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Long, dark reverb and how to use it?

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Long, dark reverb and how to use it?

Postby manwilde » Wed Oct 07, 2020 11:43 am

Hello all. I thought about posting this on the mix critique subforum, and of course I´d be very interested on your thoughts about this mix as a whole, but what I´m really struggling with more than anything is the use of reverb on this one (actually, in all my mixes... :headbang: ). I hope this is the right place to post this topic.
This is a cover of the very famous "Roads" by Portishead. Very sparse setting here: voice and two electric guitars. Whatever might be added as an overdub will have to sit around the sound of this.
I´m aiming for a very long and dark reverb here; something huge but very intimate at the same time, if that makes sense. I really could use your help and tips on appropriate reverb types, eq, compression, panning, predelay and whatnot.
So far I´ve been toying whith three reverbs: a very short one, a medium plate and the loooong one, where all the "meat" should be. After some work the mix has gotten better, but I don´t feel satisfied at all.
The playing is a bit sloppy sometimes, this was the second time they rehearsed the song. We´ll soon get back to it for another take.
Listen to the mix here https://www.dropbox.com/s/kljxdx4bkgz8qxs/ROADS.mp3?dl=0
I really appreciate your help.
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Re: Long, dark reverb and how to use it?

Postby horiprod » Wed Oct 07, 2020 1:02 pm

First of all, it sounds great, and your singer has really captured Beth Gibbons feel (and sound). You don't say how you recorded this, wether ITB or OTB, however in my humble opinion you couldn't go far wrong with an old-school Lexicon hardware reverb which many folk would say sit far better in the mix. Also, because of their topology, not too bright either - a product of the technology at the time ... If you can't find a 224X, maybe even a PCM70 - these are reverbs I use all the time. My first post here, although an audio professional for about 45 years!
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Re: Long, dark reverb and how to use it?

Postby blinddrew » Wed Oct 07, 2020 1:38 pm

manwilde wrote:something huge but very intimate at the same time,
Not had a listen yet, but if you're after this ^^^ then a large space with a long pre-delay will make it feel like the singer is very close but in a big hall. The longer pre-delay makes it seem like the source is having to travel a long way to the back wall and back again. Taking a bit of top and bottom off the return will also help add to that idea of distance.
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Re: Long, dark reverb and how to use it?

Postby manwilde » Wed Oct 07, 2020 2:40 pm

@horipod: Thanks a lot, and welcome here!. This was recorded ITB, Focusrite Octopre, Rme Babyface, Reaper. Left guitar is an Strat through a Fender Blues Junior, EV RE20 on axis about over the speaker´s edge, two inches away from the grille. Right guitar is a 4 string tenor Telecaster through a Yamaha THR10, Avantone CK- 1 with hypercardioid capsule off-axis pointing at one of the speaker´s cone about 4 inches away. Voice is a Shure SM58, no pop filter and singer not too close almost all of the time.
I´m all ITB, using mostly convolution reverbs (I´ve tried some freeware algorithmics also). Some of the impulses I tried were from Lexicon plates but I ended up using something else. I´ll keep on trying things and will go back to the Lexicon impulses. I know it´s not the real thing but it´s all I´ve got...
@blinddrew: yes, I´m feeling finding the right predelay is crucial here. If I set too long it feels weird and disconnected, not natural at all. If I make too short somehow it all sounds too wet to me.
I´ve added now a delay buss, very subtle and low passed. It seems the combination of both reverb and delay is getting me closer...
I´ll try to refine my settings and balances and follow any further advice.
Thanks a lot!
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Re: Long, dark reverb and how to use it?

Postby The Elf » Wed Oct 07, 2020 4:18 pm

It's all about the pre-delay, yes... but if you're aiming to create a sense of depth in a mix then it's all about different pre-delays for different sources for contrast - an overall single pre-delay wash won't cut it.

I'm not familiar with the music being emulated, so this is just a rule of thumb.
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Re: Long, dark reverb and how to use it?

Postby Kwackman » Wed Oct 07, 2020 4:24 pm

There was a very helpful article on reverb and what the tweaking does in the May issue.
https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques ... e-knobs-do
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Re: Long, dark reverb and how to use it?

Postby manwilde » Wed Oct 07, 2020 4:30 pm

Wow, very interesting indeed... so say the band is my example is playing in a church, all three of them lined up horizontally from left to right and roughly the same distance from me... What predelay differences could there be between them, and also, would you pan the reverb sends from each one opposite from the dry signal, which is what I´m doing now, or just dead center, or something else?.
Thank you very much, really need your advice here. It´s all about experimenting, but there sure is some theoretical reasonig that I should be aware of in advance.
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Re: Long, dark reverb and how to use it?

