that?
Yes, i did.
It’s really important to remember when using a very big reverb on a track or a whole song to EQ your reverb. This can get you a lot of different sounds out of even a “stock” sounding reverb. Take a minute to look at your effects chains and insert an EQ before and and after the reverb send. This is what you would see in Reason 4.0 The goal of this is to color the song with mood and feeling. A dry, crisp, short reverb lends a metallic feel to the song that makes the listener feel uneasy. A Long and dark EQ lends a lot of warmth to a song.
This type of setup will work with almost any D.A.W. that you use. I suggest that you route like this for the most control over the reverb.
Main Mixer send 4.
Pre Reverb EQ.
Post Reverb EQ
From the Main Mixer you should use Send 4 or the last number send on the mixer if you have more or less sends on your mixer. This is not a hard and fast rule. Though for 95% of music production you want Reverb to be the last effect. This is also a point where you can do cool things like change level of the effected signal back into the mixer.
Pre-Reverb EQ gives you a chance to shape the sound going into the Reverb send. This is very important with drums and other percussive tracks. The way that you will shape the sound going in the Reverb will very by genre. With Dub, Reggae, and Dubstep you will darken the sounds by using the a high cut rolloff. With a style like 80’s pop metal you would add warmth with mid-range boost and a low cut. Play with this EQ until it fits your mixdown. I will give you one clue. Cut anything below 350k unless you want your kicks and bass to sound like they are in an Oil Tanker.
Now for the Reverb. When you select you reverb for your song, bypass the Pre-Reverb EQ. Find the one that you want. Turn the EQ back on and play a few notes. Adjust your Pre-Reverb EQ as your ears tell you too.
Compression is mostly not wanted or needed. Though in an upcoming blog I will discuss Compressing Reverb tails to get a Dub or Gated effect.
Post Reverb EQ is the EQ that reshapes your Reverb sound as a whole. This is also where things can go really well or horribly wrong. Use your ears. Make very small changes. Save often and will different file names. You hard work will pay off.
Stereo Imaging is the last step before routing back to the Main Mixer’s Send Return. You may want to use features like Solo Hi band to cut all reverb from the low end for a tighter kick and bass sound. You could also make the Reverb really wide for an feeling of great space in the mix. Also you can solo low band with a high Crossover Frequency, set to mono for a dark mono feel. That would add tension and a feeling of being closed in. There are a lot things that you can do to add emotion to the song as a whole with this last step.
Keep in mind all of this is for naught if you do not have space in your mix to hear the really awesome custom Reverb that you just made. You may find that you need to rewrite a riff or melody. Sometimes subtracting from the arrangement of the song helps you to hear the Reverb on the snare or the vocals. Also arranging a “Dropout” is a common tactic in Hip Hop, Drum n bass, Dubstep, and other forms of music like Jazz. This is a “pause” in the some or all of the music to let the Reverb or Delays in a track shine though. This may not be very obvious when you listen to your unmastered mixdown. When the mastering engineer does their thing all of the great reverb that you produced in your mix is going to really shine in the dropouts.
Thanks you for your time,
Ric Dolore AKA R3wind AkA Patient Zero
P.S. If you have any questions or would like the RNS files from today just follow me and reply.