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Recording Tip Tuesday: Are you EQing your Reverb?

Updated: Feb 9

If you are confused by the question, "Are you EQing your reverb?" then I should first ask you, are you still putting a reverb plug-in on every channel? When I first started doing my own productions I didn't know there was any other way to do it. Want the guitar to sound really spacey? Slap a reverb on there! Does that vocal feel too dry? Slap a reverb on there! Running out of CPU? Slap a... wait. Besides just running out of processing power, there are some strictly sound based reasons to route your tracks to a reverb on a separate track. I use reaper but it is pretty simple in any DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). First you create a new track and SLAP A REVERB ON THERE! Set it to 100% wet if your reverb of choice has a wet/dry knob. Create a send from the track you want to verb-out to the dedicated reverb track. You should now have your original track and a separate track with just the reverb that you can manipulate individually. So the reverb and the original audio are separated. What now??? A simple concept that we need to understand here is that low frequencies (long waves) need to be focused. If a bass frequency gets "mooshed" or duplicated and shifted in time, parts of the wave that are "up" will cancel parts that are "down" leaving you with just a muddled overtone soup that will just confuse any speaker that it encounters. If you send a lot of low end frequencies into your reverb it will make a weird, unfocused, rumbling, muddy mess that will take power away from any direct sounds in the lows. If you are still inserting reverbs on each individual track, it can be very hard to take care of this. If you have your reverb set up as a separate track it is really easy! I sometimes put the EQ before the reverb plugin, sometimes after, and sometimes before and after. If your EQ plugin has a basic spectrum analyzer built in, it is very easy to visually see how much low end garbage is in the reverb signal. Clean that $#!t up!! AKA filter out the lows with a simple high pass filter. Try it before and after and see what sounds best in your song. I usually start around 100 Hz and tweak it from there. Other tricks: Try rolling off some of the high end in the reverb if you don't want to draw attention to the wet signal or try putting a De-esser before it if you are hearing too much of the sibilants in the verb. I hope this helps! Leave a comment if you have any questions or if you want help with a specific audio problem! Happy recording, Peter Bull