Become a member
Become a member

or
Continue with Google
Log in
Log in

or
Log in using a Google account
learning
Comment

More About Compressing Reverb

A guide to mixing music - Part 75
Share this article

Today we'll continue exploring the use of reverb and dynamics processing by looking at post-reverb compression.

View other articles in this series...
FabFilter Pro C2
A compressor set up for the “Bonham effect” on a room reverb’s output

Post-reverb compression

Placing a compressor right after the reverb on the corresponding aux bus can have diametrically opposite results. I’ll begin with the least discreet among them, which will thrill fans of Led Zeppelin-like drum sounds.

There’s no doubt that John Bonham was an extraordinary drummer with an amazing punch, but the production techniques used on his drums played a very important role in achieving his sound. And, to be honest, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to achieve the same effect. A simple compressor driven to the limits at the output of a room reverb will do the trick. To be more precise regarding the settings, try a ratio around 8:1 with a super fast attack (1ms to 2ms), an average release time, following the groove of the kick/snare, or a very short one to get a more obvious pumping effect, and a low threshold to make the limiter work to its maximum capacity. Now turn up the make-up gain until you get a smile on your face and that’s it! Granted, this trick won’t work with all music styles, but the effect is interesting nonetheless. And by the way, the larger-than-life effect achieved with this effect can also be interesting with other instruments, so don’t hesitate to give it a go!

The second method I would like to discuss here with you is much more subtle. Sometimes it might happen that you’re really happy with the reverb sound but you just can’t stop it from messing up the precision/definition of an instrument, despite the use of an EQ to get rid of eventual frequency masking. What to do then? Well, a compressor with a sidechain can come in really handy in such cases.

Let’s take a vocal track as example. If the reverb affects its intelligibility, place a compressor on the corresponding aux bus, post-reverb. Now, feed the sidechain of the compressor with the dry vocal signal and dial in the compressor like this: moderate ratio (2:1 to 4:1), low enough threshold so the compression kicks in as soon as the singer starts singing; fast attack time, for the same reason (but not too fast, so that it remains discreet); and make-up gain set to 0. Why not use any make-up gain, you ask? Well, quite simply because the goal is to lower the level of the reverb whenever the vocalist is singing. Experiment with the release time until you hear the reverb level increase naturally at the end of a phrase. This way, the reverb will be automatically reduced when the singer is doing his thing, without messing with the intelligibility and, when he or she stops singing, the reverb will come up again as if by magic, nicely complementing the melodic line.

This trick can obviously be used on all sorts of sources and works especially good on solo instruments. Besides giving a nice definition to the elements concerned, this method has the added advantage of emphasizing the sense of relief within the overall sonic puzzle. But be careful not to apply this to every track of your mix or you risk ending up with a chaotic 3D sound space that won’t be too appealing to the listener.

← Previous article in this series:
Reverb Meets Compression
Next article in this series:
Of Width and Depth →

Would you like to comment this article?

Log in
Become a member
cookies
We are using cookies!

Yes, Audiofanzine is using cookies. Since the last thing that we want is disturbing your diet with too much fat or too much sugar, you'll be glad to learn that we made them ourselves with fresh, organic and fair ingredients, and with a perfect nutritional balance. What this means is that the data we store in them is used to enhance your use of our website as well as improve your user experience on our pages and show you personalised ads (learn more). To configure your cookie preferences, click here.

We did not wait for a law to make us respect our members and visitors' privacy. The cookies that we use are only meant to improve your experience on our website.

Our cookies
Cookies not subject to consent
These are cookies that guarantee the proper functioning of Audiofanzine and allow its optimization. The website cannot function properly without these cookies. Example: cookies that help you stay logged in from page to page or that help customizing your usage of the website (dark mode or filters).
Google Analytics
We are using Google Analytics in order to better understand the use that our visitors make of our website in an attempt to improve it.
Advertising
This information allows us to show you personalized advertisements thanks to which Audiofanzine is financed. By unchecking this box you will still have advertisements but they may be less interesting :) We are using Google Ad Manager to display part of our ads, or tools integrated to our own CMS for the rest. We are likely to display advertisements from our own platform, from Google Advertising Products or from Adform.

We did not wait for a law to make us respect our members and visitors' privacy. The cookies that we use are only meant to improve your experience on our website.

Our cookies
Cookies not subject to consent

These are cookies that guarantee the proper functioning of Audiofanzine. The website cannot function properly without these cookies. Examples: cookies that help you stay logged in from page to page or that help customizing your usage of the website (dark mode or filters).

Google Analytics

We are using Google Analytics in order to better understand the use that our visitors make of our website in an attempt to improve it. When this parameter is activated, no personal information is sent to Google and the IP addresses are anonymized.

Advertising

This information allows us to show you personalized advertisements thanks to which Audiofanzine is financed. By unchecking this box you will still have advertisements but they may be less interesting :) We are using Google Ad Manager to display part of our ads, or tools integrated to our own CMS for the rest. We are likely to display advertisements from our own platform, from Google Advertising Products or from Adform.


You can find more details on data protection in our privacy policy.
You can also find information about how Google uses personal data by following this link.