Reverb/Delay Everywhere how do you manage it.

Everything has some delay and reverb. I know that synths really benefit from delay and reverb. But it seems that every preset has a different amount on them. Sometimes reverb and delay is what that makes the particular synth sound effect.

What I'm curious about is if you want the sounds to have the same algorithm and or amount of reverb and delay how do you manage that on a production level.

Do you just turn off all the effects, and insert an effect on every channel or at the end of the mix in a final send bus? Or both? Or leave them on and still add reverb and delay at the end.

Does any of this have a consequential effect on the mix, muddying it?

And/or do you have a preference AU/IAA work "better" (pulling things together more) than others?

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Comments

  • edited January 13

    For CPU reasons alone, I tend to turn off all reverb in individual synths / patches and use 2 or 3 global send reverbs (one short room for drums etc., one medium hall for mostly everything, very long hall / cathedral type thing for special FX / long dreamy pianos etc.).

    For delays, I am a bit more liberal when using inserts, as they don't use as much CPU... but still, it's convenient to just turn a knob and get something instantly usable that fits with the groove of the track, so I mostly keep 2 or 3 send delays around as well with various rhythms / feedback.

    Errr so yeah, you probably noticed I consider Delay and Reverb to be a part of the production, not the patch :)

  • @SevenSystems said:
    For CPU reasons alone, I tend to turn off all reverb in individual synths / patches and use 2 or 3 global send reverbs (one short room for drums etc., one medium hall for mostly everything, very long hall / cathedral type thing for special FX / long dreamy pianos etc.).

    For delays, I am a bit more liberal when using inserts, as they don't use as much CPU... but still, it's convenient to just turn a knob and get something instantly usable that fits with the groove of the track, so I mostly keep 2 or 3 send delays around as well with various rhythms / feedback.

    Errr so yeah, you probably noticed I consider Delay and Reverb to be a part of the production, not the patch :)

    That make total sense and what I was concluding - moving towards myself. But damn it's a hassle to un-effect everything.

    So as a use case scenario would you leave an effect(s) on a patch if it was an integral part of its sound and match/work around it with your other sends? Does it create any problems like phasing? You'll have to excuse my ignorance if that's the wrong term. I'm thinking that if one synth effect has a certain frequency of effects it could interact with another if they are different.

  • If the patch has some kind of odd delay or reverb that is used more as a "special FX", then you could keep it of course... about potential phasing problems: I wouldn't expect that with a reverb, but yeah, it might happen with delays if they are tempo synchronized and not sample-accurate.

    Of course, if a patch contains effects like chorus, flanger or some kind of waveshaper, that's an integral part of the sound design and should be kept.

  • @SevenSystems said:
    For CPU reasons alone, I tend to turn off all reverb in individual synths / patches and use 2 or 3 global send reverbs (one short room for drums etc., one medium hall for mostly everything, very long hall / cathedral type thing for special FX / long dreamy pianos etc.).

    For delays, I am a bit more liberal when using inserts, as they don't use as much CPU... but still, it's convenient to just turn a knob and get something instantly usable that fits with the groove of the track, so I mostly keep 2 or 3 send delays around as well with various rhythms / feedback.

    Errr so yeah, you probably noticed I consider Delay and Reverb to be a part of the production, not the patch :)

    Yes, this will lead to an improvement in the cohesiveness of the production. Many DAW projects I see from novice mixers, have little use of send effects, but has a different reverb plugin inserted on every channel. You could technically get an identical sound, but the workflow is more cumbersome. With a reverb set up as a send effect, it is an instant change, to try a different reverb, like how do the instruments all sound with a chamber, rather than a plate? You can try things out boom, boom, boom. With an insert reverb on every channel, you have to go through and change every one. Built in reverbs on the synths are just like insert reverbs, but even more buried to edit and more disparate, and often not as featured as your best reverb plugin.

    Insert reverbs and delays are good when you want a dramatically different spatial sound on one channel- no need to set up a send, if only one channel is going to it.

    I wish synths had an option to globally disable the built in reverbs, because usually every patch is swimming. The seduction is deceiving, because it sounds good when you are tweaking a solo sound on its own, but in a mix, a few swimming sounds with different reverbs starts to sound mushy and bad. Even if you want a bunch of reverb drenched sounds, it often sounds better to send them to a reverb/delay bus or two.

    For performing with keyboards, the built in reverbs are totally cool- the song's reverb setting is saved with the patch, you only have one thing to recall.

  • @Processaurus not to mention that a real musical performance does actually take place in a single room, not 20 :D so using sends for reverb makes even more sense.

    I have a "conspiracy theory" in this regard anyway. Notice how everybody keeps having problems with crackling and CPU overload and people think they need a supercomputer nowadays to finish an average production, whereas I made spaceship EDM back in 2003 with a single-core Pentium 4?

    Well I guess big part of the reason is that every patch has its internal reverb now, + many people have no idea what send effects even are (the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING in music production theory!), and so keep adding even more reverbs as Inserts... So yeah, they end up with 40 reverb plugins in a single project. No CPU is going to handle that ;) but I degrees (SwiftKey for "digress")

  • edited January 13

    I wanted to add something to topic but i see here everything !

    What @SevenSystems and @Processaurus said is probably one of most important lessons of whole AB forum. Should be set as announcemend, highlightet st top of thread list till the end of universe !!! Amen !!!

  • @dendy thanks, haha. Know what: I seriously thought about adding a warning dialog to the upcoming DAW when the user tries to add a reverb as an insert or module in the modular synth :D maybe with a link to a "music production essentials" tutorial ;)

  • I wish synths had an option to globally disable the built in reverbs, because usually every patch is swimming. The seduction is deceiving, because it sounds good when you are tweaking a solo sound on its own, but in a mix, a few swimming sounds with different reverbs starts to sound mushy and bad. Even if you want a bunch of reverb drenched sounds, it often sounds better to send them to a reverb/delay bus or two.

    That's what I've come to notice and what every synth needs.

  • edited January 14

    General rule of my thumb: Presets are made to demo. Turn off all the reverb and delay on a sound and see how they ... sound. Add delay back in if absolutely required. Then, later, add your own reverb and/or delay (in it's own bus if you can in whatever you're mixing in). One or two delays and one or two reverbs is often enough for the whole track when applied judiciously. Plus anything for special effect.

    Also, unless going for special effect, time the delay and reverbs to the tempo/BPM. Also, typically, you can scoop or cut the low end and even high end within a reverb (else use an equal before it in the chain).

  • @SevenSystems said:
    @Processaurus not to mention that a real musical performance does actually take place in a single room, not 20 :D so using sends for reverb makes even more sense.

    I have a "conspiracy theory" in this regard anyway. Notice how everybody keeps having problems with crackling and CPU overload and people think they need a supercomputer nowadays to finish an average production, whereas I made spaceship EDM back in 2003 with a single-core Pentium 4?

    Well I guess big part of the reason is that every patch has its internal reverb now, + many people have no idea what send effects even are (the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING in music production theory!), and so keep adding even more reverbs as Inserts... So yeah, they end up with 40 reverb plugins in a single project. No CPU is going to handle that ;) but I degrees (SwiftKey for "digress")

    On the subjext of natural, not special effect reverbs....While I am definitely not trying to say this should be done as a rule, I personally like a mix to simulate a virtual room. It is the way we are used to hearing real life things so I simulate it.

    This is easier to do with sends.
    Here is an excerpt from a guide I wrote for this studios blog

    Panning
    The farther something is from you, the smaller the difference is between any left or right signals. Image a room 20 meter long room. You are facing the drums. The low tom is on the left, hi hat on the right. If you are at the far end, the angles to your ears may only be a few degrees. If you move the drums to a meter in front of you, they may be at 45 degree angles to your ears, making it much more obvious which is to the left and right.

