adding reverb to final mix?

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kintyre56
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2006/12/07 08:53:07 (permalink)

adding reverb to final mix?

Howdy All --

I'm happy with the final mix of a new song, but overall it sounds a bit "dry". I'd like to add some reverb to the entire mix, but this is not sufficiently explained in the Sonar manual. (Newbie alert, by the way...)

Do I send the entire mix to a bus and add reverb there? If someone could explain the procedure in basic, simple terms, I'd be very grateful. Thank you!

(P.S. My goal is to add resonance and "depth" to the mix, so is it a reverb issue in the first place? Or is EQ the solution? Again, many thanks...)

Steve
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    rbowser
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    RE: adding reverb to final mix? 2006/12/07 09:29:00 (permalink)
    Hi, Steve

    Yeah, some reverb is what you want. Tracks, especially ones created from synths, don't sound natural without at least some reverb added.

    But you usually don't want to just send an entire mix through a reverb. That would add the same amount of reverb to everything and you could quickly get a pretty big murky wash of sound. For instance, generally the bass is left dry--who wants to hear bass notes bouncing around in a virtual Hall getting muddy and indistinct? But something like strings will really benefit from sounding like they're played in some sort of auditorium.

    To get you started, you can try the following. You're already on the right train of thought, since you mentioned sending tracks through a bus. Sounds like you understand how to add a bus, and that's a start. Try this:

    In the Console view, add a bus. At the top of the bus, add a reverb program like the Cakewalk XL reverb that comes with Home Studio. Choose a reverb preset such as a medium sized room.

    On each of the track sliders, insert a send--You get that by right clicking in the big open space of each track's module. Select the sends to go to the reverb bus you created.

    Use the dial which is on the sends to send different amounts of signal to the reverb on each of the tracks. The amounts you send is totally up to you, but as a start, visualize how the instruments on the tracks might be set up on a stage. The farther away instruments are from the listener, the more reverb they should get. Bass dry, as I said, kick drum dry also, snare should get a fair amount, experiment with what sounds good on the toms. If you have a piano, enough reverb so it doesn't sound impossibly dry. Etc.

    Insert another bus and label it Master. Have the reverb bus going out to the Master, and the Master going out to your sound card. At the bottom of each of the tracks, send their signals to the Master also.

    Push Play--Even if you need to keep playing around with the amount of reverb you're adding to each track, you should instantly be hearing the depth you've been wanting in your projects.

    Fairly easy don't you think?

    From this you can go on to another step which is exactly the same as the above, except you add more buses with different reverb programs. You could have several different sized rooms, completely different reverb plug-ins--whatever you want, and whatever your computer can handle running simultaneously. Now you'd have a bigger variety of possible reverbs, sending each track to the appropriate reverb. You could have a monster Cathedral reverb for strings perhaps, and a small "drum room" reverb on the drums--for instance.

    Sit down and try this out. I'm betting you'll get the hang of it pretty fast.

    Randy
    rbowser

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    #2
    scook
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    RE: adding reverb to final mix? 2006/12/07 09:37:46 (permalink)
    Just to add a little bit to Randy's comments.

    You may also want to look at adding a little delay on a few instruments. Reverb can make things a little less clear where delay can add space without the mush.

    Busses are a good idea. Adding effects such as reverb and delay sometimes need EQ to roll off the high end to sound natural.
    #3
    fep
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    RE: adding reverb to final mix? 2007/02/07 18:58:43 (permalink)
    This for me was a great post as I had never used busses before and I couldn't find a good practical example like the above in the help files.

    Question 1: I believe one of the primary purposes of busses is to save on system resources. Is that true?

    Question 2: Should I be concerned about the stereo image in the Reverb buss? For instance, say I have two background vocals, one panned 50% right and one panned 50% left and I'm sending them both to a reverb buss, what are my options? I see an input pan and an output pan on the bus but I'm not sure how to use them.
    #4
    contact@jondunn.org
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    RE: adding reverb to final mix? 2007/02/07 19:10:42 (permalink)
    yes Randy, well done on the basic lesson on busses, I have avoided them for a while

    perhaps you could also try Steve, the right click adding effects option, but I found it very difficult to understand the multiple factors of the adjustments, seemed too much, the whole wet/dry issue and then it also affect volume

    #5
    rbowser
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    RE: adding reverb to final mix? 2007/02/07 19:30:23 (permalink)
    Hey, this is great--Glad the little foray into the use of buses has been of some help and inspiration. Here at the Forums there are old hands at engineering who could give you much more than I have, I'm sure.

