Thursday, April 26, 2007

Drewcifer’s Recording 101 Primer

Spring Mixing Tip: Pre-delaying the Reverb

You don’t hear a lot of heavy or obvious reverb on modern pop recordings. The vocals tend to be very up-front and dry. But are they really dry? Is it possible to add depth and dimensionality to vocals using reverb that is extremely subtle? Absolutely! It’s done all the time. One way to accomplish this is to pre-delay the ‘verb. That’s why that “pre-delay” parameter is a feature on most modern reverbs, be they plug-ins or outboard. It wasn’t always so easy: Back in the days of the analog pioneers, the mixing guy would send the vocal-signal through a delay unit, usually a tape delay, which was daisy-chained in-front of a plate reverb. This delayed the onset of the reverb by 50ms to 100ms or more. The gap between the dry vocal and the reverb makes the vocal stand forward more, sound “drier”, and not be “swamped” by the ‘verb. In the end result, the reverb may not be obvious at all, but if it was removed you’d definitely notice something was missing.

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