    So anything intended to be far away should be panned more to the center. Close items can be panned anywhere, those are just perceived as being to your left or right.

    Pre-Delay
    Imagine again you are in the back of a room, a singer is in the middle. When they sing, the sound of their voice will go straight to your head. That is the ‘dry’ signal. Their voice is also radiating in multiple directions, off the walls, the ceiling, and the bass player’s vinyl pants.

    The pre-delay parameter adjusts the delay between the dry signal hitting you and the wall or ceiling reflections. If the singer is farther back in the room, some of the reflections would hit you much closer in time to the dry signal. If a guitar amp intended to be at the far wall, you might use a pre-delay of near zero.

    If you are trying to match overdubs or a specific hypothetical room, note that three milliseconds is about 1 meter.

    Reverb Mix or Wet/Dry- Far away sources tend to have more reverb overall. There is more opportunity for more reflections on the way from the source to you. In some scenarios it can even mask the dry signal - remember the way it sounded when you locked your accordion player in the basement? Raise the reverb mix to move items farther away.

    Equalization or Damping- High frequencies get absorbed more easily than low frequencies. So things that are farther away will have a high frequency cut or added dampening. It is difficult to give a default starting point here. I may use anything from 1000Hz to 6000Hz, but that is as much subjective taste as near-far positioning as different surfaces absorb frequencies at different rates.

    At the other end of the frequency spectrum, you tend to have a tighter window of what is cut. A roll off up to 200Hz is not unusual.

    Decay Time or Room Size - Things will tend to be perceived as farther away if the virtual room is larger. This one is more obvious, but note that if you are trying to ‘glue’ your mix, having a long decay on some tracks and a short one on another will sound unnatural. A slight variation though just makes the room sound irregularly shaped. Remembering regarding pre-delay that three milliseconds is about a meter, note that big concert halls may have just 2 seconds of decay.

  • Their voice is also radiating in multiple directions, off the walls, the ceiling, and the bass player’s vinyl pants.

    😂😂😂

  • @Multicellular very well put. Re: Panning especially, about sources gradually collapsing to mono as they move farther away. Just an observation, some of my favorite sounding electronic albums have the sounds arranged like a corridor- sounds that a panned wide to one ear or the other sounding close, while sounds are being panned more to the center as they a placed farther away.

  • edited January 14

    if the fx is part of the sound leave it as insert or as part of the sound source
    if you want delay and reverb to glue your mix together use the aux sends

    (synth presets contain reverb and delay because its the most unnatural & weird sounding thing to not have it, so you can just dial up the sound and start playing it without further ado, a dry sine wave is the most unnatural sounding thing you can think of)

  • Thanks all learning a lot.

  • edited January 14

    if you cut the frequencys below150 to 200hz and above lets be radical 5 khz or 10khz on the reverb aux it won't muddy everything up and doesnt sound so effecty, but nice and warm instead ;)
    works wonders for aux delay too ;)

    in general just take an au and forget about iaa

  • Having learnt to use reverb with a hardware box (I had a total of one reverb available for the entire mix!) I have still usually use reverbs on sends rather than as inserts or as part of a synth patch.

    Partly it’s because it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks, but I find it so much easier to mix that way. You can go through your mixer channels and adjust the amount of reverb each channel sends to balance a mix very quickly. And you can turn the entire reverb bus up or down instantly too. So much easier than having to dive into each channel separately and it makes the mix sound more cohesive.

    There are times it’s best to have reverb separate and as part of an inset too, obviously, but the simpler you keep a mix the easier it is to get a good balance quickly.

  • @Multicellular said:

    @SevenSystems said:
    @Processaurus not to mention that a real musical performance does actually take place in a single room, not 20 :D so using sends for reverb makes even more sense.

    I have a "conspiracy theory" in this regard anyway. Notice how everybody keeps having problems with crackling and CPU overload and people think they need a supercomputer nowadays to finish an average production, whereas I made spaceship EDM back in 2003 with a single-core Pentium 4?

