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Something about reverb.... use it sparingly on gigs folks.

Scott Peterson

Global Moderator
Moderator
I was sort of dumbfounded lately, and in discussions from all sorts of modeling gear on TGP and specific to the Axe-FX here... looking at folks 'problem' presets for them... something just hit me about how guys instinctively add too much reverb to everything.

I have always assumed guys were using reverb to listen and record solo clips at home "ONLY"; never using reverb live. If you play surf or it's a specific effect that you NEED for your genre, etc, great... have at. I use reverb in all my presets and always have - for clips, playing, woodshedding, etc. - but have *always* turned that **** off when playing live.

Here's what struck me - guys are out gigging and using reverb in FRFR related presets (and perhaps in non-FRFR presets too) and having trouble cutting in the mix, aka washing out. Yet, they never turned off the reverb for live work... and then wonder what the heck happened to their great tone that they dialed up.

If you require 'depth' to the tone or preset, then use short delays. Don't use reverb.

In all my years of playing, outside of some - SOME - spring reverb on Fender amps, I've never used reverb live. And if the amp had it (ie: Bogner Shiva) I used it very very sparingly if at all. Amps don't cut when they are washed out with reverb. A Fender amp will better than most, but not if you crank up the verb.

If you are having any issue with cutting ANY mix on stage in live performance with the Axe-FX (or any other gear) try this first - turn OFF the reverb. Use a short delay instead. Same end 'effect' of depth, with none of the issues cutting a live mix.

Most often when I am recording, the verb is not printed wet - I will add it in the mix-down process. Most other engineers do this too. Record your guitars sans reverb when tracking. Your mix-down will be enormously simplified and faster.
 

yek

Legend!
Re: Something about reverb.... don't use it live folks.

Very true for rhythm tones.

For ambient stuff and acoustic it's different I think.
 

Matman

Power User
Re: Something about reverb.... don't use it live folks.

Going to be a bit of the devil's advocate here. I understand your point but would take a less black and white approach.

You are clear that this "Don't use reverb live" is a proposed solution to the problem of "not cutting" which is good.

I'm not so quick to throw the effect away altogether, nor to tap a DELAY when what you refer to as "depth" is required, however. A reverb is after all, typically just a bunch of delay lines and the Axe-Fx reverb block can go a long way.

One reason reverb can kill is that people are too enthusiastic with it. For example, a low mixed verb with short decay time value in the 0-0.5 seconds range is not going to strike the player as exciting, but can add just the right light density without squashing the vibe.

The Reverb block's "Early Reflections" side can do some pretty cool things by getting rid of the overpowering secondary reflections. (Set REVERB LEVEL to -40 and EARLY level to 0). Listen to some Peter Gabriel

Also, turning density and diffusion down or off in the VERB gives you less washy verbs which in my experience can allow a track in a mix to cut and have some space at the same time.

As anyone who has mixed drums will tell you, some EQ on the wet reverb signal is also essential -- whether you use the onboard Low Cut / High Cut or even pass 100% wet into a parametric EQ for more dramatic effects. Beware of booming in the lows, conflict in the critical mids, or sizzly washout in the highs. Even a narrow pass thru can be nice!

Lastly, such proclamations might not need to be so universal given the ability to modify parameters in realtime. The Axe-Fx offers a great way to add DUCKING to your Reverb for example: run at 100% wet in parallel to the dry signal and assign the envelope inversely to LEVEL. Now you get the tails without the trampling, to whatever degree you like. It's easiest for me to get the dynamics right if I just follow this with a PEQ or VOL to set the mix (or use input gain in the verb block for that).

Anyway, just wanted to add some food for thought :)
 

GM Arts

Power User
Re: Something about reverb.... don't use it live folks.

I've always been a fan of low-level ambient reverb; just enough to avoid the "dead-dry" tone in acoustically dead environments, but not enough to be noticeable in lively environments. No problem with cutting thru the mix, although my tones are somewhat mid-biased so that helps. I also use CCs to set higher level and decays to switch the reverb between ambient and "surf" effects.

Certainly agree, though, that obvious reverb on every patch is a recipe for washed out and distant tones. Not that it did Peter Green any harm :D
 

FractalAudio

Administrator
Fractal Audio Systems
Moderator
Re: Something about reverb.... don't use it live folks.

