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Creating Space with Reverbs

$20

18min

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If you have ever listened to the same song 25 times in a row pressing your headphones really hard on your ears to try and figure out what kind of reverb is being used, then this video is for you.

Fab discusses how to create natural spaces using reverb plugins. This is not about 80s obvious trails or Enya style deep underwater immersions, it's about creating a 'back wall' for your mix, height above the instruments and sauce to link the different elements together. You will gain the feel for what every one of the plugins does via extensive A/B comparisons and will get clear guidelines on how to think about the process to be able to emulate the techniques discussed on your own mixes. Just be careful with the back wall, it's freshly painted.

Please download the associated audio files to mix these tracks on your own system with your own reverbs. Just click on the orange square shaped button with a beautiful waveform design on it. (It also contains screenshots of the reverb settings)

Exercise files
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Transcript
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Mentors
Fab Dupont

Fab Dupont is a Grammy winning NYC based record producer, mixing/mastering engineer and co-founder of pureMix.net.

Fab has been playing, writing, producing and mixing music both live and in studios all over the world. He's worked in cities like Paris, Boston, Brussels, Stockholm, London and New York just to name a few.

He has his own studio called FLUX Studios in the East Village of New York City.

Fab has been nominated for Grammys 6 times, including two Latin Grammys and has received many other accolades around the world, including Victoires de la Musique, South African Music awards, Pan African Music Awards and US independent music awards.

