Reverb phasing does not sound good on ukulele?

VST, AU, etc. plug-in Virtual Effects discussion
KVRist
59 posts since 31 Jan, 2021

Post Fri Apr 16, 2021 3:15 pm

When I apply a little room reverb to add some subtle ambiance to a ukulele, the body of the tone weakens a little on the mixed signal due to phasing. While I like the room ambiance the reverb introduces, I don't like what it does to the main tone of the ukulele. (I've tested out a few reverbs, including Valhalla's Vintageverb.) Is it just a fact, that there is a compromise when using reverb on some instruments--tone versus ambiance? Reverb is so often recommended as a way to improve the sound, yet in this case, the instrument sounds better without it to my ears. I wonder if capturing the room ambiance during recording would be a better approach if I want a little more ambiance. Thanks.

KVRAF
20702 posts since 12 Jul, 2003 from West Caprazumia

Post Fri Apr 16, 2021 3:34 pm

Yeah, well, I would say every kind of processing is a compromise, a trade-off. And it's always a question of what you want to achieve, what sound you're after.

Did you try to EQ the crap out of the reverb though?

KVRist

Topic Starter

59 posts since 31 Jan, 2021

Post Fri Apr 16, 2021 7:10 pm

jens wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 3:34 pm
Did you try to EQ the crap out of the reverb though?
A little. I could experiment more. I am trying out a short delay instead, using Ableton's plugin (e.g., 40ms on left and right with 25% feedback). As long as I don't un-synch the left and right, there is less noticeable phasing. But I might just go back to plain ol' dry, with maybe a little saturation.

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KVRAF
21318 posts since 20 Oct, 2007 from not here

Post Fri Apr 16, 2021 8:57 pm

Uncertain what that phasing indicates in your reverb. I would say that a uke is a fragile and not very robust-sounding thing and the attack is going to be very flaky using phase shifter or a chorus/flanger sort of operation (or not be very ukelele-like). With reverb you may want to think more about the why of it and what the actual goal of a more overall sound is and what role say a uke is supposed to perform in the sound picture. Let's use a stage or a hall as a model for the reverberation: a uke is pretty tiny, is not going to produce a sound that's going to reach far and reflect off the walls; so an enveloping stereo (the enveloping aspect means a lot of action in the reinforcement/cancellation which you seem to like 'phasing' to describe) sort of situation, as you are experiencing, is unnatural and a bit dodgy accordingly. It also is going to be more distinct dry, of course.

KVRist

Topic Starter

59 posts since 31 Jan, 2021

Post Fri Apr 16, 2021 9:21 pm

jancivil wrote:
Fri Apr 16, 2021 8:57 pm
Uncertain what that phasing indicates in your reverb. I would say that a uke is a fragile and not very robust-sounding thing and the attack is going to be very flaky using phase shifter or a chorus/flanger sort of operation (or not be very ukelele-like). With reverb you may want to think more about the why of it and what the actual goal of a more overall sound is and what role say a uke is supposed to perform in the sound picture. Let's use a stage or a hall as a model for the reverberation: a uke is pretty tiny, is not going to produce a sound that's going to reach far and reflect off the walls; so an enveloping stereo (the enveloping aspect means a lot of action in the reinforcement/cancellation which you seem to like 'phasing' to describe) sort of situation, as you are experiencing, is unnatural and a bit dodgy accordingly. It also is going to be more distinct dry, of course.
Good point about a Ukulele being a fragile sound with sharp transients. What you described is what I was experiencing. I am now getting a better mix using the Ableton reverb in mono (stereo knob turned all the way to the left), although I am not sure it's an improvement over the original dry sound--sometimes less is more. Mono reverb has less potential phasing issues and is also obviously mono comptiable.

