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Topic: Recommended Reverb Settings

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  1. #1

    Recommended Reverb Settings

    I am currently in the process of creating some full symphonic work. I am following the same structure as the YS 95 Symphony did. They had five movements. I did something similar a few years back, but it was never mastered or orchestrated properly. This is going to be the biggest project of mine in my composing history. I will be using full dynamics and proper humanization techniques.

    The question is... Reverb. I am thinking of using a large medieval cathedral IR which was captured in the UK. Does anyone have any recommendations on the proper settings for reverbs that sound the most natural, should I even be using a different type of space. I find that when I listen other people's demos with orchestrated music they sound quite different than mine in terms of the atmophere in which the sound is played.

    I am trying to get this kind of a sound (2:39 and 3:52 are my favorite parts in this, I find they leave a real haunting experience like memories coming back to the present kind of a feel):



    Regards,

    Richard

  2. #2

    Re: Recommended Reverb Settings

    Hi, Richard - When an Impulse Response is a good one, nice and clean, the goal of having a natural sound is almost entirely already done for you. That's the advantage of using the sound of real spaces.

    A few general things - Roll the bass off with your plug-in's EQ. Bass frequencies pile up quickly in recordings even without reverb. Having those low frequencies piling up and bouncing around in a reverb can get ugly pretty fast.

    And so, in keeping with that, also use less reverb on all your low instruments.

    The basics of setting up DAW software for mixing and using a reverb I think you know by now. All audio tracks have Sends going to your bus with reverb, or however many reverb buses you're wanting to use, with different tracks going to different reverbs.

    Keep the plug-in on the bus 100% wet, and then rely on your Sends to send varying amounts, less for instruments meant to be closer, more for those meant to be farther away.

    Be sure your FX buses are all going into your master, not directly to your sound card/interface.

    The cathedral IR you want to use may be fine - they can get an awfully huge sound, bigger than what's on the video, but it may work. If your IR plug-in has a control for changing the end of the reverb, the tail, you may find the need to shorten that to avoid a confusion of bouncing reverb sound.

    Those places in the vid you pointed out seem to be with the same reverb, but the instruments chosen for those transitions are themselves helping create that spacey sound. There could be an echo on the piano as well as reverb.

    Don't forget that you don't necessarily have to keep your reverb level the same throughout. Automate the fader on your reverb bus, maybe pulling it back during the busiest parts of the music to help keep them more clear. And for an effect, you can automate the fader to swoop up some at times, giving a reverberant blooming effect.

    Trial and error - lots of testing, and constantly asking yourself if it's really sounding at least close to what you want.

    And of course, feel free to run tests by us here in General Discussion as you go.

    Randy

  3. #3

    Re: Recommended Reverb Settings

    Thanks Randy. My old setup until now was just one send to the bus with the reverb and then into the master bus. I didn't think to use the sends... Thanks for sharing the info about the bass and low instruments. I also send them to the reverb as normal.

    One thing I forgot to mention is that I am using a Garritan Instant Orchestra for all of this. I forgot that the new version of GIO has the convulsion reverb. This will be handy for the built in aria mixer when handling sends.

    I know this project will probably take quite a while to complete. I have about 15 minutes already done. I am just humanizing and concentrating on the dynamics of what I have done now. I figure I'll have about 30-45 minutes of score once I am done.

    I am using the European Cathedral impulse response in the aria engine. I adjusted the parameters as you described further instruments more reverb and closer ones less. What do you think so far? This is the main theme and transitions into the the intro of the next theme.

    NOTE: The panning of sound gets messed up with FB videos it might not sound properly panned.



    Regards,

    Richard

  4. #4

    Re: Recommended Reverb Settings

    Hello again, Richard

    Working backwards through your new post:

    --The music on the video demo sounds great to me! With the way the music for your project is in broad strokes, with clean, uncluttered arrangements that stress mood above all, I think if you just keep producing the work as you have it here, then you'll end up with a completed project to be very happy with and proud of.

    In other words, I don't think you need to fret about doing more with reverb than you're already doing. No need to complicate the project with trying new ways of working - Just proceed as you're currently doing, since the results are sounding so nice.

    Side note: - Panning can't change simply from uploading to Facebook or anywhere, unless there's a site that changes a stereo file to a mono one. - So, if things are sounding different to you at FB than you expected, it has to be in your 2-track master.

