What does mean "set the reverb of the drums on the track tempo"?

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Nuri
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What does mean "set the reverb of the drums on the track tempo"?

Postby Nuri » Tue Nov 06, 2018 3:35 pm

In a lot of tutorials about mixing/producing, I often read something like:
"set the reverb of the drums on the track tempo"

:| :roll:

Ok... Nice! But.. How :?:

What does the author means in term of plugin parameters?

Reverb plugins have almost always the same parameters (I understand much of them):
predelay, decay time, size, eq, diffusion, wet/dry ratio...

As an example, if my tempo track is 84bpm, how do I have to set these parameters so that the reverb of the drums is literally "set on the track tempo"?

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sysrqer
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Re: What does mean "set the reverb of the drums on the track tempo"?

Postby sysrqer » Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:40 pm

Look for something like this http://nickfever.com/music/delay-calculator
I was going to show you how to work it out but my numbers came out differently to the calculator so I won't bother :D

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Re: What does mean "set the reverb of the drums on the track tempo"?

Postby rghvdberg » Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:54 pm

What I do is set the reverb timed to the snare.
The reverb decays just before the next snare hit.
I usually program my snares on beat 2 and 4 :lol:

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AlexTheBassist
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Re: What does mean "set the reverb of the drums on the track tempo"?

Postby AlexTheBassist » Tue Nov 06, 2018 6:31 pm

Nuri wrote:"set the reverb of the drums on the track tempo"

Isn't that quite obvious? You need to adjust predelay and decay time according to… (bang!) track tempo, so the reverb tail doesn't clutter things up.
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Death
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Re: What does mean "set the reverb of the drums on the track tempo"?

Postby Death » Tue Nov 06, 2018 10:43 pm

I mostly only do this with delays with their tempo sync options. With reverb I just set it up by feel. Pre-delay is something I use to get drums to sound upfront and punchy on their attack rather than distant sounding, but then still have the benefit of the reverb tail afterwards. Ususally I'll use a pre-delay of around 10-20ms for that.

I don't think this stuff you mention is some kind of standard practice that you should normally do though. It sounds like something you'd do if you want the music to sound really tight with very little ambient wash in the background. In this case, I would put a gate on the reverb so that it cuts off just before each drum hit or something like that. But it's still something that would be done by ear.

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AlexTheBassist
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Re: What does mean "set the reverb of the drums on the track tempo"?

Postby AlexTheBassist » Wed Nov 07, 2018 2:22 am

Death wrote:With reverb I just set it up by feel.

Check your tail length after you set it up and get surprised. If you're doing it right by ear, it will be near equal to a whole or a half note.
Death wrote:Pre-delay is something I use to get drums to sound upfront and punchy on their attack rather than distant sounding, but then still have the benefit of the reverb tail afterwards.

Pre-delay is a must on any source unless you're tweaking an ambience bus or want to create a certain presence effect (more suitable for movie soundrack mixing and post production). Early reflections often “blur” the overall sound of instrument too much, resulting in transient distortion and “far away” perception of processed sound. This isn't always desired.
Death wrote:I don't think this stuff you mention is some kind of standard practice that you should normally do though. It sounds like something you'd do if you want the music to sound really tight with very little ambient wash in the background. In this case, I would put a gate on the reverb so that it cuts off just before each drum hit or something like that. But it's still something that would be done by ear.

Well, it is a standard practice in professional production. You don't need to shrink reverb exactly to shortest note duration, it just needs to be approximately in time with the song to avoid certain frequency buildups in, say, 16th note passages, fast arpeggios and so on. So, the best practice is to limit audible (not always the actual!) reverb tail to the length of a whole or half note. In tempos which are described in classical music theory as allegro, presto, and prestissimo, it can be even a brevis (2/1) long. The best way to check if reverb fits the tempo is to make a temporary pause for a whole bar somewhere and listen if reverb tail lasts audibly to the next one. If it does, you need to either tweak dry/wet setting (well, actually send level to a reverb bus, if you're doing serious production) or shorten the tail.
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Nuri
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Re: What does mean "set the reverb of the drums on the track tempo"?