Credits

David Crosby

Queen Latifah

Jennifer Lopez

Mark Ronson

Les Nubians

Toots And The Maytals

What do you have to say?
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noiion
2018 May 06
The video is not loading, no matter what browser I'm using. My internet connection is otherwise working fine. What to do?
Duke Murdock
2018 Mar 19
18 minutes rearranged everything I thought I knew about reverb and focused my approach with purpose and intention. Brilliant! Who knew such a short time could be so valuable?
owenlt
2017 Jul 05
Just watched this for maybe the third time. (Because it's super useful; not because I can't understand it!) A question: what's the mixing philosophy behind sending the direct drum mics only to the office, rather than to the plate or hall? Is it because, in this case, the overheads (plus plate) are providing most of the drum sound, and the direct mics are really just supporting that? Because, obviously, most of the time you WOULD send the snare to an actual reverb, no?
LUIS QUIROZ ZARAGOZA
2017 Mar 25
MUCHAS GRACIAS POR TU APORTE. ¡¡¡¡¡¡¡¡ GENIAL !!!!!!!!!!
soundspace2001
2016 Dec 15
I like your chilled approach to this difficult subject - very helpful! Thank you so much for letting us be part of your Mixing Secrets!!! (I just wonder, what the Early Reflections Settings would look like in your Oxford Hall ;-))
LudoL
2016 Nov 05
Brillant explanation !!!!
Fabulous Fab
2016 Aug 09
@DavidMann: Whatever gives you the impression of a small pleasant space works. It does not matter how it's generated. really as long as it feels good. I use to do it with a small office IR in Altiverb. Then I switched to the Oxford for DSP reasons. Made no difference to me.
Fabulous Fab
2016 Aug 09
@Brett b: Yes absolutely. Turn of the mid and far reflections. Ocean Way is very powerful for space creation.
Brett b
2016 Aug 08
This was really helpful? Do you think the ocean way plug in would be good for the office reverb?
DavidMann
2016 Jul 13
Great video, Thanks so much, Question : I was normally doing the early reflection in Wave true verb ( completely synthetic reverb ), now I notice that I have control on early reflection in my Convolution reverb as well ( Wave IR1) is there an advantage to going convolution or for early reflection or I better go synthetic ?
tvpnyc
2016 Jun 26
Truly a fantastic tutorial mate. Much appreciated... (...and the track itself sounds killer!)
bapu
2016 Apr 20
That helped me solidify some things I thought I new and presented some new things for me to think about and incorporate in my mixes.
Magnus
2015 Dec 19
Thanks Fab! You´re best at explaining in a simple way how things work..Love it!!
redFiELD
2015 Dec 02
Fab, two questions: 1) Do you always work with (only) these three kind of reverbs? Or do you in some cases use more rooms? 2) I often thought, a longer pre-delay will put the source more up to front. I read that in several books... Thanks for helping me out :) Jakob
Ashes
2015 Oct 14
Depth is really the line between amateurs and pro productions so thank you so much for this video! I've got a question because I'm not working with ProTools but Cubase, so when you're sending a sound to an aux track, does it follow the same panning as the original track? I mean, for a vocal, it's in the center so no problem but, if you want to give some depth to a rhythm guitar track, which is panned hard left, is the send signal hard panned left too into the reverb? Thanks for your help !
jmfriedman
2015 Oct 11
Thanks for the great video! what's a good "office reverb" in altiverb?
rkoppelman1
2015 Jul 08
Incredibly clear and useful guidance. Just finished a demo CD and struggled through getting height and depth. I got there, but it wasn't pretty... So much easier with your instruction. Something of a similar vein for delays and EQ would be great!
CCHorton
2015 Jul 05
Thank you very much for this lesson Fab. I was always thinking of reverb as an effect added to make things sound better, and now, thanks to you, I think of it as a way to create space. It's a completely different mindset, thus a different approach, and the result is an amazing improvement my mixes. This week I fully implemented my new approach, and my client (a singer/songwriter) said she was really listing for the reverb, she couldn't hear it, but loved the "spaciousness" the mix had. She had a big smile when the track ended, and approved it on the spot, zero adjustments, tweaks, etc.
Some Guy
2015 Apr 19
An oldie but a goodie. Worth coming back and re-watching this one from time to time. This is probably one of the most valuable videos on the site.
laru1977
2015 Apr 12
Unfortunatelly my first post stayed hanging somewhere :) I wrote, that you are the first guy who really explains, how to create depth with different reverbs. Mostly I heard and red things by engineers like: "....I use up to 2-3 reverbs on my mixes...", but never HOW ! Thanks for resolving a mystery here in a few minutes, GREAT !! best, lars
laru1977
2015 Apr 12
Dear Fab, you wrote..."The smaller the predelay the closer the souce should feel...." Now I really got confused. Always thought that different pre-delays ar important to create depth and that the longer the pre-delay, the more the source is moved in front and vice versa. But I also was not a friend of them and prefered to tweak areound with size and decay. So you recommend not to take the pre-delay thing to serious ? Best, Lars
Fabulous Fab
2015 Apr 08
@mike_strong: noted.
mike_strong
2015 Mar 13
Dear Fab, I have a video request! I have the feeling that since you introduced your children to your trademark REVERB concept (the office/plate/hall), miraculous things have happenend: THE RECORDS HAVE BECOME MORE WET! Your reverb concept is based on the notion, that the reverb is basically there without being heard. That is a great thing and I couldnt live without this video! But: it would be totally cool if you could explain us how to get one of these monster-wet mixes like for example the new BECK album. Thank you!
mike_strong
2015 Mar 13