    Now - keeping in mind what I said above, that I don't think you need to consume time worrying more about your reverb, I still want to try to help straighten some confusions out:

    Quote Originally Posted by sururick View Post
    Thanks Randy. My old setup until now was just one send to the bus with the reverb and then into the master bus. I didn't think to use the sends... Thanks for sharing the info about the bass and low instruments. I also send them to the reverb as normal.

    One thing I forgot to mention is that I am using a Garritan Instant Orchestra for all of this. I forgot that the new version of GIO has the convulsion reverb. This will be handy for the built in aria mixer when handling sends.

    I know this project will probably take quite a while to complete. I have about 15 minutes already done. I am just humanizing and concentrating on the dynamics of what I have done now. I figure I'll have about 30-45 minutes of score once I am done.

    I am using the European Cathedral impulse response in the aria engine. I adjusted the parameters as you described further instruments more reverb and closer ones less...
    This makes it sound like you're using reverb both in ARIA and in your recording program - I think you use Sonar? - If so, you only want to use reverb once.

    Side note
    - The kind of reverb that uses recorded Impulse Responses is "Convolution"--not "Convulsion"--hehe. Well, if one over-uses reverb, then it Can cause convulsions in the listeners! 8-)

    OK, so you're using the Cathedral reverb in ARIA, and using varying amounts for each instrument. That's a fine way to work. With a project of relative simplicity like this, I'd say just stay with that approach and don't mess with extra steps in Sonar.

    There have been multiple posts recently about the more complicated process of bouncing to audio tracks before mixing. That's the way I've worked for years now, so it's my preference. I work with completely dry tracks, and then use Sonar's mixer to add reverb and automation to the tracks. But from the recent Forum posts on the topic, I can see that some people trying this method of mixing with audio instead of MIDI are having quite a few problems - misunderstanding the routing of signals, getting bounces that are too low in volume, not understanding the automation process etc-- I think I need to stop suggesting people try that way of working. A lot of people go straight from MIDI to final mix down without bouncing to audio, pros on a schedule do it all the time. There's nothing wrong with it. I just have a strong personal preference, because I know I do more polished work working with audio. BUT - in case you've been forcing yourself to bounce and mix - my suggestion is to keep it simpler for yourself. Focus on the music. Why complicate things unnecessarily?

    I don't understand your description "...one send to the bus with the reverb..." One Send from where-? And as I pointed out above, if you're using an ARIA reverb as you described, you shouldn't be adding yet more reverb in your DAW software - And you said you didn't think of using Sends - Well, I was talking about Sends on audio tracks in Sonar's Console View (mixer)--but since you're already using the reverb in ARIA - you don't need any of that, as I've said.--

    In your first post on this thread you said:

    Quote Originally Posted by sururick View Post
    ...I find that when I listen other people's demos with orchestrated music they sound quite different than mine in terms of the atmosphere in which the sound is played...
    What do you mean exactly? In what way are your recordings sounding different to you from other people's?

    Randy

  5. #5

    Re: Recommended Reverb Settings

    Can you give us an example of someones 'atmosphere' they've created that you are looking for? If it's someone here they perhaps could directly tell you what they are doing.

    However, I completely agree with Randy in that there is nothing wrong or 'off' with your reverb set up results. I like what I hear.

    It is though, best to use the sends, and I personally create 4 reverb instances to use for each family (if doing orchestral) - but that is using a separate reverb only plugin, and not the one built in aria.

    You could do something similar if you wanted by having the instrument families on 4 different aria instances, and tweak the reverb in each one - or perhaps just using the sends and tweaking those amounts for the instruments is enough - I think it would be.
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  6. #6

    Re: Recommended Reverb Settings

    @Randy:

    Thanks for the feedback,

    What I meant with the panning is FB videos flip the channels around. What should be heard on the right is heard on the left and what is heard on left is heard on the right. When I post the same video on youtube it comes out right.

    I was using sonar but I currently got that 20$ deal and am using music creator 6 to get myself used to the new skylight interface so when I upgrade it won't be too much of a hassle. I noticed they changed a lot with how piano roll midi roll editing works. I actually like the older sonar better. However, Skylight has some really great features which I like too.

    Sorry for the confusion. Originally I had it setup so that everything goes to the reverb bus which then goes to the master bus. The reverb settings were not set to 100%. No I am only using the Aria convolution reverb -- thanks for clearing that HAHAHAH, my eyes see something and my mind just auto-assumes convulsion LOL!

