Reverb is a tricky mixing topic. There are multiple plugins, techniques, and endless articles to read about the topic. What is the best way to use Reverb for vocals?
If you came here for one simple answer, I’m sorry to disappoint but it really is a matter of taste. You can find articles that tell you a range to fall within or advice on the best plugins, but these are all opinions. Reverb is a matter of taste.
So, why am I writing an article about how to use Reverb, only to tell you there’s no easy answer?
I’m glad you asked. Before I wrote my book, I would occasionally have clients ask me to add reverb to the tracks I sent them. I would always approach this with apprehension because no two ears are alike. What sounds like decent reverb to me may be way too much or barely noticeable to others. I would add a little, send, and wait with baited breath for the inevitable “Eh, it’s okay I guess, but can you add/remove/boost/decrease/etc?”
If you apply too much Reverb, you’ll sound like you’re in a cave or a bathroom. Still, some people like this sound, because it adds to the effect of the project (maybe the song calls for it, maybe the voiceover needs it because the character is actually in a cave or bathroom). If you apply too little, it will just not be noticeable and will feel like you didn’t add any (but again, maybe that is needed).
If you’re a singer or voiceover artist working with a client, I would just say to add as much or little as the client wants (or let them do it). Ultimately, it’s their project. If it sounds like garbage, they’re the ones who made the call. I know it can be difficult to sit back and listen to a project you worked on to go down the tubes, but remember who is paying and who makes the final decisions (if you’re a singer who hired someone to mix for your album, YOU make the final decisions!).If you hired someone to mix your album, YOU make the final mixing decisions! Click To Tweet
What if you’re a podcaster and you want to add some Reverb to your voice so it sounds better?
You have two choices: 1). Do it yourself and get feedback from your audience or a few trusted resources, or 2). Hire a mixer to make your vocals pop. This, of course, depends on your budget and how much you want to entrust your listeners. Some people would rather not have fans weigh in on these decisions. Some don’t want to spend the money.
I find that it is always a great idea to have a second (or even third or fourth) ear to listen to a mix. You may think something sounds great, but you don’t want half of your audience to think you recorded your podcast in the bathroom (or maybe you do? I’m not one to judge).
At the end of the day, the amount of Reverb you use is up to you (or whomever you’re working for). I’ll include some good articles to give you parameters, but use your own judgment and intuition to guide you.
- Here’s Exponential Audio’s advice on using Reverb
- Here is a list of The 10 Best Reverb Plugins for 2017
- Musician Self has a great breakdown on Reverb
If you have Reverb tips, please share! If you’d like pro assistance with your mix or a consultation, feel free to drop us a line at Brain Stamp!