How to mix with reverb
Updated: Feb 11
IIn this post, we will teach you how to mix with reverb. Sometimes mixing with reverb can be challenging. So, we will share some simple tips that will help you.
Understanding Reverb Types
In most cases, you will need three reverb types for your mix.
Small Room/Drum Room
A hall is a type of reverb that helps you fill the background of your track, and it is the longest reverb out of these three types.
However, be careful with the length. If it is too long, it will create unwanted mud in your mix. In addition, the tail of your reverb should fade when your next kick hits. I usually make my hall reverb 2.2-2.5 seconds long, depending on the genre.
A slower BPM will allow you to have a longer reverb. A hall reverb has the least number of high frequencies because it is far away. The closer we get, the more high frequencies the reverb will have.
A plate/spring produces dense sound, and it is suitable for vocals, drums, and instruments. Use it when you need to have an audible reverb effect with a lot of high frequencies.
And finally, a small room is frequently used for drums or sounds you want to put in front of you. Again, it can be bright or dark, depending on the sound you want.
Before mixing with reverb, you need to learn this concept: When you want to add reverb to your vocals, drums, instruments, etc., it is a technical reverb. This is because you are forming the space in your mix and creating dimensions with different reverb types. Furthermore, you are trying to make your sounds sit in the mix.
When working with sound design and creative reverb processing, you can use it on the insert channel.
A golden rule for the reverb: It should not be too audible, but when you turn it off, you should feel that it is gone and your mix is missing something.
My setting for a hall reverb is a long 2s tail. I like Neoverb because it allows you to mix different reverb types in one plugin.
For the plate reverb, I use a shorter 1.16s tail.
For the drums/small room, I use a very short reverb tail, and I aim for 0.8s.
These values are approximate, and they will change depending on the context of your mix, but this is a good starting point.
Now let us look at the reverb processing.
You do not need to reverb below 300 Hz because this is the space we want to save for the kick and bass. I usually do a low-cut at 100-200 Hz and use a low-shelf filter to cut until 300 Hz. This way, we do remove any unwanted frequencies that might create mud in the mix. Do not worry too much about the EQ settings, as the reverb will smooth the sound.
After the EQ, I use a compressor. The key here is to prevent the transients of the sound from getting into the reverb. Short attack = fewer transients. Play around and see what works for your track. We do not want to eliminate all of the transients; we just want to smooth the sound a little.
A sidechain is the last step of reverb processing, and its purpose is to duck the reverb sound when the kick hits. This way, the kick will not conflict with the reverb. Of course, you can try sidechaining your snare to reverb as well if you want to create an extra pumping effect.
That is it! As you can see, it is not too hard to mix with reverb. However, when you understand the reverb types and how to use them, it becomes effortless.