Thank you so much Fab for this tutorial...this has been an awakening moment for me - reverb-wise!! Before that, I only turned reverbs "on". Preferably LARGE HALL ;) But now, I at least THINK that I know what I'm doing. And wow: there are SMALLER spaces available!!! I had no idea!
AdRi__Forn
2015 Jan 07
Excellent advices! As always Fab.
alessioforlani@gmail.com
2014 Dec 25
Using three or four main effects in aux tracks, creates a problem: every time you solo a track in themix and the fx aux, you will ALSO have to listen to the fx returns of all the other tracks you already sent to those same aux. This is really annoying!is there any way to solve this issue?
Fabulous Fab
2014 Oct 09
@birenmpatel@gmail.com: Yes, yes, yes and yes also. (Last yes depending on whether I like the sound of the VSTs built in reverb or if it's an integral part of the actual sound as opposed to just 'sauce')
birenmpatel@gmail.com
2014 Oct 01
Second question, when producing music in the box using synth VSTs, do you turn off the reverbs on these VSTs and use the 3 reverbs as you showed to make everything sit better in the mix?
birenmpatel@gmail.com
2014 Oct 01
Fab, I'm not familiar with the software you are using, so when you are increasing or decreasing the levels on your reverbs in the video, are you increasing and decreasing send levels to these busses? Is that the best way to set it up - as 3 aux tracks one for each reverb and then send instruments to these?
bradleym
2014 Sep 02
Holy smokes! did you hear that?!?! Let's watch it again! Yeah man, cue it up!
ear candy
2014 Aug 20
Fab, This is the best tutorial on reverb I've seen. I have UAD plugins and stock Logic Studio plugins. The UAD Dreamverb is really hard for me to understand. I wish I could translate the parameters you show here to the UAD Dreamverb. I know UAD Dreamverb should be awesome but I’m never happy with any setting I use; I feel like I have to be a rocket scientist to understand it.
bolupona
2014 Jun 20
@Fab, thanks for the response in regards to Convolution. Just trying to make sure I understand the craft of mixing and give my clients an excellent product. Thanks a lot!
Fabulous Fab
2014 Jun 10
@bomusicprod: Frankly I don't care. If it sounds good it's good. The Oxford is algo, the EMT 140 from UAD is convolution, Space from Avid is convo, the Bricasti one is algo, I use them all. For me it's more features than anything else as long as the color of the reverb that not sound fizzy.
bolupona
2014 Jun 09
What is your take on convolutions reverbs? Do you ever use them? And how would it apply to the concept in which you described in the video above? Thanks.
Nenette
2014 Apr 24
Bravo J'ai adoré cette vidéo et Dieu sait que j'en ai achetées sur le web, des vidéos sur l'utilisation des reverbs (sans grand succès pour mes mixs de débutant :) ). Bref, là, j'ai simplement écouté chaque instrument individuellement sur la fin de la vidéo et j'ai eu une petite révélation. En tant que musicien, on a toujours cette tendance (fâcheuse ou pas) à isoler chaque instrument dans un mix. Je n'avais jamais penser à isoler la reverb de chaque instru. Yes!! Super tuto. Un petit miracle pour moi. Merci beaucoup. Tcho de Nantes. Ps: super la traduction en français.Un must.
electricthing
2014 Apr 06
Thanks for making me understand. This is truly teaching. I'm a teacher myself. This tutorial fills an essential void in my mixing.
BrandonChance
2014 Mar 05
I've never heard anyone explain this as well as Fab did. He gained a lot of respect as a teacher with this video! God Bless You Fab!
sausy1981
2014 Feb 27
Hi I purchased the video but it's not working, it wont play.
mrbeatnick
2013 Nov 25
Really enjoyed - excellent techniques
icarusdoppelganger
2013 Oct 28
fab, this is great stuff. thanks for opening our ears to the light.
lucaandfriends
2013 Sep 28
This is why my mixes are so 2 dimensional... great informations, thanks!
MJA93
2013 Sep 16
the hall is definitely the easiest to feel without hearing
Fabulous Fab
2013 Sep 15
@xoli: I tend to use reverbs in stereo to open the sound unless I'm looking for an effect, like a mono plate on a tambourine for that 1963 vibe. Or the lengthening mono verb on snare trick you mention.
xoli
2013 Sep 15
Hi Fab, I have a question. Do you set up the reverbs always in stereo mode? Or you use them in mono in any cases? Sometimes when I'm mixing I use halls and rooms in stereo, but I use plate reverb for snare in mono. Thanks!
ethiesse
2013 Aug 13
Just want to say thanks, I can open exercise files everywhere on the site now.
Becky Jo Benson
2013 Aug 05
FAB!! What a great video! I am on the road right now, and when not driving, I am watching your wonderful videos! Wow! That is pretty tricky to use the combination of those three reverbs, and very nice of you to tell us some of your secrets that make it sound so much better! Speaking of sound: thank you for helping my awareness of what to listen for! Keep up the good work, FAB! I appreciate your patience with my learning curve. Thank you for being there for each of us, Becky Jo Benson
g
2013 Aug 02
No worries about the files download being corrupted. Our team of developers is currently fixing it. Thanks for your patience. G.
bls5449
2013 Aug 02
Struggling to open the exercise files also...
ethiesse
2013 Jul 30
Anyone else on Win7 and having problems opening the exercise files? Can't open this set or any other I've tried from the site.
Tom_Lonzo
2013 Jul 05
Hey fab, Is there any way to recreate a similar plate reverb using logic's space designer plug-in? I made a similar sounding preset but it still doesn't convince me. Regards, Tom
Tom_Lonzo
2013 Jul 05
Hey fab, Is there any way to recreate a similar plate reverb using logic's space designer plug-in? I made a similar sounding preset but it still doesn't convince me. Regards, Tom
dmstubbs
2013 Jul 05
Excellent video - pragmatic and instantly usable material - thanks.
gilligan
2013 May 19
What a great video, now i know what i have been doing wrong for so long, thanks Fab, your the best :)
darrendrums
2013 Mar 29