    Well I guess big part of the reason is that every patch has its internal reverb now, + many people have no idea what send effects even are (the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING in music production theory!), and so keep adding even more reverbs as Inserts... So yeah, they end up with 40 reverb plugins in a single project. No CPU is going to handle that ;) but I degrees (SwiftKey for "digress")

    On the subjext of natural, not special effect reverbs....While I am definitely not trying to say this should be done as a rule, I personally like a mix to simulate a virtual room. It is the way we are used to hearing real life things so I simulate it.

    This is easier to do with sends.
    Here is an excerpt from a guide I wrote for this studios blog

    Panning
    The farther something is from you, the smaller the difference is between any left or right signals. Image a room 20 meter long room. You are facing the drums. The low tom is on the left, hi hat on the right. If you are at the far end, the angles to your ears may only be a few degrees. If you move the drums to a meter in front of you, they may be at 45 degree angles to your ears, making it much more obvious which is to the left and right.

    So anything intended to be far away should be panned more to the center. Close items can be panned anywhere, those are just perceived as being to your left or right.

    Pre-Delay
    Imagine again you are in the back of a room, a singer is in the middle. When they sing, the sound of their voice will go straight to your head. That is the ‘dry’ signal. Their voice is also radiating in multiple directions, off the walls, the ceiling, and the bass player’s vinyl pants.

    The pre-delay parameter adjusts the delay between the dry signal hitting you and the wall or ceiling reflections. If the singer is farther back in the room, some of the reflections would hit you much closer in time to the dry signal. If a guitar amp intended to be at the far wall, you might use a pre-delay of near zero.

    If you are trying to match overdubs or a specific hypothetical room, note that three milliseconds is about 1 meter.

    Reverb Mix or Wet/Dry- Far away sources tend to have more reverb overall. There is more opportunity for more reflections on the way from the source to you. In some scenarios it can even mask the dry signal - remember the way it sounded when you locked your accordion player in the basement? Raise the reverb mix to move items farther away.

    Equalization or Damping- High frequencies get absorbed more easily than low frequencies. So things that are farther away will have a high frequency cut or added dampening. It is difficult to give a default starting point here. I may use anything from 1000Hz to 6000Hz, but that is as much subjective taste as near-far positioning as different surfaces absorb frequencies at different rates.

    At the other end of the frequency spectrum, you tend to have a tighter window of what is cut. A roll off up to 200Hz is not unusual.

    Decay Time or Room Size - Things will tend to be perceived as farther away if the virtual room is larger. This one is more obvious, but note that if you are trying to ‘glue’ your mix, having a long decay on some tracks and a short one on another will sound unnatural. A slight variation though just makes the room sound irregularly shaped. Remembering regarding pre-delay that three milliseconds is about a meter, note that big concert halls may have just 2 seconds of decay.

    panning and reverb in this context are a little tricky because most reverbs are not true stereo and or the aux send is mono ...
    so you most likely get a sound panned to a side with a reverb that just sits in the middle - but the reflections are supposed to come from the other side ...

  • @Max23 said:
    if you cut the frequencys below150 to 200hz and above lets be radical 5 khz or 10khz on the reverb aux it won't muddy everything up and doesnt sound so effecty, but nice and warm instead ;)
    works wonders for aux delay too ;)

    IMO that's the really crucial one: HPF and especially LPF the reverb to kill off those highs. That way the reverb sounds way more natural and less effect-y.

    Personally I rarely add reverb to drums, or if I do it's really subtle. Bass obviously should be dry, so I tend to save the reverb for the lead instrument or the vocal. Background pads might be swimming in their own reverb but I've never found that to be a problem.

  • edited January 14

    a little trick I picked up from dub guys is to reroute the aux returns to channels so you can pan the fx on the stereo stage if you like big fx and there is no room left for it ...

