How to Easily Change the Feel of Your Drum Sound By Focusing on the Right Reverb
As far as the tools you have to shape the style of your drum sound, in multiple directions.
It can take it from a punchy garage sound if you add a short room reverb, to a big arena rock song if you choose a hall.
And if you just want some space for ambiance without making the drums sound too distant you can always opt for a nice gated reverb.
Inside the Drum Mix Toolkit, I spend a lot of time talking about the various reverb modes you can use.
I wanted to give you a sneak peak into the reverb chapter so you can learn when to focus on a certain reverb mode for your drums.
If you like this post and want to learn everything I’ve learned about mixing drums in the last 11 years, go grab the Drum Mix Toolkit right here if you haven’t already.
How to Choose the Right Reverb for Your Drum Sound
All rooms sound different. The spacious Spanish Cathedral is going to sound a lot different than your living room (and probably way too big for your fast paced punk rock track).
The bigger the spaces are, the bigger they sound. We engineers know what we can accomplish musically by harnessing these spaces in our mixes. The different spaces we can choose from in our productions are called “room modes”. Room modes are basically categories of different spaces that have a distinct character and sound.
Room – Small rooms, low ceilings. Think a garage, bathroom or small studio room. It’s never going to sound as lush as a hall, but it has the right character for some genres and sounds. Great for adding some extra depth to a drum mix for a song where everything should be in-your-face.
Hall – Halls are big and lush. However, small halls can get the best of both worlds: lushness while staying tight. Use big halls for huge drum sounds and other things you want to make big in the mix. Small halls still sound bigger than small rooms, and they have a more reflective quality than a room. If you need a big drum sound then this is your starting point.
Chamber – Chambers can sound big but usually do not have many early reflections, giving the sound more space without audible reflections.
Plate – Plates are usually pretty dense but do not sound roomy or echo-y, with a more smooth reverb sound than some of the other modes. Plates are popular for drums, especially snares. A little bit of plate reverb often adds more “ambience” than actual noticeable space to the drum, giving the snare more depth and presence in the mix without pushing it unnecessarily back.
Spring – Crank up the spring reverb on your guitar amp and kick it! You’ll hear a big “Boing!” That’s spring reverb. It is very popular in surf music and great for guitars. Although mostly reserved for guitars, don’t be afraid to experiment with it on other elements in your mix. I have used this on snare just for thickness, so it’s not completely out of the question to add this to drums.
Impulse Responses – Impulse Responses (IRs) are digital snapshots of other rooms. Some reverb plug-ins are IR-only (like Logic’s Space Designer). Impulse responses are great for drums because you can really imagine what kind of space you want the drums to play in. Some premium plug-ins even offer realistic modeling of high-class studios so you can get the instant effect of those rooms in your bedroom recordings.
This is just a short 500-word preview of the drum reverb chapter inside the Drum Mix Toolkit. I explain every reverb parameter you’ll find on your reverb plug-ins and how to use them to add the right feel to your drum sound.
The Drum Mix Toolkit has been incredibly popular since it came out on Thursday and I’m really excited about hearing all the drum sounds you’ll be coming up with by using the tricks and techniques you’ll find in both the eBook and the videos.
Jonathan Timpe, one of my subscribers and a beta-reader of the Toolkit, was an important part of making the Drum Mix Toolkit what it is today. His feedback was invaluable to creating the tutorial videos that are now included in the Drum Mix Toolkit.
Here’s what he had to say about it:
“Drum Mix Toolkit is a fantastic resource. Not only is it a well-written book full of tips, tricks, and workflow methods that you can implement today, but to me, the best part is that it also contains video examples by Bjorgvin himself so you can actually hear the techniques in action! It’s one thing to read about audio, but it’s another to see exactly the differences made through the process. To top it off, Bjorgvin has provided the practice tracks he used in the videos for free as well! Absolutely fantastic and highly recommended! What I’ve learned in this package will be used on my bands/brothers drum tracks for years to come!”
I guarantee that the tips inside the Drum Mix Toolkit will help you improve your drum sounds. If they don’t, I’ll refund every penny!
Here’s where you go to grab your copy: