Reverb avoidance and mono reverbs

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KVRAF
3411 posts since 27 Dec, 2002 from North East England

Post Mon Oct 05, 2020 8:57 am

chagzuki wrote:
Sun Sep 27, 2020 7:36 am
I was in the habit of strategically using mono reverbs and eq to control the proximity of elements in the soundstage, rather than stereo reverbs. I'm not sure yet the extent to which I'll need to approach things that way now, as reverbs seem to much better preserve a sense of 'openess' which doesn't clog up the soundstage. So whilst I experiment with that I'm curious to hear other people's approaches: does anyone here really use mono reverbs, and does anyone here find reverbs in general to create problems of clarity in mixes?
While I'll happily throw a ton of reverb at sound design, in terms of mixing I tend to favour a very dry sound where reverb is barely there. Just the lightest touch to glue things together, where it's a feeling more than a sound. Loudness focused mastering can really bring your glue reverb up in the mix, so it's something where I always err on the side of caution by keeping it quiet and using a reasonably short tail, which brings me to...

One of the things that I really like about ValhallaRoom is the direct control over the ratio of early and late reflections. You can turn down (or even silence) the 'tail' and just keep the 'space' that the early reflections add. It's very useful for putting things in a large space without the mud that comes from a long tail. I abuse this a lot. By considering it an extension of the mix control, you get a lot of interesting options with regard to proximity and space vs clarity.

KVRAF

Topic Starter

2351 posts since 26 Mar, 2002 from london

Post Mon Oct 05, 2020 11:14 am

cron wrote:
Mon Oct 05, 2020 8:57 am
One of the things that I really like about ValhallaRoom is the direct control over the ratio of early and late reflections.
Just trying it out now. The number of current reverbs I've sampled is still quite limited, but I'm accustomed to early reflections sounding metallic... this seems certainly not the case with the ValhallaRoom. This might be just the right tool.
Every day takes figuring out all over again how to f#ckin’ live.

KVRAF

Topic Starter

2351 posts since 26 Mar, 2002 from london

Post Tue Oct 06, 2020 5:07 am

Aiynzahev wrote:
Mon Oct 05, 2020 8:31 am

Now not intending to plug anything here, I did a little demo with the Erebus a while back which has a fantastic dirty delay built in, I was able to make a really cool reverb with that that somehow has a lot of interesting texture to it, something just better than a clean reverb in this case, at least to my ears. You can hear it here at the 3:12 mark:

https://youtu.be/2gNNd2Mn7Ro?t=191
Nice work. Very nice sounds you're getting from that synth... I think your intuitions about reverb and delays are pretty much in line with mine; that's the sort of approach I'm more inclined to take.
Every day takes figuring out all over again how to f#ckin’ live.

KVRian
1087 posts since 23 Sep, 2004 from Kocmoc

Post Wed Oct 07, 2020 4:37 am

Yep that early reflection is a trick to be used, gives nice feeling
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KVRAF

Topic Starter

2351 posts since 26 Mar, 2002 from london

Post Thu Nov 26, 2020 3:01 am

I'm demoing Sonible's Smart Reverb which has a de-masking feature, labelled 'clarity'. Hard to know exactly what's going on under the hood but it sounds to me that it's focusing only on frequencies rather than frequencies within the stereo image... so turning up the clarity setting perhaps cuts out more of the stereo image than would be necessary. The most obvious use case is on drums, where you retain all the crispness of the source but get some of the glue and atmosphere... I'm impressed with it on percussive sounds.
For other scenarios, e.g. where one loses some of the phrasing definition of a synth melodic line amongst the reverb wash, well, it seems to be that one will get just as good or better results from simply making the phrasing more abrupt with a standard reverb, but still Sonible's clarity function can also get good results quickly. I wonder what other reverbs have a similar algorithm which I've not encountered yet.
Every day takes figuring out all over again how to f#ckin’ live.