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KVRian
1107 posts since 11 Apr, 2008

Post Sat Apr 17, 2021 2:28 am

Three ideas:
- Use EQ on Reverb Send/Aux. Pre/Post or both - to attenuate frequencies around Ukulele
- Use Sidechain to turn down a bit reverb to attenuate reverb at the transients (attack)
- Try to find transparent reverb instead of colourful one (Vintageverb is very colorful)
Beware! The software discussed in this topic has unacceptable aliasing at -386dBTP but it can be fixed by changing the sample rate to 12Bit

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KVRian
1107 posts since 11 Apr, 2008

Post Sat Apr 17, 2021 2:33 am

Also... does your recording has reverb in it? I suppose it has the reverb/tone of the room in which you recorded, (except if it's a very dry recording). In that case, adding another room reverb may not help and instead, you're ending up with two reverb colliding with each other. As a result, it sounds messy. Sometimes reverberation of the room in which the instrument was recorded is enough.
Beware! The software discussed in this topic has unacceptable aliasing at -386dBTP but it can be fixed by changing the sample rate to 12Bit

KVRist

Topic Starter

59 posts since 31 Jan, 2021

Post Sat Apr 17, 2021 4:54 am

pixel85 wrote:
Sat Apr 17, 2021 2:28 am
Three ideas:
- Use EQ on Reverb Send/Aux. Pre/Post or both - to attenuate frequencies around Ukulele
- Use Sidechain to turn down a bit reverb to attenuate reverb at the transients (attack)
- Try to find transparent reverb instead of colourful one (Vintageverb is very colorful)
Thanks for the suggestions. Using Ableton's transparent reverb in mono, with sidechaining and EQing, helps, but still not better than the original sound. As someone else alluded to, this is where having a clear goal in mind is important--bigger-than-life processed mix or intimate/immediate/raw mix. I've decided to shoot for the latter and forgo the reverb at least on the ukelele. I might add a tiny bit to the sax. I find softer transient melodic instruments (e.g., voice or sax) easier to work with reverb. The ukelele is a tricky one.

KVRian
1006 posts since 26 Feb, 2018

Post Sat Apr 17, 2021 10:18 am

I'll second that if your original recording already has a fair amount of room in it, then throwing more room at it can add confusion more than help. It's important to get this balance right, between the different rooms, the prominence of the instrument in the song, and the other rooms for the other elements. If your recording is already "roomy" then you are married to that room and have to work from there.

Another idea: try plates. A plate is a good solution when you want to thicken without aiming to place an element in a space.

Also consider trying a widener, like the free Izotope Imager 2. The idea being again to thicken more than placing the sound in a room. Also other thickening effects.

KVRist

Topic Starter

59 posts since 31 Jan, 2021

Post Sat Apr 17, 2021 2:41 pm

As you suggested, using a widener works well for thickening. I like the free Polyverse Wider plugin. I'll experiment more with plate reverb.

KVRist

Topic Starter

59 posts since 31 Jan, 2021

Post Sun Apr 18, 2021 10:57 am

Using a convolution reverb, such as the free Convology XT by Impulse Record, versus an algorithmic reverb, seems to work better in this case, with some additional EQing. While Melda's MConvolutionEZ is also a good free convolution reverb, you can't loud in custom wav files as you can in Convology XT.

During April, you can download Nevo Studios EMT 140 plate reverb impulse wav files free, using the code "emt140rules", which you can add to Convology XT: https://digital.nevostudios.eu/product/nevo-emt-140/

To get zero latency in Colovology XT, select zero-latency in preferences, and then reload the plugin. At least that is what I had to do in Ableton.

KVRian
1006 posts since 26 Feb, 2018

Post Sun Apr 18, 2021 4:31 pm

I bought the Nevo complete plate IR kit a while back. It's good stuff. Definitely more appealing than the IRs that come bundled with the Melda free convolver.

I use the Melda free one to load the IRs, I enjoy the simplicity and it's very low on resources. Click "custom path" on the bottom left.

KVRist

Topic Starter

59 posts since 31 Jan, 2021

Post Sun Apr 18, 2021 5:29 pm

jochicago wrote:
Sun Apr 18, 2021 4:31 pm
I bought the Nevo complete plate IR kit a while back. It's good stuff. Definitely more appealing than the IRs that come bundled with the Melda free convolver.

I use the Melda free one to load the IRs, I enjoy the simplicity and it's very low on resources. Click "custom path" on the bottom left.
Thanks. I missed that.

KVRer
8 posts since 5 Nov, 2015

Post Sun Apr 18, 2021 6:56 pm

I have a feeling what you're dealing with is the early reflections part of the reverb interfering with your dry sound. If using a convolution reverb, try increasing the attack parameter and possibly adding some pre-delay.

KVRist

Topic Starter

59 posts since 31 Jan, 2021

Post Wed Apr 21, 2021 10:03 am

I am getting some nice results with the newly released free Spazio Light reverb vst. Reminds me of the Valhalla room reverb in cleanliness.

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