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Reverb, space and panning

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Reverb, space and panning

Postby Frank Rideau » Wed Feb 22, 2012 7:05 pm

Hi.

It's usually the norm to send channels to a send effect channel for reverb FX purposes. You can have more than one reverb sends and you can also send more than one track to the same reverb send.

I just noticed recently that I was paying no attention (or very few) to panning of the reverb channel. Creating different spaces at different places in the stereo image. I'm sure it's a common practice but some questions arised.

Is it better, for a given send reverb, to pan the whole reverb channel (will result in all tracks sent to this reverb will be pan to the same space, no matter where these tracks are panned in the mix themselves)
or
use the send bus to pan each of the sent tracks individually, so they will be reverbed in the same space they are panned in the mix
or
use the send bus to pan each of the sent tracks individually, to different places from what they are actually panned in the mix (for example, I experimented to pan reverb of each tracks exactly at the oposite field of what the tracks were in the mix).

Oh god, sounds confusing as I read it again...

Anyway, any creative use of the reverb spaces in stereo you'd like to share ?
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Re: Reverb, space and panning

Postby Radiobomb » Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:14 pm

good Q's Frank, fwiw the stereo tails in reverbs often confuse a stereo image, and can linger, confusing a mix. Modern production has minimal reverb [unlike the '80's !], and quite a few SoS articles suggest mono reverb/delays for avoiding that problem. It's probably 'horses for courses' here. The same articles recommend eq-ing your reverb to avoid low-end mud & high-end smear, but as usual, 'What sounds best IS best'.
An example of mixing the snare & vox send to a common reverb [to glue 'em together] is a no-brainer for a mono-verb as both occupy the center....
Sound design however would be a case for precise pan positions in a reverb occupying the same pan positions as the dry source.
Hope this helps !
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Re: Reverb, space and panning

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Wed Feb 22, 2012 8:16 pm

Most hardware and software synthesised reverbs are mono in, stereo out. So panning the sends often makes no difference: the two channels are summed to mono anyway. However, the more elaborate reverbs are stereo in, stereo out and panned inputs do produce an appropriate reverb image with the early reflections varying with the input panning.

This subtlety can be useful in demanding applications, particularly where an accurate room simulation is vital - such as in film, tv or radio dramas - but I'm not sure it is necessary in most music applications.

Panning different stereo reverbs to different parts of the image usually just complicates the sound without really adding anything useful in my experience. However, panning a mono reverb return either to the same place as the source, or to the opposite side can be useful and creative.

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Re: Reverb, space and panning

Postby Mike Senior » Thu Feb 23, 2012 7:23 am

Hugh Robjohns wrote:This subtlety can be useful in demanding applications, particularly where an accurate room simulation is vital - such as in film, tv or radio dramas - but I'm not sure it is necessary in most music applications.

Panning different stereo reverbs to different parts of the image usually just complicates the sound without really adding anything useful in my experience. However, panning a mono reverb return either to the same place as the source, or to the opposite side can be useful and creative.

What he said. The only thing I'd maybe add is that I normally find that the width of a reverb is often worth adjusting -- I usually use Voxengo's cross-platform freeware MSED plug-in for doing that if required.
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Re: Reverb, space and panning

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Thu Feb 23, 2012 10:19 am

Mike Senior wrote:I normally find that the width of a reverb is often worth adjusting

Agreed. Narrowing the reverb return slightly helps to make the summed mono mix sound more similarly 'damp' as the stereo mix. Many reverb hardware and plugins have a function somewhere for doing this, but a stereo width controller can also do the job as you say.

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