KVRAF
3411 posts since 27 Dec, 2002 from North East England

Post Fri Nov 27, 2020 8:48 pm

chagzuki wrote:
Thu Nov 26, 2020 3:01 am
I'm demoing Sonible's Smart Reverb which has a de-masking feature, labelled 'clarity'. Hard to know exactly what's going on under the hood but it sounds to me that it's focusing only on frequencies rather than frequencies within the stereo image... so turning up the clarity setting perhaps cuts out more of the stereo image than would be necessary. The most obvious use case is on drums, where you retain all the crispness of the source but get some of the glue and atmosphere... I'm impressed with it on percussive sounds.
For other scenarios, e.g. where one loses some of the phrasing definition of a synth melodic line amongst the reverb wash, well, it seems to be that one will get just as good or better results from simply making the phrasing more abrupt with a standard reverb, but still Sonible's clarity function can also get good results quickly. I wonder what other reverbs have a similar algorithm which I've not encountered yet.
Adaptiverb is the obvious candidate here, but it's not quite a reverb: more of a spectral effect in reverb's clothing. IIRC you're not really a stranger to spectral effects, so it comes with the usual up and downsides (notably latency). It can pull off a lot of neat tricks like constantly following the harmonic profile of the dry signal, pushing it to focus more or less on the noisy elements in the signal, and ludicrous out there sound design stuff such as feeding the harmonic follower with MIDI, or 'freezing' a different timbre into the harmonic follower then manipulating it as you would otherwise. It also sounds pretty great as a reverb. I haven't pulled the trigger yet, but I've seen it go for less than £80 at Plugin Boutique IIRC.

You could also look into rolling your own effects in a semi-similar vein by running your reverb 100% wet on a parallel track where you pre-process a duplicate of the dry signal with whatever effects you like the look of. Say, thinning the parallel track out with SpectrumWorx/SpecOps, or lopping noisy attacks off with a transient shaper or inverse gate.

KVRAF
1725 posts since 11 Jan, 2009 from Portland, OR, USA

Post Fri Nov 27, 2020 9:42 pm

cron wrote:
Mon Oct 05, 2020 8:57 am


One of the things that I really like about ValhallaRoom is the direct control over the ratio of early and late reflections. You can turn down (or even silence) the 'tail' and just keep the 'space' that the early reflections add. It's very useful for putting things in a large space without the mud that comes from a long tail. I abuse this a lot. By considering it an extension of the mix control, you get a lot of interesting options with regard to proximity and space vs clarity.
Just curious cron, when using it (valhalla reverb) this way, are you using it as an insert or send?
https://michaelarthurholloway.bandcamp.com/ - Noir-themed Dark Jazz
https://tvhwy.bandcamp.com/releases - classic IDM by TV HWY
www.dwifh.com - old-school industrial music by DEAD WHEN I FOUND HER

KVRAF
3411 posts since 27 Dec, 2002 from North East England

Post Sat Nov 28, 2020 6:14 am

mholloway wrote:
Fri Nov 27, 2020 9:42 pm
cron wrote:
Mon Oct 05, 2020 8:57 am


One of the things that I really like about ValhallaRoom is the direct control over the ratio of early and late reflections. You can turn down (or even silence) the 'tail' and just keep the 'space' that the early reflections add. It's very useful for putting things in a large space without the mud that comes from a long tail. I abuse this a lot. By considering it an extension of the mix control, you get a lot of interesting options with regard to proximity and space vs clarity.
Just curious cron, when using it (valhalla reverb) this way, are you using it as an insert or send?
Typically as an insert. I'm generally using it to place a specific element further away, sort of like a front-to-back mixing tool, rather than as an overall 'glue' thing.

KVRian
740 posts since 18 Apr, 2011

Post Sat Nov 28, 2020 6:40 am

I'm with you, always trying to use as little reverb as possible, but it's tempting, as good as they are sounding these days.