Postby Nuri » Wed Nov 07, 2018 8:35 am

@ sysrqer
thanks for the link http://nickfever.com/music/delay-calculator.
It was the most useful answer here :D .

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Re: What does mean "set the reverb of the drums on the track tempo"?

Postby sadko4u » Wed Nov 07, 2018 6:30 pm

You also may not use this rule but apply sidechain compression to the reverb signal so when drums are hit, reverb tail becomes quieter and does not conflict with drums. I think it is a much better technique that allows to reach better spacial processing.
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sysrqer
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Re: What does mean "set the reverb of the drums on the track tempo"?

Postby sysrqer » Wed Nov 07, 2018 7:42 pm

sadko4u wrote:You also may not use this rule but apply sidechain compression to the reverb signal so when drums are hit, reverb tail becomes quieter and does not conflict with drums. I think it is a much better technique that allows to reach better spacial processing.

I'm not sure I would say it's better, but used in conjunction with well judged decay/predelay times it certainly increases the choices. You might still want a reverb to last for 2 bars and be dead before the next one starts despite whatever sidechaining needs it has. It's not always about the drum rhythms either, two interacting lead synth parts don't necessarily need clarity in relation to the drums but perhaps each other. Too long decay times might make them blur in to each other but sidechaining a kick or snare won't necessarily help much. I know you could still use sidechaining here, sidechaining each synth's dry to the other's reverb would be very interesting but unnecessary for the example case.

Setting the delay to the bpm can be really handy if you're doing some creative stuff like bouncing reverb on a reversed track and then reversing that bounce, allows you to dial it in pretty quickly.

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Re: What does mean "set the reverb of the drums on the track tempo"?

Postby milk » Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:46 pm

anyone know of any reverbs that let one either 'tap' the reverb length in or even that sync with host tempo?
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Re: What does mean "set the reverb of the drums on the track tempo"?

Postby rghvdberg » Thu Nov 08, 2018 9:08 am

milk wrote:anyone know of any reverbs that let one either 'tap' the reverb length in or even that sync with host tempo?

That's an excellent idea,don't know any though.

In dragonfly-reverb there's a response graph that shows the tail in seconds.
The time axis is scaled logarithmically so making that in beats/bars would be tricky I guess.
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Re: What does mean "set the reverb of the drums on the track tempo"?

Postby Michael Willis » Thu Nov 08, 2018 3:58 pm

rghvdberg wrote:In dragonfly-reverb there's a response graph that shows the tail in seconds.

Dragonfly reverb has an outstanding feature request to make a new dial that allows control of the tail decay time independent of the room size. My biggest hangup on that is rearranging the user interface to accommodate yet-another-dial. Also I'm generally trying to avoid feature creep.

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Re: What does mean "set the reverb of the drums on the track tempo"?

Postby Death » Fri Nov 09, 2018 12:03 am

@AlexTheBassist Well if you're playing a fast sequence with lots of short notes then it's really important to get things tight if you don't want a messy sound. I know what you're saying. I get pretty technical about some stuff with my mixing sometimes. But I've been through a phase of a few years where I got really obsessed about all that stuff. I now just use what I've learned to my advantage as a tool for solving technical problems, but mostly just mix by what feels good. I'm really liking my results better since doing this. Music is about feel after all! But I understand, sometimes you need to get more technical, especially if it's your job as an audio engineer.

And yeh, my reverb cut offs probably do line up with the tempo. That said, my style of reverb is a bit washy, blurry and atmospheric to serve more as an ambient texture, more or less noticeable depending on the song. But when it comes to drums, I like it to be a lot tighter for the most part. Although, I'm a fan of putting quite long reverbs on snares with a lot of top end, 80s style. I usually don't care if they overlap :)

sadko4u wrote:You also may not use this rule but apply sidechain compression to the reverb signal so when drums are hit, reverb tail becomes quieter and does not conflict with drums. I think it is a much better technique that allows to reach better spacial processing.


I do stuff like that sometimes so that I get a similar effect as setting a bass patch on a synth to monophonic. It lets you do whatever you like with the reverb while removing some clutter momentarily when it matters most. Another cool trick I learned was to take the drum reverb from a send (which can already have its own compression), then route it into the drum bus for more compression. Gets the reverb grooving really nice sometimes!


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