  • edited January 14

    CPU aside - EQ is the trick with Reverb - cut the bass and judiciously roll off the highs

    I quite like a touch of plate reverb on drums

    for my style of music (electronic, ambient) - realism isn't an issue but what you are after is control - so yeah I normally turn off all the effects in synths and apply my own - it should also be noted that making good reverbs is an engineering skill in it's own right - as a rough rule of thumb most of the time I'd rather have reverbs made by someone who is an expert than an algorithm shoved in to make a synth demo nicely (and absolutely no offence to synth makers that put reverbs in but I have no synths were I think - it's a shame I can't run some external audio through the reverb :-) )

  • Reverb and delay app design is also art - beyond (very) good engineering skills.
    Apple has put a nice starter set into the developement pack, but left a lot open to be done (if someone feels challenged).
    Good reverbs are natural CPU hogs for their permanent shifting of massive amounts of buffer data, so it would be useful if that part can be deactivated globally in an app's preferences.

  • @Max23 said:

    @Multicellular said:

    @SevenSystems said:
    @Processaurus not to mention that a real musical performance does actually take place in a single room, not 20 :D so using sends for reverb makes even more sense.

    I have a "conspiracy theory" in this regard anyway. Notice how everybody keeps having problems with crackling and CPU overload and people think they need a supercomputer nowadays to finish an average production, whereas I made spaceship EDM back in 2003 with a single-core Pentium 4?

    Well I guess big part of the reason is that every patch has its internal reverb now, + many people have no idea what send effects even are (the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING in music production theory!), and so keep adding even more reverbs as Inserts... So yeah, they end up with 40 reverb plugins in a single project. No CPU is going to handle that ;) but I degrees (SwiftKey for "digress")

    On the subjext of natural, not special effect reverbs....While I am definitely not trying to say this should be done as a rule, I personally like a mix to simulate a virtual room. It is the way we are used to hearing real life things so I simulate it.

    This is easier to do with sends.
    Here is an excerpt from a guide I wrote for this studios blog

    Panning
    The farther something is from you, the smaller the difference is between any left or right signals. Image a room 20 meter long room. You are facing the drums. The low tom is on the left, hi hat on the right. If you are at the far end, the angles to your ears may only be a few degrees. If you move the drums to a meter in front of you, they may be at 45 degree angles to your ears, making it much more obvious which is to the left and right.

    So anything intended to be far away should be panned more to the center. Close items can be panned anywhere, those are just perceived as being to your left or right.

    Pre-Delay
    Imagine again you are in the back of a room, a singer is in the middle. When they sing, the sound of their voice will go straight to your head. That is the ‘dry’ signal. Their voice is also radiating in multiple directions, off the walls, the ceiling, and the bass player’s vinyl pants.

    The pre-delay parameter adjusts the delay between the dry signal hitting you and the wall or ceiling reflections. If the singer is farther back in the room, some of the reflections would hit you much closer in time to the dry signal. If a guitar amp intended to be at the far wall, you might use a pre-delay of near zero.

    If you are trying to match overdubs or a specific hypothetical room, note that three milliseconds is about 1 meter.

    Reverb Mix or Wet/Dry- Far away sources tend to have more reverb overall. There is more opportunity for more reflections on the way from the source to you. In some scenarios it can even mask the dry signal - remember the way it sounded when you locked your accordion player in the basement? Raise the reverb mix to move items farther away.

    Equalization or Damping- High frequencies get absorbed more easily than low frequencies. So things that are farther away will have a high frequency cut or added dampening. It is difficult to give a default starting point here. I may use anything from 1000Hz to 6000Hz, but that is as much subjective taste as near-far positioning as different surfaces absorb frequencies at different rates.

    At the other end of the frequency spectrum, you tend to have a tighter window of what is cut. A roll off up to 200Hz is not unusual.

