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How to Think About Contrast and Style When Choosing Reverbs

Using reverb can get pretty challenging.

Not enough and it’ll sound dry and unpolished.

Too much and it’ll be a cluttered mess.

Here are two different ways to think about reverb when you’re finding the right one for your song.

Reverb For Contrast

Use different reverbs for different parts of the song to create contrast.

Let’s take the drum reverb for example, something I have a whole chapter on inside the Drum Mix Toolkit.

The verses might be big and spacious, with heavy reverb, floaty, crisp with the cymbals.

Then create a punchy chorus with parallel compression and a small drum room to create a tight contrast to the floaty verse.

Reverb For Style

Another way to use reverb is to create a sense of style throughout the song.

If you use a master reverb that you add to all the instruments, it’s going to dictate the sense of style and space for the song.

Use a small room and you’ll get a tighter, rawer sound.

Use a big hall and you’ll get a bigger feel.

Depending on what you choose, you can take the song in multiple directions.

Reverb is not about slapping some space on a track and calling it a day. It’s a deliberate and thoughtful process where the space you choose can dramatically change the sound of your mix.

So you have to create spaces around these instruments that make sense.

You can’t have big string pads and violins sounding like they’re being played in a garage.

And you can’t throw a cathedral style reverb on a rhythm acoustic guitar. It’ll just clutter up the mix.

By spending the time to go through the reverb settings and finding the right modes that fit the song, you’ll end up with a better mix.

If reverb is something you’re still struggling with and you always think your mixes are too awash in unnecessary reverb, maybe it’s time to take charge and really learn how to use reverb effectively in your mixes.

Luckily, The Pro Audio Files has a whole course on mixing with reverb that you can check out here.



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About me

About Björgvin Benediktsson

I’m Björgvin Benediktsson. I’m a musician, audio engineer and best-selling author. I help musicians and producers make a greater impact with their music by teaching them how to produce and engineer themselves. I’ve taught thousands of up and coming home studio producers such as yourself how to make an impact with their music through Audio Issues since 2011.

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