Postby manwilde » Wed Oct 07, 2020 4:31 pm

Thanks for that link, Kwackman!. Unbelievable I just skipped that one!
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Re: Long, dark reverb and how to use it?

Postby The Elf » Wed Oct 07, 2020 5:09 pm

manwilde wrote:Wow, very interesting indeed... so say the band is my example is playing in a church, all three of them lined up horizontally from left to right and roughly the same distance from me... What predelay differences could there be between them, and also, would you pan the reverb sends from each one opposite from the dry signal, which is what I´m doing now, or just dead center, or something else?.
Thank you very much, really need your advice here. It´s all about experimenting, but there sure is some theoretical reasonig that I should be aware of in advance.
That being the case then simple predelays might not be all you need. I'm brought to mind of the facilities in Altiverb, where it is possible to place the source such that left/right and front-back depth are calculated in the reflection patterns.
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Re: Long, dark reverb and how to use it?

Postby CS70 » Wed Oct 07, 2020 7:39 pm

+1 for an old lexicon box. I have and use all kinds of digital reverbs and in the end I get the results I want, but for some reason the immediacy of a good rack reverb gets me usually there much faster. Not really sure why as they do the same thing, I guess is the immediacy of the knobs and how I can fine tune while listening better than with a mouse. Since most hardware reverbs are now pretty inexpensive, it may be worth a try
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Re: Long, dark reverb and how to use it?

Postby manwilde » Wed Oct 07, 2020 7:58 pm

In our project studio I have access to a TC Electronic DVR250-DT that sounds very nice and has physical controls. If I want to take the project home I have to print the effect and live with it. Not that that is a bad thing, but...
And here at home I´ve been lent for a few days an Eventide Space. It is fantastic also.
I was trying to mix this song with what I normally have, trying to avoid the feeling that I "need" any of those two. I´m sure that if use any of those (and I might) the results would be good, but I like to think that I can fight my way to a nice feeling of space without resorting to new toys...
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Re: Long, dark reverb and how to use it?

Postby Arpangel » Thu Oct 08, 2020 9:42 am

Things like this are really impossible to address, as they rely on how things work within the context of a mix, and to give advice I would really have to be there listening to your music, and even then, what I might think works you might not, so I’m not even going to attempt to say anything too specific.
But, I will say, I had an Eventide H3000 for many years, and that had a very useful feature, that was the ability to adjust your position in the space of a reverb program, or "front-to-back" of hall position. To get the effect you mention, I would dial in a very close-to-front setting, but with a long reverb decay, so it was like I was standing next to someone in a very large space, very haunting, with just a touch of the late reflections. This was much more complex than just adjusting pre-delay.
There are other units with this feature, but they don't spring to mind right now.
It might be interesting, Adrian Utley of Portishead loves the Eventide Space.
I had a Lexicon 224 for awhile, and that didn’t come close to what I could do with the H3000 for some effects, it’s completely different, but you might want to check out some of Diamanda Galas's work, including the track "Gloomy Sunday" on her album "The Singer" as there are some fantastic examples of long dark reverbs but over a very intimate voice.
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Re: Long, dark reverb and how to use it?

Postby manwilde » Thu Oct 08, 2020 12:13 pm

Diamada Galas has been sleeping on my music collection for some time now, time to eventually check her out. Thanks a lot for the hints!.
One thing that I find limiting loading impulses in Reaverb is not having the choice of adjusting early and late reflections. Is this so in all IR loaders?.
Of course you can do that in many algorithcimc reverbs, but I don´t get along well with VoS EpicVerb (and it´s not true stereo) and I haven´t worked enough yet with Voxengo OldSkoolVerb. Those are the two algorithmic reverbs that allow adjusting the reflections that I have.
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Re: Long, dark reverb and how to use it?

Postby James Perrett » Thu Oct 08, 2020 2:16 pm

manwilde wrote:One thing that I find limiting loading impulses in Reaverb is not having the choice of adjusting early and late reflections. Is this so in all IR loaders?.

In Reaverb you can use separate early reflection and main reflection IR's and use the trim/gain/stretch utility after the early reflections but before the main reverb to control just the early reflections. You can then use another trim/gain/stretch to control the overall reverb.

Alternatively, if you want even more control, you can use separate instances of Reaverb for the early reflection and main reverb.

I must admit that I've only just discovered the delights of chaining the different parts of Reaverb. It badly needs a few factory presets to show off what it can do.
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Re: Long, dark reverb and how to use it?

Postby manwilde » Thu Oct 08, 2020 2:29 pm

I hadn´t thought of that! I definitely have to try it!. Thanks, James!
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