    What I meant with atmosphere of sound is that I hear other works including the YS video and the video the harry potter video Robert shared the other day. I find my compositions sound different than those. The harry potter video sounded more like a crisp but classical choir and the YS video is kind of dreamy-like (which is what I am trying to go for). Hince, the reason why I brought up the question about reverb. I am not sure how they achieved those spaces: YS was live, but the Harry Potter video was made with GIO and GPO.

    Thanks for the feedback on the demo.

    @Plowking:
    Thanks for listening! As mentioned above, the YS video has a specific atmosphere which sounds different than my compositions but it's what I want for this project. Thanks for the tips, I am definitely sticking with the sends as compared to my usual single reverb and sending all instruments to one bus with the reverb.

    Thanks again guys for the feedback and help,

    Richard John S

  7. #7

    Re: Recommended Reverb Settings

    Richard, I'm probably being dense, but I'm still not following you.

    "...I am definitely sticking with the sends as compared to my usual single reverb and sending all instruments to one bus with the reverb..."

    But earlier in this same post you said, "...
    I am only using the Aria convolution reverb..."

    Still sounds like you're using reverb in both ARIA and in Sonar.


    Randy

  8. #8

    Re: Recommended Reverb Settings

    LOL, sorry, it's my fault, I am bad at explaining things. I am only using the Aria reverb and there is no reverb on the bus any longer. Also, I have been doing some more passages tonight, I can see why GPO will be a good tool for me in this project. I am going to need solo instruments for some of the main melodies and I want to keep everything with the ARIA engine for this project (it's my favorite interface and the controls are awesome). So, I am definitely going to have to invest in GPO down the road for this.

    EDIT: I think I tackled my bad explaining. I am using the sends in the Aria mixer for the reverb.

    Quote Originally Posted by rbowser- View Post
    Richard, I'm probably being dense, but I'm still not following you.

    "...I am definitely sticking with the sends as compared to my usual single reverb and sending all instruments to one bus with the reverb..."

    But earlier in this same post you said, "...
    I am only using the Aria convolution reverb..."

    Still sounds like you're using reverb in both ARIA and in Sonar.


    Randy

  9. #9

    Re: Recommended Reverb Settings

    Quote Originally Posted by sururick View Post
    ...EDIT: I think I tackled my bad explaining. I am using the sends in the Aria mixer for the reverb.
    That's right, Richard. Awhile after writing my last question I understood that you must have meant you're using the Sends in ARIA, not in Sonar. I think that's fine, simplifies things for your big project, but clearly, from the example you posted, it won't be a compromise for you.

    I think actually you might not have used Sends in Sonar before. What you said in post #3 is more clear to me now - you said, "...My old setup until now was just one send to the bus with the reverb and then into the master bus. I didn't think to use the sends..." And maybe you didn't mean that literally, but in the channel strips on the left in Sonar, you can activate Sends on each audio track to send off some signal, just like the Sends in ARIA. That's the purpose of the reverb bus, to accept differing amounts of signal from the tracks. In ARIA, that signal routing is simpler without the bus.

    --Ah, I think I understand something now. When you said you were using "just one send"--it's because you've only had a single track coming out of ARIA - is that it? So you were using the single Send to add reverb to the entire project. If so, that's not so good.

    For future reference, and it could help you in your current project if you want to do more sound processing with Sonar - you're not stuck with just one audio track coming out of Sonar. Not sure you know that? There are sixteen tracks available - one for each instrument you have loaded in an instance of Sonar. In the slot for each instrument in ARIA, when you click "1/2," you can assign an instrument to come out of any of the sixteen stereo channels you want, 1/2 through 31/32. Left and right for each channel are numbered, that's why they're called 1/2, 2/4 etc.

    You have to have the same number of audio tracks inserted in Sonar which are connected to those channels coming out of ARIA. When you first insert ARIA, you can ask for "all audio outs" - and the sixteen tracks will be inserted for you. If you add them later, you just have to direct the signal properly in the Track Inspector.

    You may have already understood all that, but it occurred to me that some vagueness in this thread could have been due to not knowing about the sixteen tracks, so wanted to outline it for you here.

    So, even though you'll be doing your reverb processing in ARIA, you may have need for doing a more complex mix by working with the sixteen separate tracks in Sonar, if you want echo on some tracks, compression, any special processing you'd like to do to just one instrument.

    Randy

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