Here are some random thoughts.

I find that one of the big "secret mix tips" people talk about a lot nowadays is always using predelay on reverb. And it's true, I due use a healthy amount on about 80% of cases. But.. I find that if I want something to sound dry (usually drums or some kind of lead part), I will need just a tiny bit of an "ambience" style reverb. For this, I've noticed that predelay makes the reverb too noticeable. I'm after the type of thing that just makes the sound a little less abrasive and not popping out of the speakers too much. The type of reverb you only notice when it's gone.

For other, larger reverbs, I usually use sends. I will often compress the sound going into the reverb, and filter it before hand. I can usually filter in my reverb plugins, but this is just a little habit I have.

Another fun trick I've been using, is putting an analog modelled lowpass filter after the reverb (synth warmer) and cranking up the resonance and working it til I find a nice spot where the resonance sits in the mix, then I back off the res a little bit.

I almost always highpass the reverb pretty liberally. That's because I'm usually working with dense mixes. But, if you have a really sparse mix, it can be great to leave the lows in there. Or if you are just wanting the reverb to be really noticeable and you are willing to carve out a space for it.

And one other thing, I almost always tweak the width of the return reverb track. I usually find it too wide, and it will obscure things that I have panned hard to either side. So often times I will put the reverb at 75-80% width.

KVRAF

Topic Starter

2351 posts since 26 Mar, 2002 from london

Post Sat Nov 28, 2020 7:06 am

cron wrote:
Fri Nov 27, 2020 8:48 pm
Adaptiverb is the obvious candidate here, but it's not quite a reverb: more of a spectral effect in reverb's clothing.
Thanks for the nudge, I'd not looked into that one yet. Sounds awesome from the description, so I'll give the demo a spin.

Another option will be to use Sonible's Smart Comp sidechained on a reverb bus to cut out spectral overlaps... I'm impressed with the Smart Comp demo so I'll most likely be buying it whilst BF is on, though I see there are 2 or 3 competing products from other brands. With their reverb I'm not so enamored with the sound.
Every day takes figuring out all over again how to f#ckin’ live.

KVRian
907 posts since 30 Jun, 2014 from Pacific NW

Post Sat Nov 28, 2020 9:57 am

When possible, try using a delay instead of a reverb.

In some situations, this probably won't work, of course, like a solo orchestral passage or something.

Tempo sync the delay and or pre-delay on the reverb, as well, to have it blend more.

EQ. Gate. Etc.

Last resort: Boom ReCenter to re-focus things if they're getting out of hand on the sides.

KVRAF

Topic Starter

2351 posts since 26 Mar, 2002 from london

Post Thu Jul 22, 2021 7:58 am

Quite a lot of time has passed since I started this thread and I've been back doing music for enough time to try out quite a few reverbs, and push some mixes to near-finished states.
As it turns out the stock Logic reverbs are excellent, but I don't want to always be using Logic. Most reviews I've seen prefer the convolution based Space Designer over Chromaverb, but the latter has a density control which does exactly what I was hoping for, and it's possible to thin out the reverb without adding any graininess.
I was just playing around with Exponential Audio's R4 and whilst it sounds smooth and lively, and the early reflections are great, it doesn't have a way to control the 'openness' as one can with Chromaverb.
Is there anything similar to Chromaverb outside of Logic?
Every day takes figuring out all over again how to f#ckin’ live.

KVRAF
1725 posts since 11 Jan, 2009 from Portland, OR, USA

Post Thu Jul 22, 2021 9:41 am

chagzuki wrote:
Thu Jul 22, 2021 7:58 am
Quite a lot of time has passed since I started this thread and I've been back doing music for enough time to try out quite a few reverbs, and push some mixes to near-finished states.
As it turns out the stock Logic reverbs are excellent, but I don't want to always be using Logic. Most reviews I've seen prefer the convolution based Space Designer over Chromaverb, but the latter has a density control which does exactly what I was hoping for, and it's possible to thin out the reverb without adding any graininess.
I was just playing around with Exponential Audio's R4 and whilst it sounds smooth and lively, and the early reflections are great, it doesn't have a way to control the 'openness' as one can with Chromaverb.
Is there anything similar to Chromaverb outside of Logic?
If it's the just the 'density' knob you really need, Valhalla Room and Vintage Verb have that, and it does the same thing, afaik.

