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How to Use Vintage Reverbs and Delays on Vocals in iZotope Nectar

Hello, and welcome back. I’d like to talk this time about using reverb and delay on a vocal, and that’s one thing that seems really simple to do, but often times, people make mistakes, and they make it sound really washy, and sometimes really muddy, and yes, when used well, reverbs and delays can really help to make a vocal sound really interesting.

So the first thing I want to talk about is reverb, and I want to show you one of my favorite tricks, and that is this, and I’m just going to put some reverb on this voice to show you for a second.

[vocals with reverb]

Now, you might hear that sounds quite big, and there’s a lot of reverb on there at the moment, and what you normally have and what a lot of people tend to do is they get a reverb, and they make it quite long. If it’s a vocal reverb, they make it 1.2 or 3 seconds on the reverb. 2.10 seconds.

[vocals with reverb]

The problem is once that’s on a vocal, it’s quite common to do that, and of course, we could take the wet/dry mix down…

[vocals with reverb, adjusting wet mix]

It sounds nice and big, but the problem is, when you put it in a track, it starts to get very washy, so if we just come to this track again, just come to this point here…


So I’m going to show you one of my tricks that I do, and that is this.

Instead of having a long decay time, I took the decay time to about one second, 1.2 seconds, then I increased the pre-delay. Quite long as well. What that does, it gives the effect of the reverb still being big, but it doesn’t hang around.

Let me play it for you now from here.


And it is stopping straight away.

[vocals with reverb]

But it sounds really big. I’m trying to make this sound nice and vintage, the colors are down at the moment.

And it’s too bright. You start to get that splashing around, you don’t really want that, but I do want some kind of presence in the reverb.

[vocals with reverb, adjusting color]

I want to make it much more —

[vocals with reverb]

Really creamy, and we can even pull that decay down even more now to about just a second.

[vocals with reverb]

It’s the pre-delay that’s doing that. I’ll play it to you without the pre-delay now.

[vocals, no pre-delay]

It sounds almost liked a tiled bathroom now, but if we push it back up again, we get that sense of space.

[vocals with reverb, more pre-delay]

Cut the highs down.

[vocals with reverb]


That’s the first trick I’d like to show you, and the second one is delays. Delays are also really useful in processing vocals.

In relation to this, there’s a few things in Nectar that are really cool. First off, you can sync to host.

So if we sync to host, this will now follow whatever I set this to. It’s at four, it’s quarter beats at the moment. Whatever I set this to, it’s going to follow it. This track has a tempo map in it as well. Changes tempo virtually every bar. You can see there at the top, 110, 109, and as you play now, you’ll see this change.


Now, these delays…

[vocals with delay]

So, take it to a single feedback…

[vocals with delay]

Take it slower. Faster.

[vocals with delay]

Make it faster.


[vocals with delay]

So what I want to do is take it out of sync to host for now, and give it a much shorter delay time for creating kind of a retro, early reverb.

[vocals with delay]

Which will have a very, very short delay time.

[vocals with delay]

So what I’m going to do now is I’m going to trash it up a bit, and this is very clean.

[vocals with delay, adjusting trash]

And I’m making it very kind of metallic with that trash set option.

[vocals with delay]

Has modulation on it as well, and what that’s doing is changing the time of it slightly. You can hear it varying slightly.

[vocals with delay, modulation]

You don’t need a lot.

If that was long, you’d really hear it happening.

[vocals with delay and modulation]

But I don’t want to, I just want a little bit.

Then the highs cutting it right down.

[vocals with delay, adjusting highs]

And the low cutoff.

[vocals with delay, adjusting low cut]

So you want it to be quite thin, this sound. We don’t have much of the original sound of the vocal in it, it’s quite trashed. Highs down, there’s not much top end in it. Lows are cut out as well.

[vocals with delay]

Well, that’s kind of nice and retro. Let’s listen to it from the top with the reverb in as well.


Here’s the original.


Let’s hear that in the track, I’ll go back to the beginning again.


Here’s the delay. Here’s the reverb.


Right now, I’ve got this inserted as a mono plug-in. What I could do instead is come in, go to my plug-ins, go to iZotope, and instead, select the stereo plug-in instead of the mono one.

That’s going to force the channel to operate as a stereo channel, which in my book is going to sound a lot better than mono. Giving us big, wide reverbs, and big, wide delays as well.

[vocals with effects]

There you go.

It’s spacious now, so let’s hear it in the track.


Lovely and vintage.

So there we are. Two ideas for using reverb and delay. Remember, when you’re doing reverb and delay to try and be sensitive to the music that you’re applying it to. So for the most part, it will be determined by the type of track you’ll be working with.

Could be a rock track, a reverb would be different, very long delay maybe. Dance tracks would be very long delays too. Just try and experiment. There’s plenty there for you to use, and have fun!

Thanks for watching.




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