Ask the expert – tips on reverb

Ask the expert – tips on reverb

Dennis Hegland asks for some tips on eq and reverb use for both music and video. He says:

“I’ve read that reverb is overly used. I’m thinking more in line of home studio recording than worship but we could restrict the discussion to worship if you want. Then regarding eq for guitar, is there a general starting profile or do you just start with a dry flat profile and experiment until you’re satisfied?”

Geoff Boswell, Sound Consultant, B&H Syscom Ltd replies:

Big ask. YES reverb is often overused and definitely misunderstood. In a live worship context there is loads to get right and get a handle on way before reverb!  Any instrumentalist like an electric guitarist will have own reverb. Should not be added at the mixer really. Vocals occasionally may need a bit of ‘wetting up’ but rarely in my opinion. Concentrate on good source sounds – good FOH sound!

Regarding home studio recording I find on the stuff I have done on Pro-Tools that a little reverb on a vocal helps to bring it alive and sometimes is not noticeable as reverb. Play with the reverb decay time and other parameters depending on what software you are using. Most software gives loads of different types of reverb and different ‘room sizes’ as well as lots of other variables. Experiment, play, use your ears as your judge and do whatever sounds good to you. When mixing at home from a recording you have the unenviable advantage over live and that is the ability to play it over and over again! However rest your ears. I have recently been working on a live track recorded for a video. I spend about four hours getting the mix sounds [compression, EQ, gating on most channels and yes, a touch of reverb on the vocals]. I got to the stage where I needed to rest my ears [and my brain]. A second session refined the mix with some helpful emailed comments from the band, again I rested my ears, listened to the mix in the car, a few days later another two hour session refining, again a rest and I will come back to it for what should be a final mix next week !  IF only that were the case when mixing live ! I’ll post a link to the resulting mix and video when its done.
Re guitar and reverb I think its more of an effect for particular sounds or licks in a song that reverb is used but I am a bass player so reverb is not something I use. I am sure there are lots of guitarists out there who can put in an opinion as well as Andy Chamberlain who will, I am sure have some comments. At the end of the day Dennis you are right, experiment until you are satisfied.

Geoff’s websites: – Geoff’s site for his independent work – B&H Sound when Geoff routes all installations & sales

Above is the video Geoff mentions in the article and in his comment below.