Otherwise, Fabfilter Pro-R is a lot like ChromaVerb, though I personally never got along with its sound, and ended ups selling it.

I know that for me personally -- and likely many others -- reverb is by far the easiest mix plugin to overthink. The sad, simple truth is that you could probably get by just fine if you forced yourself to use one, and only one, reverb plugin, and literally just put your attention elsewhere. After extensive testing of the absurd number of reverbs I own and have gotten to know very well, I've found that what seems like a big difference in sound when working on individual tracks in a song with Reverb A versus Reverb B, by the end of the mix, when you have a completed mixdown, the 'big difference' has disappeared entirely and the same mix made with different reverbs sounds nearly identical, or very damn close -- close enough that it basically doesn't matter which one you used.

In the case of effect verbs like Blackhole, obviously that changes things. But for mixing purposes, the above has been my conclusion again, and again, again....
https://michaelarthurholloway.bandcamp.com/ - Noir-themed Dark Jazz
https://tvhwy.bandcamp.com/releases - classic IDM by TV HWY
www.dwifh.com - old-school industrial music by DEAD WHEN I FOUND HER

KVRAF

Topic Starter

2351 posts since 26 Mar, 2002 from london

Post Thu Jul 22, 2021 1:01 pm

mholloway wrote:
Thu Jul 22, 2021 9:41 am
If it's the just the 'density' knob you really need, Valhalla Room and Vintage Verb have that, and it does the same thing, afaik.

Otherwise, Fabfilter Pro-R is a lot like ChromaVerb, though I personally never got along with its sound, and ended ups selling it.

I know that for me personally -- and likely many others -- reverb is by far the easiest mix plugin to overthink. The sad, simple truth is that you could probably get by just fine if you forced yourself to use one, and only one, reverb plugin, and literally just put your attention elsewhere. After extensive testing of the absurd number of reverbs I own and have gotten to know very well, I've found that what seems like a big difference in sound when working on individual tracks in a song with Reverb A versus Reverb B, by the end of the mix, when you have a completed mixdown, the 'big difference' has disappeared entirely and the same mix made with different reverbs sounds nearly identical, or very damn close -- close enough that it basically doesn't matter which one you used.
Cheers, I'll have a look at those. I'm sure you're right for the majority of use-cases; the standard for reverb plugins is now so high across the board. However, I'm doing stuff with unusually dense arrangements and that openness, that 'air', is crucial to avoid losing the outlines of the parts.
Most of the reverbs I've tried do perfectly well at being smooth, fluid, glassy, etc., but not so much 'airy'.
Sonible Smart Reverb for instance, totally pristine, pure sound, but glass-like and kind of dead. UVI Sparkverb: more airy, but kinda like clouds. R4, kinda thick but er, spacious. Chromaverb, however, you can take all the body out of it but the volume and tone seems to stay the same, and it's almost like it's not there.
Every day takes figuring out all over again how to f#ckin’ live.

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KVRer
24 posts since 21 Jul, 2021 from Here.

Post Thu Jul 22, 2021 1:58 pm

I think reverb should only be heard when the music stops. If you can hear it while the music is playing, it's too loud.
Unless you're going for that, of course.
I tend to use 5 or 6 reverbs (all Exponential, bought in the sales last year - Valhalla before that) of different lengths but similar sizes, if you know what I mean, using a vca fader to control the overall level. I set it to "just right!" then lower it a couple of dbs.

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