Reverb within a mix is near enough mandatory. However, it’s incredibly easy to overcook a mix with ambience, even though modern mixes are increasingly becoming less reverb heavy.
Using reverb effectively can take a mix – and the song – to another level. But with many productions becoming increasingly busy and complex, the crucial space for this near-essential effect can become difficult to navigate.
In this tutorial we’ll look at various ways you can creatively optimize your use of reverb, particularly in productions which may prove otherwise tricky.
Learn the Rules…
One of the most universal or commonly known reverb “rules” is to avoid inserting a single reverb on each individual track or channel.
Not only is this incredibly computer-processor-hungry, you won’t do your mix any great favors, layering reverb on top of reverb, on top of reverb, and so on! (And if you’re working out-of-the-box, unless you have stacks of reverb racks this becomes fairly impossible anyway.)
As you can hear, the part is almost immediately swamped, and would certainly not fit well within a mix when other components are pulled in.
This is an over-the-top example, but serves well. There are only six tracks (kick, snare, ride, OH, and two room mics) within this project. Imagine what could happen to a project with 30 tracks!
The usual solution is to set up an auxiliary/effects track and send/bus any tracks you wish to be processed by the reverb. In other words, any tracks within the mix can now be sent to simply one individual reverb. This is almost a direct replication of older desk mixes, and keeps the reverb in your mix clean, tight and under control.