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Spot The Reverb | Media

By John Walden
Published April 2015

Audio files to accompany the article.

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Audio Examples

There are six audio examples included in the MP3 that illustrate some of the approaches described in the main text using a simple demo project.

Example 1: This provides an example of automating REVelation’s reverb levels on the approach to, and at the end of, a short one-bar ‘stop’ section. As the stop approaches, reverb is added to the synth sound (almost as a riser) while at the ‘stop’, a large splash of reverb is applied to the otherwise isolated kick drum. Finally, as the snare roll signals the return of the other instruments, its reverb level is automated to add a further spot effect.

Example 2: This is split into two parts. In the first part you hear the standard arrangement with reverb applied. In the second run through of the same material, the reverb level from REVelation is being controlled via the Compressor. As described in the main text, the compressor is being triggered via its side-chain input from the drum track causing the reverb level within the mix to be ducked slightly whenever there is a drum kit. The difference is subtle (it’s meant to be) but it does mean that the drums can punch through the mix a little more easily.

Example 3: In this section, the return from the vocal reverb has the Gate plug-in applied to it. The gate is being triggered via its side-chain input from the drum track. The send level from the vocal to REVelation is deliberately overcooked to exaggerate the effect and, because of the slow attack time set for Gate, the reverb kicks in more towards the ends of words only and is rhythmically linked to the drums. To add a bit of further interest, an instance of Auto-Pan has been placed on the REVelation FX Channel after Gate so that the reverb effect is panned across the stereo field, while the dry vocal remains fixed in the centre.

Example 4: This uses an instance of the MIDI Gate plug-in. MIDI Gate has been inserted after REVelation on an FX Channel and the gate is being triggered from a specifically created MIDI track. This contains notes played in a rhythmic fashion. The drum mix has a send to this FX Channel but, because of MIDI Gate, the reverb is only audible when the rhythmic MIDI channel triggers the gate to open, resulting in a rhythmic pulse of reverb on the kit. I’ve dialled in quite a high send level from the drum kit to REVelation to make the effect obvious but you can, of course, set to taste.

Example 5: In this section you hear two runs through of the same synth part. In the first, REVelation is simply applying a constant reverb to the part. In the second, the send level to REVelation has been increased and an instance of MorphFilter applied after REVelation on the FX Channel. The settings for the filter have been automated over the course of the part (and also panned using AutoPan again). The dry synth part therefore stays constant but the variation in the tonal character of the reverb and its stereo movement adds a bit of extra interest.

Example 6: This provides two different examples of reverse reverb as a spot effect applied to vocals. In the first pass you hear something approaching the classic application of this technique where the reversed reverb provides a riser effect into specific words within the sung phrase. In the second pass reverse reverb has been applied to the whole phrase (so what you hear alongside the main vocal is a reversed reverb-only version of the full phrase) and creates a sort of ghostly, backwards backing vocal effect.

Published April 2015

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