Reverb? What do you do?

Something I’ve been working a lot with lately is how I’m approaching my reverb.

I do a lot of guitar/rock driven stuff and I find that comparing my mixes to some of the other composers on here who do a similar style, they feel fairly washed out. But I find that when I don’t use as many verbs, it’s too dry and “lifeless”. The obvious example I love is soundroll, the verb is there, it adds depth, but it doesn’t drown.

Typically I use a convolution for most things to bring them all into the same space (reflektor on my latest mix) and then various halls/plates etc… on different elements. Probably 3 - 6 different verbs depending on the track.

Curious as to what YOU do! Any tips/tricks etc…

First thing I do with reverb is dial in on what the decay time should be. That too should serve the musicality of the track. If it’s too long, it will muddy up the mix.

The second thing, I always filter my EQ. Generally I’d say I set the high pass on an EQ between 150 - 200Hz. The lowpass will change depending on what else is going on in my mix but generally I set it between 3-10kHz. This gives you more control than simply adjusting the Wet/Dry mix.

It’s easy to overdo the wet/dry mix. I do this mental trick with myself where I get the verb where I feel happy with it, then make myself bring it down 3-5db from that point. Remember that when you compress in the mastering stage, you’re inherently going to be increasing how much your verb will stick out.

I listened to your stuff and your reference author. I think your stuff is awesome, I can see you might want to tighten up the verb a little bit but I don’t take any issue with it :slight_smile:

Anyway, that’s my two cents. I teach audio production at a university and these three things tend to usually be what my students find most interesting when it comes to reverb.


Thanks for the reply Sound-Spark-LLC!

That’s an interesting thought on the mastering stage bringing the verb back up and might be a big reason why I’m generally unhappy with the results after I master… That’s usually when I really start to get bummed out about my reverb now that I think about it! Makes total sense.

How many verbs do you usually run?

I think your mixes sound great, so I wouldn’t worry too much. I think whenever we work on our own music, we think it’s lifeless because we’ve listened to it 1000 times whilst working on it.

I think with reverb, LESS IS MORE!!! Especially these days. You really only want to notice it when it’s NOT there, rather than `hearing it’.

I always filter it with EQ, sometimes a high-pass as high as 500 or 600, at the very least a high-pass at 100hz. And a low-pass at around 5k or 6k

Mostly I keep the tails short, around 1 second.


I usually only have 1 reverb send, unless I have a unique situation like a lead vocal or some special instrument which needs its own individual treatment, for example if it’s a lead vocal I might have a brighter reverb, if it’s something like a horn I might want an extra-dull reverb for it.

I also automate the reverb a bit, especially on an orchestral mix. In a dense section of the arrangement when all the orchestra is playing and it’s very active, I’ll dial the reverb right back, and then if there’s a sparse emotional section with only a couple of parts playing, I’ll ride the reverb up to fill all the sonic holes.


Even with rock drums, I might automate the reverb on say the toms, so there is basically no reverb at all until the last hit of the song or the section, and I’ll ride the reverb up to catch that last hit so it echoes out. The listener will be fooled into thinking that the toms sounded MASSIVE and reverby the entire time, when in fact it was only that one hit which had all the depth and power. Keeping the tom reverb in the midst of a busy mix serves no purpose, because it doesn’t really get heard, and yet it interferes and clogs up everything else.


That’s very surprising that you’re typically only using 1 send! Would that be the case for your Uplifting Inspiring Rock (which sounds great btw)?

1 Like

Honestly I really only have one most of the time for general purposes. Although sometimes verb is more of a sound design element for a particular instrument depending on the genre. Agree with what BlueSkyAudio is saying also about sends.

awesome, what’s your go-to plugin?

A friend of mine told me once to stay away from reverb until the final mixing stage, and only add a little, if its needed, and WHERE it’s needed. Like, most mixes don’t really benefit from adding wash all over the place. Sometimes, a plate on the snare is all you need. For vocals, a stereo delay does a lot of widening without washing out.

