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How to Use Reverbs Part 1 of 3: Room/Early Reflections

What’s up, guys? Welcome to another video here at MixNotes.

In this one, I thought I’d do a little three part series on reverbs.

In this video, we’ll cover early reflections/room sounds, and then we’ll do one on halls, then we’ll do another one on plates and chambers.

Let’s get into it. I’ve got a vocal here. It’s dry as could be.


It’s recorded in a living room. So there’s a little bit of room sound in there, but I can still illustrate my point with this. I’m going to try to at least.

Basically, with a room sound or early reflections, they’re handy when you’ve close mic’d things like vocals, where the microphone is like, two inches from the face, or really close, or like, an upright bass, or saxophone, or a lot of percussive stuff, like tambourines. Those samples are usually really, really dry, and they’re really, really up front, really really close, and you kind of just want to push them back.

Not a ton, you don’t want to stick them in a cave, but you just want to kind of set them back about a foot from your face or so. Room sounds are great for that, because you get that slapback off the wall, and that’s sort of what you’re doing.

So let’s listen to this vocal, and I’ve got D-verb up. This is a stock plug-in with Pro Tools. Ambient setting, small, I’m not going to go too into the settings, this is just kind of a brief get started guide. We’ll play it with and without.

So here’s without.

[vocals, dry]

Alright, so here’s with it.

[vocals, with D-verb]


Now turn it on and off, and listen to the front to back relationship, how the sound changes as far as how far forward it becomes when we mute it — mute the effect, sorry.

[vocals, with and without D-verb]

To me, rooms are one of those things that you feel more than you hear. I mean, you can obviously hear it, it’s a soloed vocal right here, but if you just played a track with this on it, you’re not really going to be able to pick it out, so to speak, but if you were to mute the effect, things are going to change, and it’s going to feel very demo-y and very dry, and you can sort of feel that spatial shift.

So with that said, let’s listen to a couple other different reverb plug-ins. So that was D-verb. R-Verb. This is a room setting. So a little different sound. Here we go.

[vocals with R-Verb]

So there you go. That’s R-Verb. Renaissance collection from Waves.

Here’s Lexicon. I’ve got a small live room type of situation here. The same thing with this one.

[vocals with Lexicon]

A little more obvious. As you can tell, they all sort of have their own sound.

I will give you a couple extra tips here with reverbs in general. Most of these have some sort of EQing — EQ section on them. I usually like to cut out a lot of the lows, because if you send kick drums, upright bass, things like that to them, you can get a lot of like, low end rumbly stuff that starts building up.

Top end stuff as well, if you notice, we’ve got a high filter cut and a low pass filter on here. You don’t want to hear these things, and the top end is usually where you’ll hear the reverb. Especially with these, you just kind of want to feel them.

So if you roll some of that out, it’ll sort of help things sound a little bit more natural and not as processed and synthetic or artificial, or however you want to describe it.

But anyways, that’s my rant on room sounds and early reflections. In the next video, we’ll cover creating space with halls. Like the video if you like it, subscribe, check us out on Facebook, hit me up on Twitter, all of that stuff. Go check out the website for everything else we’ve ever done, and we’ll see you in the next video!




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