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Advanced reverb techniques for vocals

It can be difficult to get the vocals to sit nice and present in the mix and still have enough reverb on them.

Here’s some advanced tips that will help you achieve a clearer, more even reverb on your vocal tracks.

De-ess the reverb send

The problem with adding reverb to a vocal track is that vocals can often introduce hiss or swoosh noises that can clutter things up. One way to deal with this is to not only de-ess the vocal but to ‘re-de-ess’ the vocal on the way in to the reverb.

When using this technique, you don’t need to worry about overdoing it on the de-esser so much. You’re not going to give your singer a lisp, it’s just going to tame some of the harsher transients on the way into the reverb, resulting in a less muddied mix.

EQ the reverb send and return

Sending a track to an EQ on the way in to – and out of – the reverb is another way ensure that there’s a uniformity to the reverb tail. This means that your reverb can be present without being overpowering or generating distracting peaks.

EQ on the reverb send

Try removing anything that’s particularly weighty but don’t go overboard.

If you make the signal too clean on the way in to the reverb, you’ll start to loose the energy in the track which will take away from the vocalists performance.

EQ on the reverb return

On the return you want to attenuate the fundamentals and the harmonic of the vocal.

The fundaments will typically be somewhere around 150-200Hz, with the harmonic somewhere around 300Hz. To work out exactly which frequencies you’re after, use a spectrum analyzer – most EQ’s will have one built-in. If not, you can use a spectrum analyzer plugin like Voxengo Span which is free and works on both Mac and Windows.

Reverb choice

Of course choosing a clear or clean reverb in the first place is recommended. You can also reduce the amount of diffusion from the early reflections; which produces a smoother, clearer reverb.

Signal chain

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