    Contact--You're talking about "destructively" applying an effect directly to a section of an audio file I think? I used to do that all the time, when I had a computer that couldn't handle real-time effects--but it was a drag, having to be stuck with what I thought sounded good Today, when I listened again Tomorrow. You can instantly Un-Do of course, but sometimes you move on and then realize you don't like it--That's why making duplicates of tracks is good when you know the editing you're doing is permanent.

    The settings you're talking about, Contact, make some logical sense when you think about them, but it's still lots of trial and error time. Done in the way you're talking about, you're doing a whole mini-mixing job on that one segment (or whole track) and you're stuck with the results--as per above.

    Fep, you said:

    "...Question 1: I believe one of the primary purposes of buses is to save on system resources. Is that true?..."

    I don't think of it that way really--Buses are just the only practical way to accomplish a lot of things. A complicated mix can be made up of a number of sub-mixes. Like when I do orchestral stuff, I've automated each instrument in the Woodwind section, say--but then I put all of those separate outputs into one bus labelled Woodwinds. Now, I can change the volume of that whole section in relation to the Other sections of the orchestra, without doing multiple moves which are the same on each instrument. Plus, each section of the orchestra gets a slightly different reverb treatment--so on that Woodwinds bus, I have the reverb appropriate just for that one section, and the instruments have their various amounts of reverb added with the Sends on their channel strips.

    So, more than saving resources, it's just the only way you can manipulate a huge amount of tracks and their movements, processes etc. It makes the mixing possible for one person to do.

    Question 2: Should I be concerned about the stereo image in the Reverb buss? For instance, say I have two background vocals, one panned 50% right and one panned 50% left and I'm sending them both to a reverb buss, what are my options? I see an input pan and an output pan on the bus but I'm not sure how to use them.

    If it's a true stereo plugin, I believe that what your talking about is taken care of. The voice panned towards the right, is in the right hand field of that stereo effect. I've rarely used the effect pans--When I need to exaggerate the positioning of something, if it sounds better to throw its reverb more off to one side, then I'll do it.

    I do what I do---and I am definitely not the most technoid person on this bulletin board. So, as always, if I pass on information which isn't quite right, I hope people feel free to correct me.

    Randy
    rbowser

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    contact@jondunn.org
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    RE: adding reverb to final mix? 2007/02/08 21:33:59 (permalink)
    Randy,
    I was unable to hear your tracks, can you send one along?

    are there actual musicians on the string tracks or is it all virtual?

    regards,

    -Jon contact@jondunn.org
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    rbowser
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    RE: adding reverb to final mix? 2007/02/08 23:54:16 (permalink)
    Hi, Contact

    Yes, well there's One "actual musician" on the tracks--that would be me.

    I work with GPO (Garritan Personal Orchestra) primarily, and other soft and hardware synths.

    I think you asked if I'm recording a group of string players or using virtual instruments, because the mixing needs would be different, right? I've never recorded a live orchestra--That would Really be a whole new ball game. I think there are people here at the Cakewalk Forums who Have done that though, and they would have tips on mixing and processing tracks recorded that way.

    The Sound Click page doesn't work for you?--I have trouble playing things on it because of my pop-up guard, that's probably you're problem also. Hold down the control key as you go into Sound Click, and as you click on Anything there--The files will come up.

    Randy
    rbowser

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    Wolfboy1
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    RE: adding reverb to final mix? 2007/02/09 09:47:38 (permalink)
    Great Thread!!
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    liebre
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    RE: adding reverb to final mix? 2007/02/09 10:07:38 (permalink)
    Helpful for me. Thanks Randy for taking the time to write all this out.

    Rod
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    Jack Wagner
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    RE: adding reverb to final mix? 2007/02/09 10:41:18 (permalink)
    This is great stuff Randy - I've never really used busses, rather I add my effects (non destructively) on a track by track basis. From what you're describing I can see a huge advantage in using busses but I'm not quite sure I've got my head wrapped around it just yet.

    If I understand you correctly you create a bus, lets call it Ryhthym Guitars, and add a reverb VST to the bus. You then create sends from the rhythm guitar tracks and send them to this bus (as well as the master bus) and control the amount of reverb for each track by adjusting the level on the send? If that's the case how do you go about setting up the reverb VST on the send bus?