My rule of thumb is the higher the gain the less reverb. For clean patches I like a little bit of verb and delay. For higher gain rhythm patches I like it pretty dry. For solos I like some delay to help it stand out but little, if any reverb.
 

Scott Peterson

Global Moderator
Moderator
Re: Something about reverb.... don't use it live folks.

My approach has always been to use a delay, short (1/16, 1/8) for stuff that needs 'depth' so it isn't dry as a bone. On higher gain, I am doing the same thing, but mixed further back. On solos, I bump up the 1/8th and 1/4th delays to add that 'body' of noise without washing.

What I am seeing a lot on TGP (with Line 6 and other stuff, not just Axe-FX) are guys complaining about cutting aka "I am disappearing live..." and they have these presets with loads of reverb.
 

Sixstring

Axe-Master
Re: Something about reverb.... don't use it live folks.

I've never been a big Verb user in a live setting unless it is called for. Out door gig's tend to work better as you don't have anything for the sound to bounce off of. Having a preset that is slathered in a ton of Verb never sounds right unless maybe it's a surf or Dokken tune :lol: :mrgreen: .
 

electronpirate

Moderator
Moderator
Re: Something about reverb.... don't use it live folks.

I get Scott's point, and I like the delay idea.

But Matman has good points too. I like to hear a bit of 'verb onstage when the venue doesn't naturally give it to me. I always have *very little* in there...enough to just barely hear, but not to wash out.

But I will try that delay idea...
 

Matman

Power User
Re: Something about reverb.... don't use it live folks.

I get you Scott. Playing Chops ? Arranging Chops ? Mixing Chops.

You kinda need all three to some extent to get the most out of any rig in a band setting.
 

Spoons

Inspired
Re: Something about reverb.... don't use it live folks.

I noticed what Scott is talking about the very first time I took my Ultra out live! Since I got the my Ultra, I have found I don't need the Reverb for anything live except maybe something special once in a while. A tiny bit-o-delay works really nicely for that background touch if you really feel the need for it.

HOWEVER, BEFORE I GOT THE ULTRA IT WAS AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT WORLD!!!
I used a little bit of reverb and delay on absolutely every preset with other processors to add some of that mojo feel that other processors just simply lacked. It "sorta" worked as long as you didn't go very far with it. It truly was the only way to get any of that 3D dynamic depth feeling out of some of those sterile digital units - especially when going direct.
 

Scott Peterson

Global Moderator
Moderator
Re: Something about reverb.... don't use it live folks.

Matman said:
I get you Scott. Playing Chops ? Arranging Chops ? Mixing Chops.

You kinda need all three to some extent to get the most out of any rig in a band setting.

I think your suggestions (and other folks in the same vein) are all right on the money. I am glad that we can all share the different ways we approach things and learn from guys that make it work.

I'm not 'anti-verb' at all, I'm just not a reverb in a live setting guy; not right or wrong in any case, just my personal approach. I do understand that it is appropriate and used with taste and understanding, can be essential in specific cases. I've just never been one to do that in a live setting; I was sort of caught unaware, because I assumed everyone was 'like me' and as we all know, that gets you in trouble.

I use reverb all the time, and it's in my presets I've shared and I've learned volumes about reverb from fellow Axe-FX owners (Jay and Radley in particular) that have helped me. But I just do not use it live at all. So it's less a blanket statement, more than a tip that might help some of these guys that are having trouble cutting a mix. I've never - since firmware 3.06 - had any issue cutting in a mix... but I don't use any reverb live either. :D So as a tip to try for guys that cannot seem to get FRFR to work (or power amp/cab) guys too... just turn the verb off and try it. If it's too dry for you, try some short delays and see how that works. Delays - I run mine in parallel to the dry tone - mixed back don't wash you out unless you have them mixed way up. I tend to run mine somewhere in the -25db range or so (again, note I run my delay in parallel to the dry tone).
 

fremen

Fractal Fanatic
Vendor
Re: Something about reverb.... don't use it live folks.

