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How much and what reverb to add?

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How much and what reverb to add?

Postby Weedog » Sat Sep 10, 2011 1:39 pm

Hi all,

I just got myself a TC-Electroinc M-ONE XL Reverb unit and I'm a little blown away by how many types of reverb can be set.

Can anybody please suggest what style of reverb they use/prefer and when each might be used? (Small-large room/plate/spring/etc...)

I'm normally playing small venues as either a duo or a 4 piece band with crowds up to about 100 people and generally mixing the sound from the stage.

Thanks,
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Re: How much and what reverb to add?

Postby Weedog » Sat Sep 10, 2011 1:41 pm

Perhaps I will start here, but still would love to hear any personal preferences when mixing live.

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jul08/a ... everb1.htm
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Re: How much and what reverb to add?

Postby TSH-Tim » Sat Sep 10, 2011 2:41 pm

Without being there any hearing what your hearing it very very hard to say....try a few and if your still not getting what you want try something else
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Re: How much and what reverb to add?

Postby shufflebeat » Sat Sep 10, 2011 4:08 pm

Hi, Dog.

You'll probably end up with one or settings that you'll use all the time if you're mixing yourself, a couple more if you get a regular sound engineer who knows your set and features particular reverbs on specific songs.

In a small band mixing from the stage like you're describing I'd be inclined to use a 'medium hall' on main vocals, it's hard to describe how much but most folks (other than the singer) know when it's too much.

If you're playing fast, detailed music like Irish trad long reverbs on the general mix just muddy things up but a medium or small room can glue elements of the sound nicely. It can be subtle and so difficult to judge from onstage and behind the FOH. A longer 'Cathedral' style can put solo instrument playing a slow melody into fantastic perspective.

Guitar based Indie/Blues tends to rely on the guitarist to provide their own from the amp and vocals can often benefit from short echo/delay which sets it apart from everything else.

Different units obviously have different sounds and I'm not familiar with yours so I can only suggest general principles.

Less is usually more.
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Re: How much and what reverb to add?

Postby Dave Gate » Sat Sep 10, 2011 4:13 pm

If we were still in the 1980s I would say loads, huge cathedral setting,on everything, especially drums. Nowadays very little, short tail, mainly on vocals.
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Re: How much and what reverb to add?

Postby Mike Stranks » Sat Sep 10, 2011 4:38 pm

Dave Gate wrote: Nowadays very little, short tail, mainly on vocals.

I agree, as a 'default' position. But it really is a case of knowing what each of the controls does so that you can apply the appropriate effect to enhance rather than muddy the sound. I practice with some simple solo sounds - eg. 'dry' vocals, dry acoustic guitar etc - just to determine exactly how each control alters the sound. Eventually, you'll do it like driving - without thinking.

... and if anyone in the audience can say, "Ooo, reverb..." you're probably using too much. Of course, some styles of music go hand-in-hand with a definite and pronounced reverb/echo sound, but I don't think that's what you're asking...
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Re: How much and what reverb to add?

Postby The Elf » Sun Sep 11, 2011 7:53 am

IMO... ignore the 'less and shorter reverbs nowadays' mantra. It's a self-fulfilling, self imposed, artificial limitation.

Just do what the song, your ears and your tastes tell you are right for the song.
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Re: How much and what reverb to add?

Postby Dave Rowles » Sun Sep 11, 2011 1:37 pm

Also, make sure to play around with the "pre-delay" setting, as this can help if you think the reverb is muddying up the sound.

Reverb is personal taste and style. I go for shorter (0.8-1.6s) room/plate verbs on drums, medium (1.2-2.2s) room/hall verbs on rhythm/chord instruments, longer (1.6-3s) hall/plate on voices or tune instruments. But then again, if you've got a slow ballad with long held notes you'll probably want a longer verb, vs a stabby fast number where a shorter verb would be better. If you've got an 80s rock band, you'll probably want to lengthen the drum verb. It's always got to suit the style of the song. Also it depends on the verb unit as well, as some units are better at different types than others.

Usually I'm a fan of "you should only notice the verb when it's not there" sort of attitude, but it's so variable that you can't stick to that rule. I'm also a fan of not going too far outside the venue. For instance, if I'm in a small room I wouldn't go into long expansive verbs unless the style really suited that.
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Re: How much and what reverb to add?

Postby grab » Tue Sep 13, 2011 3:19 am

My personal preference is plate rather than room/hall, especially on rock or singer-songwriter (which is what I'm mostly doing). Since my ears and everyone else's are used to that sound of reverb on recordings, I like something like that live. The exception might be trad folk, I guess, for a more natural sound.

Still needs to be appropriate for the venue though - too much or too long in a small room sounds artificial, and as EM said, if you can hear the reverb distinct from the source then you've probably got too much. (Unless you've particularly been asked for a reverb-heavy sound.)

Spring is typically for guitar amps. Never had much use for it on live sound.
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Re: How much and what reverb to add?

Postby DB111 » Tue Sep 13, 2011 7:58 am

On reverb units, the mix controls that set the proportion of effected sound to dry should really be marked not 1 to 10, or Zero to 100%, but more like,
Needs more reverb,
Needs more reverb,
Needs more reverb,
Needs more reverb,
Needs more reverb,
Whoa! Way too Much,
Whoa! Way too Much,
Whoa! Way too Much,
Whoa! Way too Much,
Whoa! Way too Much,
It is a matter of taste and style, and there are distinctive types of reverb that are instantly associated with certain eras and fashions in music.
You just have to use your ears and cross compare with recorded tracks that you are trying to emulate.
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Re: How much and what reverb to add?

Postby Weedog » Wed Sep 14, 2011 1:41 am

Thanks everyone for their input.

I didn't get a lot of time to play with the unit before a gig last Sunday, but I'll hopefully get another chance this weekend to have more of a experiment with different types.

Thanks again,
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