Let’s be completely honest here, an EQ and a compressor are the only two plugins that you need to get a great sounding mix. But if you could take that great sounding mix (with just EQ and compression) and then add a little bit of dimension to it with a small amount of effort, wouldn’t that be a good thing?
This is exactly where a delay or reverb plugin could be of use to us. So, in this article, I am going to show you how you can get the most out of those two effects to get a good mix.
I think I can safely say that one thing us home studio enthusiasts have in common is that we are overdubbing for the majority of the time. If you don’t know what I mean, we don’t record the entire band in one go – we do it piece by piece. We might start with the bass or the drums and then build up from there.
The listener doesn’t know any better and to them, it sounds just like a full band.
The major problem that arises when you record like this is that you will end up with a bunch of multitracks that are pretty much dry and distinct from one another. You aren’t going to hear any bleed from the mics since the instruments were recorded in isolation.
This is where reverb would come in.
By sending all of your multitracks to an aux channel with a reverb plugin on it, we can then place the instruments in the same room. We aren’t going for a completely wet sound; we are just using it as a tool to help glue all the parts together and make them sound like they were recorded in the same room.
Here’s a video on how to send all your tracks to one aux to apply reverb:
It’s hard just to talk about delays in general terms because every situation is different. It’s difficult mainly for two reasons: there are many different types of delays on the market, and everyone’s tastes are much different.
With that said, I love long delayed echoes because they can take an ordinary sound and give it this out of world texture and depth that makes it comes to life.
A lot of what goes into music is about placing the listener into an environment and taking them on a journey that only their minds can take them. Using a long style delay can help evoke the emotion you need give the listener an enjoyable experience.
Probably my favorite trick when mixing vocals is to make a stereo delay and then send the lead vocal to it and then cut out the high end with a low shelf EQ. This makes the delay a bit more muffled and less intelligible. By not competing with the dry vocal multitrack, it immediately gives your vocal the space it deserves.
What Are You Doing?
So tell me below in the comments how you are using delays and reverbs. What is positive and negative about the results you are getting and why?