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Reverb Tweak Tip - "best of both worlds" :o)

Radley

Experienced
Hello fellow 'Axers' - here is a simple technique I use to get 'the best of both worlds' when recording direct - both microphone ambience/air, and rich verb - all by using only one AFX reverb block. The reason this is possible (and so flexible) is because of the recent improvements Cliff has made to the Reverb block, and I am very happy with the changes he has made!

Here's the deal:

As a guy who does a lot of direct recording (straight to the board), I have always found that to get the most realistic results, I needed both a short ambient sound coupled with whatever longer verb I may be wanting. The ambient component gives the tone air and dimension, whereas the longer verb provides whatever 'sweetening' the track may require.

The trick to mastering this effect is understanding that the Early Reflection and Main Reverb signals produce very different effects/sounds, but once you have a clear picture of what they do sonically you can easily put together many different ambience/verb combinations for almost any sound needed.

How it’s done:

IMO, you should first decide on what type of (longer) Verb sound you want to use, and dial it up. Now the fun part - If you scroll thru the Verb's advanced parameter page you will notice these selections: Pre Delay, Tail Delay, Early level, & Reverb level - these are the specific parameters we will be tweaking. Here is a basic description of their effects:

Pre Delay - Adds a delay before both Early reflection and Main reverb signals begin.

Tail Delay - Adds an extra (additive) delay before the Main Reverb signal begins.

Early level - The Volume of the Early reflection signal.

Reverb level - the Volume of the Main (long) reverb signal.

On most standard reverb presets, the early reflections are much softer than the main reverb signal -BUT- for our uses, we want to exaggerate these early reflections to create a ‘close-up’ ambience similar to a mic’ed amp. For this effect, we will turn the early reflection level up higher than the main reverb level, until we hear the desired level of ‘roominess’. Next, we fine-tune the pre delay parameter for the optimum early reflection time & distance - all settings from 0 to 30 ms are effective, and even 70 to 120 ms settings are good for getting a fat, slap-delay effect. Lastly, we will use the ‘tail delay’ parameter to set the additional pre delay for the main reverb signal. Why delay this signal? It is because delaying the onset of the main reverb signal can create dramatic space and depth, with the added benefit of making the sound clearer & more defined by allowing the attacks to be heard before the main verb ‘hits’. Keep in mind that the Pre and Tail delay parameters are additive - the total of the two will be the pre delay applied to the main (long) verb signal.

Normally to obtain this ‘combination effect’, you would need to use an extra delay or reverb, but not with the new AFX reverb ;) Thanks to Cliff’s improvements, almost any ambient texture is attainable within a single reverb block.

Hope this is helpful! ;)

~Rad~
 

fremen

Fractal Fanatic
Vendor
I'll take on myself to add another cool tip Jay shared in another thread :

Jay Mitchell said:
The adaptation of human hearing neurology to speech recognition is such that reflected energy arriving between 50 and 150 milliseconds after the initial arrival is highly detrimental to articulation and intelligibility. Medium to large reverberant spaces can easily have a delay between the initial arrival and earliest lateral reflections - not reverberation - of 30-40 milliseconds. After this early energy, you want the reverberant tail to fall at or beyond the end of the 150-ms window. If your early delay is, say, 40 ms, then the tail delay, which is additive to the early delay, should be ~110 ms or greater.
 

electronpirate

Moderator
Moderator
I'm giving this a shot right now.

Thanks for taking the time to show this!

EDIT: Point of order Radley: Where do you place reverb in your chain on the Axe?

Ron
 

Radley

Experienced
electronpirate said:
I'm giving this a shot right now.

Thanks for taking the time to show this!

EDIT: Point of order Radley: Where do you place reverb in your chain on the Axe?

Ron
Ron,

I normally place the Reverb last in the effects chain, unless I want some 'hyper-stereo freakyness', like a stereo Chorus/Detuner/Vibrato after a sustained Verb (very dramatic)

~Rad~
 

InsideOut

Power User
I posted this in the 9.00 thread in response to Jay's help yesterday but I'll say it again. Using 40ms pre and 110ms tail is an excellent starting point. It sounds much more natural to me now, and for very good reason :lol: . Without proper education, the advanced features of the axefx are like turning a 2 year old loose with a chemistry set :lol: . I'm looking forward to applying this knowledge to my recordings as well. Thanks to all who have contributed :cool:
 

solo-act

Fractal Fanatic
We need a separate FX tweekers section, and this needs to be a sticky in the reverb sub-forum of that forum :)
 

electronpirate

Moderator
Moderator
Radley said:
Ron,

I normally place the Reverb last in the effects chain.....