    Decay Time or Room Size - Things will tend to be perceived as farther away if the virtual room is larger. This one is more obvious, but note that if you are trying to ‘glue’ your mix, having a long decay on some tracks and a short one on another will sound unnatural. A slight variation though just makes the room sound irregularly shaped. Remembering regarding pre-delay that three milliseconds is about a meter, note that big concert halls may have just 2 seconds of decay.

    panning and reverb in this context are a little tricky because most reverbs are not true stereo and or the aux send is mono ...
    so you most likely get a sound panned to a side with a reverb that just sits in the middle - but the reflections are supposed to come from the other side ...

    Good points. Good things to check. My comments I should note are in the context, I dont mix on iOS. Ive never seen a mono send in a desktop DAW, but yes that would be an issue for the near verb. I often have almost no pan on the far anyway. A true stero reverb helps, but as long as things are panned, it just sounds like a very regular room, you still get a sense of depth.

  • edited January 14

    It depends on the synth actually. If some internal delays are crucial to the sound initially, I keep them and record them as they are in Auria. If the reverb or delay is not inherent to the sound preset itself because it doesn't give it a very specific tune or it doesn't sound like I would like it to, I just turn it off and rely on Pro-R or Dubstation instead. It's a case by case thing.

  • Some really good info and tips in this thread :)

    One way of of alleviating the CPU load is to use a lightweight reverb just for 'sighting' while building your track (eg built in reverb in Cubasis)...then freeze everything to audio without reverb to get back CPU usage from synths etc...then replace the lightweight reverb with the full heavyweight one you want to use and carry on with your mix. This is easily done if using a single reverb in a send slot.
    Some sounds may not work great like this however, the lack of 'quality' in the reverb may affect how you play a particular part.

  • @Telefunky said:
    Good reverbs are natural CPU hogs for their permanent shifting of massive amounts of buffer data, so it would be useful if that part can be deactivated globally in an app's preferences.

    And don't forget that for a natural sounding reverb, every delay line will also have its very own lowpass or lowshelf filter :) (I know all the pain, I've just designed an algorithmic reverb unit :))

  • edited January 14

    @SevenSystems said:
    @dendy thanks, haha. Know what: I seriously thought about adding a warning dialog to the upcoming DAW when the user tries to add a reverb as an insert or module in the modular synth :D maybe with a link to a "music production essentials" tutorial ;)

    dont. it will make power users angry.
    my first reaction would be: shut the f up and never show me this dialog again ;)
    it makes complete sense to use a reverb in modular anyway you want to
    see ivcs3 ... well ok lets do AM on the reverbed sound, this is quite different from am + reverb, why not add reverb to an osc before you filter it ect the whole point of modular is to leave the classic structures ... ;)

  • edited January 14

    @Max23 said:

    @SevenSystems said:
    @dendy thanks, haha. Know what: I seriously thought about adding a warning dialog to the upcoming DAW when the user tries to add a reverb as an insert or module in the modular synth :D maybe with a link to a "music production essentials" tutorial ;)

    dont. it will make power users angry.
    my first reaction would be: shut the f up and never show me this dialog again ;)
    it makes complete sense to use a reverb in modular anyway you want to
    see ivcs3 ... well ok lets do AM on the reverbed sound, this is quite different from am + reverb, why not add reverb to an osc before you filter it ect ... ;)

    Yeah I was not being totally serious on it, but it crossed my mind. Anyway, if I add it, I'll of course include that "Shut the f up" button to the dialog as you suggested ;)

  • @SevenSystems said:
    I'll of course include that "Shut the f up" button to the dialog as you suggested ;)

    This should be an international standard for ALL software :D

  • Good info here! A lot of theory.
    I wonder: If you listen to a classical concert, played in a large hall, how will that effect when you listen to it in living room with not much dampening. Does the recorded reverb get a bit "muddy"? Even so with recorded delay?
    I also wonder: There a many rockbands these days that has a "stadium" sound (U2, Keane etc.), and also Trance music. What if these bands play in a stadium. Would they use reverb?. The same for Trance music.

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