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Live Sound Month!

Proper Use (and Possible Abuse) of the Modern Digital Reverb

So, you invested in one of the awesome new generation of reverb processors or plug-ins. Congratulations! These new units will deliver absolutely stunning sound. That is, as long as you use them correctly! If your reverb produces a mix that seemed mushy and unfocused, it may not have been the fault of the processor. By giving us 50 different reverb algorithms to choose from, manufacturers give us terrific tools to add lush ambience to our compositions. But quite often, with so many awesome reverbs to choose from, users assign a plate reverb to the lead vocal, a rich chamber to the backup vocals, a hall reverb to the lead guitar, and a room reverb to the drums. The net result is a disaster, with each part floating about in its own independent sonic space. Not necessarily a recipe for achieving a cohesive sound.

Seasoned engineers know that processors can be overused and that it’s almost always best to use the same (or similar) reverb for all the parts, with the possible exception of the lead vocal, which might benefit from the judicious use of a classic plate reverb. Give your listeners’ ears a break and place all your band members in a solid sonic environment. You’ll likely find that your finished mix is now tighter and more focused – and hopefully destined to become a number one hit single!

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