How Simply Effective Reverb and Delay Can Be


Let’s be honest with our selves.  The only two plugins that you’ll need to get a great mix are an EQ and a Compressor – That’s it.  But if you could take that mix that you did with just EQ and compression and then make it sound more dimensional and full of life, wouldn’t that be something you’d want to do?

This is exactly where your easy to use reverb and delay plugins come in.  So today, I;m going to show you just how powerful these two effects can be to bring your already great sounding mix to another level.

Reverb Can Be Like Instant Glue To Your Mix

I think that home studio owners all have one thing in common and that is that we are using overdubs, almost all the time.  What that means is that we aren’t recording the entire band in one shot.  We record the drums, then maybe the guitars and the bass after that.

Now to the music consumer, it just sounds like there was an entire band recording but in reality that’s not why happened (our secret – shhh)

One of the problems with recording this way is that each sound is dry and distinct on its own.  There is no microphone bleed or room that has entered the recordings.  It lacks a little something.

This is where our first use of reverb would come in.

Just by routing all of your tracks to a reverb plugin, you can put each instrument into the same room. Now, we definitely are not trying to overkill the reverb, just a tiny amount can give the illusion that all the tracks were recorded in the same room.

Caution: Less is ALWAYS MORE

A little goes a long way when using reverb, especially with digital reverb plugins. By using too much of this reverb glue techniquem you can really muddy up a mix that was once clean and clear.

Stop and think about it for a second. You’ve used EQ and compression, to work hard and open up your tracks. But by adding a lot more reverb we are going to ruin the hard work we put in by introducing more mud and washiness.

One way to help keep you out of trouble is to push the reverb up until you her too much of it and then dial it back until its as if you want more.  That’s usually a good place for the reverb.

Delays, Delays, Delays

It really is difficult to write about delays and reverbs because everyone has different tastes.  People are going to add in as much or as little as they want and there isn’t really a general rule of thumb.

One that that I really like about delays is that you can add a really unique texture to a guitar or vocal by adding in a long feedback.  It really does give you something extra that you just can’t get anywhere else.

A lot of what goes into mixing is taking the listener on a journey that they have never been on before.  By adding in a long delay, you can effectively create a really nice and pleasing listening experience.

My favorite delay trick is to send the vocal to an aux channel with a delay unit on it.  Then roll off some of the high end so that the delay sounds a bit more muffled and distant.  This way it doesn’t interfere with the lead vocal.

Delay Can and Will Mess With Your Stereo Field

A word of warning with delays, too much delay can kill your sense of stereo separation and panning, just like too much reverb can kill all your hard work with EQ,

That fact is even more true when you put the delay on things that aren’t panned in mono. Your are now hearing the hard panned sound as well as the ping pong delayed echo.

Just try to keep that in mind.  Have fun with the delays, just don’t go crazy.

How Do You Use Effects?

So if you aren’t too busy already mixing your music.  Tell me below how you are using effects. I want to hear about it.