Live I play in dry spaces (small clubs with no acoustics or open air), and in my band there's only me, a bass player and a drummer, so cutting in the mix is not a problem. So, I do use reverb, and probably too much for some people. But I always test my reverb level while playing with pro quality backing tracks (from lick library etc.) ; if my leads sounds like they are part of the recording, then it's ok for me, and I use that setting live. I'm tempted to test using less, or even no reverb, for next gig though, and see what it changes
 

Ant Music

Power User
Re: Something about reverb.... don't use it live folks.

i find that if i'm tweaking a factory preset or even an uploaded user patch that i have to almost completely obliterate the reverb so i can hear the guitar. has the world gone mad? (on reverb).
 

Smilzo

Power User
Re: Something about reverb.... don't use it live folks.

Scott Peterson said:
If you are having any issue with cutting ANY mix on stage in live performance with the Axe-FX (or any other gear) try this first - turn OFF the reverb. Use a short delay instead.

Quote. I've used this tricks with any setup, analog or digital. Let the ambient do some verbs. I've used reverb only as an fx for surf/raggae... or strange sounds.
 

Xrocker

Power User
Re: Something about reverb.... don't use it live folks.

I've always been a severe reverb junky. Always used way too much on my guitars, drums, vocals,etc. I've always loved getting a wide stereo image on my guitars through the use of stereo reverb. I could always get it to cut through the mix as long as I was mixing. :lol: I usually find that if I can't get a guitar to cut through a mix the problem usually lies in the other instruments.

That being said, I find myself using far less reverb on guitars using the Axe Fx. In fact with every firmware update or tweaking epiphany I find myself dialing back the reverb another notch. The closer I get to the sound I want the less verb I need. I guess I was using it as a bandaid for less than ideal tone. I'm afraid I would die of the DT's or something if I went cold turkey but I seem to be trending towards zero. :shock:

Right now I can only consider myself to be a recovering reverboholic.
 

barhrecords

Axe-Master
Re: Something about reverb.... don't use it live folks.

For me it depends on the gig.

I play in amatuer bands. I try to match the FOH guitar ambience to whatever reverb / dry is on the rest of the mix. From doing lot's of live recordings of bands I play in, it sounds strange to me for one instrument to be wet and the rest of the mix dry as a bone unless it is intentional for a special effect.

But I monitor with a little reverb always, with predelay to avoid the wash, just to add something to the note tails. The el cheapo wedges that we end up using sound a little harsh and the reverb rounds out the notes a tad.

On the rare occasion where we play a festival with a pro sound system / engineer, I go dry and let them add ambience to my monitor and FOH.

Richard
 

InsideOut

Power User
Re: Something about reverb.... don't use it live folks.

Maybe it's psychological for me, but ever since I implemented Jay's advice on keeping verb out of the 50-150ms range, I haven't had any issue with washing out in the live mix. Not saying I've got gobs of verb, but I do have some in every patch, and that one simple adjustment in pre and tail made all the difference in the world for me. I can have my reverb and eat it too :lol: Like others, I have more in my clean tones than high gain.
 

barhrecords

Axe-Master
Re: Something about reverb.... don't use it live folks.

InsideOut said:
Maybe it's psychological for me, but ever since I implemented Jay's advice on keeping verb out of the 50-150ms range, I haven't had any issue with washing out in the live mix. Not saying I've got gobs of verb, but I do have some in every patch, and that one simple adjustment in pre and tail made all the difference in the world for me. I can have my reverb and eat it too :lol: Like others, I have more in my clean tones than high gain.

That is really a good point.

From my experience, anything that de-emphasizes the note transients will make the part hard to cut through a mix.

- extreme distortion or amplifier gain.
- fast attack compression
- excessive reverb with no pre-delay
- etc. etc.

Richard
 

SparkyG

Experienced
Re: Something about reverb.... don't use it live folks.

I totally agree with Scott on this one.

I rarely use reverb live I find it just makes you sit back in the mix, all my patches have it in but off, and I can turn it on with an IA, but almost never do live - recording is different of course.
As Scott does I also generally use delays for depth mostly in solo's.

the room adds any ambience for me - helped a little by the spread of the Bose L1- any extra added at the axe just gets compounded by room reflections etc and washes out.

YMMV of course.
 

eda123

Inspired
Re: Something about reverb.... don't use it live folks.

Also agree!

A few times I kick it on in a quiet part or certain solos- I forget to turn it off sometimes, and spend the rest of the song wondering why I got so muddy all of the sudden. More noticeable than you would think.
 
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