If you work in audio or sound engineering you probably use reverb in your processes.
Reverb is short for the reverberation effect which is a commonly used effect in audio production.
So, will it make you sound better?
Well this depends on a number of things and this post will discuss this and give you some insight into this topic because I’m often times asked this by singers.
It’s important to have a working understanding of such topics so you know how to get our vocals to sound good.
With that said, Does reverb make you sound better?
Used the right way, reverb can be a great tool that can make your vocals sound better. Used wrongly, however, reverb can cause chaos in your mix.
Therefore, you have to strike the right balance and know how to use reverb.
I’m going to walk you through some things that you can do when applying reverb to your vocals.
A lot of posts that you’ll find online will give you enough Intel about the benefits of reverb but I want to give you my perspective on how exactly reverb can be beneficial to your mix and its elements.
Therefore, the following steps are how I go about using reverb.
In explaining this process I’m going to use a hypothetical example of a vocal and how we are going to go about using reverb on it.
Before you capture and record your vocals, you have to ensure that you treat your recording booth or room adequately.
Usually acoustic material like sound absorbers have to be used on your walls.
Ensure that you record in the right room so you get a good sounding vocal even before applying any effects like reverb.
When it’s time to record, ensure that your singer is atleast 2 to 3 feet away from the microphone.
The microphone has to be a condenser microphone.
Remember that the key to great sound vocals is good recording. Don’t bank everything on mixing.
Editing & cleaning
Once you have your recording done, it’s now time to edit your takes.
Choose the best takes and delete what you don’t need. Merge any audio clips that need to be merged and balance up the volume levels.
After this, use a cleaning tool to remove any unwanted noise from your recording.
There are a number of noise reduction tools out there that can help you deal with this.
Now you have clean vocals after editing and cleaning. So you can then begin to apply EQ.
Get rid of any unnecessary low end frequencies and carry out any boosts or cuts after doing a thorough frequency sweep.
This will give you enough room to carry out other processes.
Now that you have your EQ in place, you can then add compression to take care of the dynamic range in the vocals.
Don’t ever compress, use a light compressor that can give you good dynamic range and balance in the vocal.
Now that you’ve done and applied some compression to your vocals.
You can then go ahead and get rid of any harsh sibilance.
A de-esser is perfect for this.
Use a de-esser that doesn’t completely destroy the sharpness of your vocals.
Delay is used by many audio engineers to give more width to a vocal.
You don’t always have to use it but I find that it’s essential in almost any mix.
So you should apply some delay to make your vocals a little more edgy.
Good delay will complement reverb in good way.
Finally, you can get to reverb.
You may be wondering why I just laid out the whole process of dealing vocals just to discuss reverb.
I’ve done this to specifically show you how you can achieve good results while using reverb.
An effect won’t save badly recorded and mixed vocals, therefore your aim should be to get good recordings and an overall good mix so you don’t run into issues.
Reverb can make vocals sound great, If the vocals already sound good on their own.
Relying on reverb to fix bad vocals won’t do a lot for you.
With that said, it’s also important to know the different types of reverbs and know what they do.
For example, room reverb emulates a small room with reverberation. Hall or concert reverb emulates what it would sound like to be in a hall or concert.
Therefore, its up to you to decide which reverb type will work best for you.
Reverb can be a great tool in certain live performances but only in venues that don’t already have natural reverberation.
In venues with natural reverberation, using more reverb will just push your vocals back, herefore making it difficult for them to be clearly heard especially by people in the back.
All in all reverb is great plugin if you use it wisely.
It can help give your mix clarity and width.