Reverb, as one of the most widely used audio effects in music production, is often taken for granted. From a professional point of view, it takes years to understand how, when, and in what amount one should use it. Reverb is used primarily to give depth and dimension to your mixes, but it can quickly turn a good sounding mix to something muddy and indistinct if not used properly. However, if you know the basics of the effect mentioned above but to some extent struggle with the desire to master it, the following few tips will be of great help.
1. Do not use it on everything and anything!
In music production, beginners tend to use reverb on just about anything. I would urge you to consider a different approach. Try using reverb to get that 3D sound. This means that some things should sound closer in the mix than others. This effect is exactly what gives depth and dimension to your mix. For example, try to carefully listen to some rock n’ roll songs with orchestrations.
2. Use of density can be essential
In short, the density parameter indicates how much reverb reflections are close to one another. Lower densities give more space between the reverb’s first reflections and subsequent reflections (Hall Reverb). Higher densities place these closer together (Plate and Chamber). Generally speaking, as with diffusion, higher densities work better for percussive content and lower densities for vocals and sustained sounds.
3. Pre-delay usage
Pre-delay simulates the amount of time it takes for a sound to leave its sound source and create the first reflection. Bearing this in mind you should decide where you would like to keep your vocal in the mix, more upfront or back. Experiment with pre-delay to achieve the desired position for the vocal.
4. Do not overdo the reverb tail
In some cases, reverbs with a long tail can sound epic on solo instruments, but hearing it in a full mix is a whole different story. If you really wish that long reverb on the solo instrument, try to automate this parameter and decrease it to a reasonable amount when the rest of the elements in the mix starts to play.
5. Shape it further with equalizer
As I mentioned before, reverb tends to make things sound big. And making something too big on a low end or high end is not the best idea. Instead of leaving it as it, try to apply a low cut or high cut with an equalizer after the reverb effect. By doing this you will have more control over particular frequencies. As a result, you’ll be able to easily emphasize or mask certain aspects that need further polishing.
6. Use it in combination with stereo enhancer effects
It goes without saying that the elements in the mix differ in stereo image size. Additionally, not everything should be stereo in your mix. For example, after you are done with tweaking the reverb on a piano, place a stereo enhancer effect right after it and experiment with stereo image amount. By doing so, you will make room for other instruments in the frequency spectrum.
7. If you have several reverb effects on group tracks, group them all together
With this trick, you can easily do A\B compartments which can be achieved with a single mouse click. This can be beneficial to overlook the amount of reverb in the whole track and to consequently fine-tune the levels of the effect properly.