    In other words, when I add a reverb on a track by track basis I take care of the amount of wet/dry by using the settings on the reverb VST. If I'm now controlling the reverb level by the level on the send should I have the reverb in the send bus at 100% wet?
    #11
    boten
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    RE: adding reverb to final mix? 2007/02/09 10:50:16 (permalink)
    Typically if you use sends toa reverb bus, then the reverb plugin on that bus is 100% wet. Sends are very useful however they have a limitation that may or may not be a problem which is you're using the same reverb settings for all the tracks going to that bus. That's why you typically use sends when you have various tracks which you want to use the same sound such as a vocal choir, a set of guitars, overheads (hi hats and cymbals). It's great to group all these similar instruments together and save resources in your system. There i also a different option to use shared reverbs which is using aux busses instead of send busses. They are very similar but you don't use sends, just route all the tracks to one aux bus, and use the reverb wet/dry mixer to balance the reverb amount. I personally like this last option unless I need to route the original track to different effects and I need the dry sound for the others as well.
    #12
    scook
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    RE: adding reverb to final mix? 2007/02/09 10:56:17 (permalink)
    If an effects bus contains only one effect, it generally would be 100% wet. If the bus has an effect chain (i.e. several effects in a row), the wet/dry mix is not as simple.

    In the case of a reverb bus, you might want to add an EQ before the reverb to roll off the low end and possibly an EQ after the reverb to knock down the highs. Still the reverb would be set 100% wet.

    Yes, track send level would control the amount of each track that is injected into the bus.

    You might have a guitar bus structure like this

    Guitar 1 (panned xx% left)> guitar bus
    \ guitar reverb bus


    Guitar 2 (panned xx% right)> guitar bus
    \ guitar reverb bus

    Then send the output of the guitar reverb bus to the guitar bus to mix with the dry guitars above
    Then send the guitar bus to a master mix bus.



    #13
    mcourter
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    RE: adding reverb to final mix? 2007/02/09 11:11:11 (permalink)
    Let me add the voice of inexperience here. Just to find out what process was involved, I used my first send to a bus on my current project. I had several guitar tracks I wanted to add the same compression to. I routed the Out to Effect Send 1 and added the compression in the FX bin, and Out from there to the Master. I didn't know what to expect, but it worked very well (I think). I tried the same process with my vocals to add reverb, but didn't care for that overall effect, so I added it separately to the backing vox track and liked that better. That's the beauty of this software: you can try anything you want in the learning process without ruining your project. Be dauntless!
    Mark
    For you veterans, this is old hat. To a new guy it's still exciting!!
    post edited by mcourter - 2007/02/09 11:33:00

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    rbowser
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    RE: adding reverb to final mix? 2007/02/09 11:41:16 (permalink)
    McCourter--"...To a new guy it's still exciting!!..." Believe me, it is to me too. We all have varying levels of experience behind us, but nobody is Ever "out of the class room." I can often feel as if I'm doing something for the first time when I sit down to work on a project.

    Jack, after getting the auto-mail notification that you'd posted a reply, I came here to the Forum all ready to give you more info, about having the bus reverb up to 100% and all that--but Boten and Scook have already posted excellent, informative replies.

    Something implied by Boten's response which I want to emphasize, is that the way in which you build your house of cards in a mix--the various sub-mixes, uses of busses, routing signals all over the place--it's so wide open.

    Automation is a big part of all this, recording the amounts of reverb sends, the faders in busses etc.

    There's one thing you said, Jack, which I'm not sure was really replied to:

    "...You then create sends from the rhythm guitar tracks and send them to this bus (as well as the master bus)..."

    Maybe you didn't mean this, but it sounded like you were talking about making another send for going to the master--and that wouldn't be right. The channel's output, chosen at the bottom of the track strip, is to the Master, just as the output from the reverb bus is sent to the Master.

    contact@jondunn.org--Have you tried Sound Click again, holding down your Ctrl key as I suggested?

    Randy



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    Jack Wagner
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    RE: adding reverb to final mix? 2007/02/09 12:16:56 (permalink)

    ORIGINAL: rbowser

    There's one thing you said, Jack, which I'm not sure was really replied to:

    "...You then create sends from the rhythm guitar tracks and send them to this bus (as well as the master bus)..."

    Maybe you didn't mean this, but it sounded like you were talking about making another send for going to the master--and that wouldn't be right. The channel's output, chosen at the bottom of the track strip, is to the Master, just as the output from the reverb bus is sent to the Master.