~Rad~
Me too, just making sure.

Do we need to have the discussion again about another sub-forum for FX (and maybe drive settings)? I'd have to check around, but it seems like in between those 2, we'd have enough postings to warrant it.
 

Radley

Experienced
electronpirate said:
Do we need to have the discussion again about another sub-forum for FX (and maybe drive settings)? I'd have to check around, but it seems like in between those 2, we'd have enough postings to warrant it.
I like the idea of a separate FX subforum - I'm always looking for new ways to use effects, especially to create big stereo spreads & 'soundscapes'. Seems very cool to me! :cool:

-----------

Regarding the Verb's pre delay (early reflection) setting:

IMO, there are no 'wrong' settings - the short settings (0 to 30ms) I mentioned were to achieve a fairly close-mic'ed ambience, but you can get some huge effects by going longer (kinda like John Bonham's drum sounds with Led Zepplin) :shock: :eek: :shock:

It's all good!
 

InsideOut

Power User
Radley said:
Regarding the Verb's pre delay (early reflection) setting:

IMO, there are no 'wrong' settings - the short settings (0 to 30ms) I mentioned were to achieve a fairly close-mic'ed ambience, but you can get some huge effects by going longer (kinda like John Bonham's drum sounds with Led Zepplin) :shock: :eek: :shock:

It's all good!
I agree Rad. I hope it wasn't taken that I was saying 40/110 was it and don't bother trying anything else. Now that I understand the relationship between pre and tail, and how the controls interact with each other, I plan to try lots of different settings. Because I was struggling before, I had the mix down at like 8% and the 40/110 sounded very good (still subtle though) there. But with the proper ratio, I think it's very possible that I can make the pre shorter and possibly bring the mix up a bit.

This entire discussion has been a huge eye (or rather ear) opener for me and I'm grateful for the knowledge being openly shared :cool:

PS, I totally vote for a dedicated fx section of the forum.
 

Jay Mitchell

Fractal Fanatic
Re: pre and tail delay settings:

Level makes a huge difference in what works and how. If you want a clean, articulate sound, it is essential that the first 10-15ms after the direct arrival contain no reflections within 20dB of the direct. Any reflections in this time period will cause huge sonic colorations. This requirement has major implications for the acoustic environment in which you are performing. If the room produces arrival clutter within the first 10 ms, no combination of reverb settings in the Axe-Fx can fix that.

Arrivals between 15-25 ms fall into what is often called the "Haas" or "precedence" zone. An arrival in this time range will be late enough for your ear-brain to process as a separate event, but early enough not to be perceived as an echo. This time relationship is exploited in sound systems with delay rings, but it is far less useful IME in reverb algorithms.

From 25-50ms, arrivals become perceptible as separate events, but they can be relatively strong without causing much loss of articulation. I would generally place early delay in this range, although there is no hard and fast rule to that effect. The default level settings for early levels in the Axe-Fx - typically quite a bit below the tail level - are IMO pretty close to optimal.

As I alluded to in the other thread, extreme care must be taken with arrivals in the 50-150ms range. Obvious specular reflections (e.g., delays) in this range may not be a problem, as long as their level is not too high. A reverberation tail that begins within this time range can cause huge amounts of mud.

From 150ms onward, there is little adverse effect on articulation. I'm still fooling around with different reverb settings, but it appears that you can get pretty wild with long tail delays without loss of clarity.
 

Radley

Experienced
As Jay has pointed out, the ratio between the early and long levels is big factor. In general, I have found that the shorter the predelay setting, the louder the early level needs to be (when used as an obvious ambient 'effect'). Surprisingly, even a pre delay setting of 0 still has an effect, and as you increase the setting in 1-millisecond increments, you will hear substantial changes in the overall sound (part of this being the result of comb-filter/phasing effects heard with very short delay times), but don't think of this as a negative - think of it simply as an effect you can use/abuse to come up with many different sounds, even a way to make the same preset sound 10 different ways. ;)
 
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