A GUIDE TO SETTING UP REVERB ON BUSSES
First of all this assumes that you want to have the same type of reverb on all your intruments. If not, then you might as well just use separate reverb plugin on each channel’s inserts. However very often to get a mix hanging together you do want the same reverb or combination on all or many of the instruments in your mix.
What I do is put one reverb on a separate “bus”. This is not the same as a channel, because a channel can only have MIDI or audio as an input source. A bus is similar, but its input signal can be any audio “routed” from the sends of any of your channels.
The reverb on this bus is set to 100% wet, so it’s only reverb (no dry signal).
The outputs of all the channels are set to go to your main mix.
The output of the reverb bus is also set to the main mix, so the dry signals from all the channels meet up with the reverb output of the bus and get mixed together.
But (this is the clever bit), the sends from the channel strips send a dry signal to the reverb so it’s very easy to send different amounts from different channels to the same reverb. You may want a very slight touch of reverb on a piano, but a bit more on a vocal, so you just send more to the vocal. And when you change the reverb type on the bus, it applies to every instrument that is sending there.
The way I work I often have two reverbs as I mentioned earlier, and so I have two busses and two sends on each channel. Bus 1 is a short room (about 0.9 with a slight predelay) and bus 2 is the longer hall or plate reverb. Send 1 on each channel goes to bus 1 and I usually have all of them sending at least a little bit. This is especially useful when using MIDI samples to combine with an instrument or vocal recorded in a room, as you can get the very dry MIDI sounding more like it’s “in the room” with the real instruments.
Then I add the bigger reverb as desired. Again the send control is all I need to determine how much, no need to open the plugin and dick with the settings.
- It can often work well to add a short (0.7 – 1.2 sec) room ambience to dry electronic signals (e.g. synth modules, D.l.’d guitar) .This simulates (to a limited extent) the effect of recording in a room. You can then add a longer reverb (e.g. 2 secs and upwards) as necessary for effect. This also works on close miked acoustic signals. This method gives your mix a lot of life without using too much reverb (a fault of many “home demos”). My autoload file has a short room set up on bus return 1 and a longer reverb on return 2.
- If you want reverb without making a voice or instrument sound to distant, give it some predelay (50-70 milliseconds). This simulates the effect of sitting close to a stage and hearing the signal first then the reverb from the back, as opposed to sitting far away from the stage and hearing the reverb and signal at the same time.
- To simulate distance set the predelay to very short. This simulates sitting at the back of a hall and hearing the sound from the stage almost at the same time as the echo from the back wall. Sounds from further away will often send less bright than close sounds, so it can help to filter or EQ some top off.