    No, I was confused but I think I've got it now. The dry output from your tracks get routed to the master and the bus output, which would just be the actual reverb (or whatever) gets routed to the master and that's where the actual mixing takes place of the two signals. I'll have to give this a try when I get home tonight.


    #16
    Jack Wagner
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    RE: adding reverb to final mix? 2007/02/09 12:23:13 (permalink)
    Ah - one further question. The Pre/Post setting on the bus. I assume this allows you to "send" the track before any effects are added (assuming effects are loaded on that track) or after the effects?
    #17
    boten
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    RE: adding reverb to final mix? 2007/02/09 12:36:18 (permalink)
    No, post and pre refer to the track faders ( send after track faders or before respectively)
    post edited by boten - 2007/02/09 12:57:46
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    contact@jondunn.org
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    RE: adding reverb to final mix? 2007/02/09 14:52:20 (permalink)
    Hey Randy, I'm going to check he tracks out this weekend when I'm on an island dogsitting, true story
    but drop me an email sometime anyway

    in terms of this great string, one other technical point, how can you right click and add a non-destructive effect?, as Jack mentioned


    ps- new tracks of our Jazz fusion band coming along in March
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    Jack Wagner
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    RE: adding reverb to final mix? 2007/02/09 15:46:49 (permalink)

    ORIGINAL: contact@jondunn.org

    in terms of this great string, one other technical point, how can you right click and add a non-destructive effect?, as Jack mentioned



    It depends on the plugin. Some of the ones that come with HS can't be used real-time in a non-destructive manner, in that case you have to make a backup of the track before you apply the effect. Otherwise many/most plugins (I've got tons of them) "just work" in real time. You add them to the effects bin and as long as they're active they're working. You can eat up a lot of CPU when you use a bunch of them.
    #20
    contact@jondunn.org
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    RE: adding reverb to final mix? 2007/02/09 17:07:21 (permalink)
    not to send the string in another direction, but Jack can you or anyone, Randy too, recommend to us early users where to find effective plug ins for say reverb and compression, and does it make sense or do you have to pay for them?

    regards
    #21
    scook
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    RE: adding reverb to final mix? 2007/02/09 17:56:03 (permalink)
    plenty of good free and inexpensive options, rather than go down the list why not browse this thread for some ideas
    http://forum.cakewalk.com/tm.asp?m=498839
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    fep
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    RE: adding reverb to final mix? 2007/02/09 20:18:22 (permalink)
    ORIGINAL: contact@jondunn.org

    not to send the string in another direction, but Jack can you or anyone, Randy too, recommend to us early users where to find effective plug ins for say reverb and compression, and does it make sense or do you have to pay for them?


    JD,

    I say use the Compression and Reverb in Home Studio. That's what I do, the 'Reverb XL' seems perfect to me for using in a effects bus.
    #23
    mcourter
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    RE: adding reverb to final mix? 2007/02/09 21:58:27 (permalink)
    I agree that the onboard effects are good. I use Cakewalk's compression, but I like to try different compressors because I find, with my relatively untrained ears, that there is a difference. Plus it's fun to try them out. I can recommend betabug, voxengo, camelphat and digitalfishphone for their compressors. I know these have been recommended by others, which is what led me to them. And the price is right.

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    #24
    boten
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    RE: adding reverb to final mix? 2007/02/10 05:05:54 (permalink)
    I use the GCO-1 for tracking. It's one of the best compressor plugins I've heard, esp. the classic compression mode.
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    bluespower
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    RE: adding reverb to final mix? 2007/02/10 09:26:09 (permalink)
    I decided to play a little joke on the group I'm currently recording, so I took the final mix of one of their songs, imported it into a new project, added some crowd noise at the beginning and end, doused the whole thing with a bit of delay and voilá ! Instant Live In Concert version! I even added a "Thank You - Good Night" to the end for extra realism. Here's the funny thing - the song sounds ten times better now! I'm thinking of doing this to all of my projects

    So, the moral of the story is, if you want to add reverb or delay to the entire mix, give it a try. You might like the results.

    #26
    paulrodriguez22
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    RE: adding reverb to final mix? 2007/02/10 17:03:23 (permalink)
    Great forum, hope i'm not speaking out against the forum, but has anyone ever tried to add some reverb to tracks in Reason? It gives great sound quality but sounds a little machine like, the problem i'm having is that i can ad verb to the track as a whole, but i really don't want verb on the kick, but want quite a bit on the snare.

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