I have a long history of over-using reverb, it’s only in the later years I’ve managed to shift focus a bit when it comes to “filling out” a sound. Truth is there are many things to make a sound richer or fuller, less “lifeless” as you say. Usually a wide reverb is tempting because it adds a lot of different frequencies to the spectrum. Well, that can be achieved by other means as well, such as saturation, compression or creative EQ. So instead of turning to the reverb plugin as a first, try something else and leave the mix tight until the very end.

My favourite routine of making guitars take up more room without losing too much definition is to simply overdub and pan left right. In this track, guitars only have a tiny, tiny bit of reverb coming from the amp sim. Drums overall just have a light touch of room and ambience. The snare, on the other hand, is choked with plate and ambience reverb, providing all the “noise” I was aiming for but without sacrificing the crispness of the guitars. You be the judge:

For another recent metal-ish track, no reverb at all on the guitar tracks, again letting the drums do the room work. To enrichen the guitars I had a bit of stereo delay, mostly on the lead parts but it actually works in rhythm sections too, just to add that “je ne sais quoi” :sunglasses:

In the final mix I wanted some coherence so I slapped on a hall verb on the stereo bus and cut out some mids.


And here’s the track:

So I guess basically what I’m trying to achieve in a tight track, is to not go to reverb for adding “life” or even “room” (unless for effect, or if you specifically need that in the final mix).

To combat “lifelessness” in guitars, look at the source instead. Maybe new strings, diff pickup, another amp, or create some more “life” in the tracking stage. Sometimes just letting a note hang more, bending or adding a vibrato at the end is enough. I think of reverb as a “tail” to make actual silence more interesting, not so much as a damp cloth to put over the whole band.

Reverb comes up louder in mastering, as has been said. Sometimes this is what you want, I mean sometimes I sidechain the reverb bus to a compressor so that it comes “pumping in” when the track is silent, and stays away during riffs, fills or vocals. That’s something to think about if your tracks are “drowning” but you still want to fill out the silent parts. A ducker would work as well, or again keep the 2bus verb realllllly low and bring it up in weak parts with a low threshold comp.

And finally, a stupid analogy.

“Reverb is like the dessert of a sound meal, like chocolate mousse or ice cream - don’t put it on the steak!”

Cheers :sunglasses:


Wow! Great post and great tracks! Thanks for the insight, really going to re-think how I’m approaching a lot of things when I’m building out a track as opposed to “it’ll sound better once I throw some verb on it :smile:

1 Like

I hardly ever put unique reverbs on my mixer channels. I have a few verbs set up on different buses, for example one small, one medium and one large reverb. I then send whatever sounds i want to these buses. This way i get the feeling of a “room” because the reverberation is the same throughout the mix, just as it would be in real life (which in my mind is the whole purpose of a reverb anyways). I try to be moderate with the amount of send and just like Sound-Spark-LLC and BlueSky i also put a low cut EQ on the verb buses to clean it all up. There might be better ways but this works great for me :slight_smile:

1 Like

You need to check out Eos by Audio Damage if you haven’t already. It gives you great control over the sound whilst still being a fairly simple plugin. Great for drums imo.

1 Like

This is basically how I’ve been operating. I probably just got a little too carried away with the sends. I’ll start out with a room/hall and send most stuff to that, but then i find i’m creating a new one (or two) specifically just for my L/R guitars, then another short plate for a shaker, then a different short for my snare, then a convolution for the entire mix… and on it goes and before i know it i’m drowning lol.

I really like Stockwaves insight about just using it in one or two places to give the sensation of space without having to put everything into it… definitely going to experiment more with that.

1 Like

" What do you mean less is more? More is more!"
Yngwie Malmsteen


lol, if my reverb use gets as tasteless as Yngwie’s playing… take me out back and shoot me :wink:


Eventide UltraReverb and Slate Digital VerbSuite