Hi Fab, Question re pre delay. When you have these 3 reverbs set up are you using the "room" setting like a pre delay for the other two reverbs and does that mean that the other verb's pre delay should be set to 0ms? Thanks for the continued info, it' helped me incredibly. Darren
Joseph Piccione
2013 Mar 28
Great information in this video Fab, thanks alot.
ldv558
2013 Mar 28
fabulous!fab,hope you can show us reverbs for vocals!thanks!
Funkenstein
2013 Feb 26
Fab, what can I say? except, fabulous. You're an inspiration and I can't wait to apply what I've learned here.
solomonothniel
2013 Jan 21
Hello Fab, Let me start off by saying, great video. I was always fascinated about how you used reverbs. Question ; how can I download this video? I need to put it on my iPad so I can watch it when i'm traveling. Thank You Bless
antonohvo
2012 Dec 12
This is great, I am actually learning things!! Makes me want to blow up the schools and courses I´ve spent too much time, money and health on taking. Thank you Fab (and team), you have saved a partion of my life (╯3╰)
JemW
2012 Aug 01
Hi Fab, Loved this video, really gave me a much better understanding of how to mix with reverb. I use Presonus Studio One 2 Professional, would it be too much to ask you to use Presonus exchange to give us dull eared mortals an office, plate and Hall preset for use in the Presonus verbs, (Room and open air), it would really help in grasping the concept of the office reverb you use as it is such a subtle effect, many thanks to you for great videos.
Fabulous Fab
2012 Jul 31
If you do need a rule of thumb: Since you can think of it as an early reflection decoy-ish, the longer the predelay, the bigger the emulated space should feel (Until you delay it so much than the delay is so long that you can hear space between the source and the beginning of the tail, which is fun too). The smaller the predelay the closer the souce should feel. YOur mileage will vary from plug t plug. Et voila. Fab
Fabulous Fab
2012 Jul 31
... What I realized is that once you are no longer afraid of not hearing the difference, you start to hear that in most cases the difference is not important and you move on. Don't forget that the predelay on reverbs was invented as a crude way to 'emulate' early reflections on early dig reverbs. Key word: crude. Like all new technologies it was adopted and corrupted by engineers who used it to do cool stuff with like make the revebs completely unrelated to the source and so on and so forth.
Fabulous Fab
2012 Jul 31
Hi guys, These kinds of question are probably better answered in the forum but while I'm here: As far predelay goes, I just move until it feels right. Meaning it's never been a crucial part of the process for me. It probably stems from the fact that I did not originally understand its function and could find a useful way to use it that was not wasting my time for minute subtleties that ultimately made no difference in the mix. As I grew I realized that lengthening the predelay is a good way to 'detach' the reverb from the vocal. It feels very 80s sounding to me.
withoutaknife
2012 Jul 30
For the 250 Hall-type texture, how much pre-delay do you use? I find that if I use the longest 60ms that it still clouds things up unless I use very little input level. So I either need to use really low level or use an external pre-delay to push it back further. Any recommendations on the pre-delay?
dominiklaim
2012 Jun 22
Great stuff. Thanks heaps for that. Something on Mastering would be awesome.
withoutaknife
2012 May 30
Thanks! Any tips on a good preset to start with on the RS1 for the Office bus? It seems to have a range of sounds from bright to dull...was wondering if you could recommend a good starting point. Thanks again!
thenewexhibit
2012 May 30
Hey Fab, Any suggestions or tips with pre delay? I've heard of people setting pre delay to the tempo of a song. Have you ever used this practice? If so why or why not, or in what situations. Also, what is it I would be achieving by using earlier or later reflections? I know it's probably a dumb question, but it still seems a bit intimidating to me. I love the concept of the video, and it has brought some things to light, but I suppose I was hoping you would go into a little more detail with the actual basic parameters a bit more and the "why's". Thanks in advance.
withoutaknife
2012 May 30
Thanks! Any tips on a good preset to start with on the RS1 for the Office bus? It seems to have a range of sounds from bright to dull...was wondering if you could recommend a good starting point. Thanks again!
Fabulous Fab
2012 May 29
@darrendrums: I definitely use a send. That kind of routing complicated enough to not restrict myself with dual use faders.
Fabulous Fab
2012 May 29
@withoutaknife: I would use the RS1 for the Office and the 250 for the Hall-like texture. I have not gotten around to learning Realverb yet. So many plugins so little time.
Fabulous Fab
2012 May 29
@angel72bg: Intro to Mastering in the works. It'll be a minute but it'll be lovely. Fab
angel72bg
2012 May 29
Thank You Fab for that; "viewing time limit for videos has been extended to 100 years". Your tutorials are the best in the business. And your sense of humour is great. A love that. Keep going. Now I am a better engineer. ---- Is it possible to make a tutorial for mastering.(the black art) I saw so many video,but they just touch the surface. Thank You in advance. Best Regadrds
withoutaknife
2012 May 28
Good stuff. Quick question for Fab. If you had to do the early reflection and hall setup with UAD plugs - which would you use?
darrendrums
2012 May 17
Fab, That's of great use thank you. Btw would you bus the OH's out or create a send from the OH's thus creating a wet dry vibe for them ? Best Darren
Fabulous Fab
2012 May 17
darrendrums: It really depends on the drummer, but what I would do if it's really problem is send the oh signal to a separate aux, put a compressor on that aux and then feed that aux to the same reverb as the rest of the kit. You'll have unity but the hard hits wont freak the reverb ut. Also having a separate send means the rest of the drums will feed the reverb naturally.
darrendrums
2012 May 16
Fab, Thanks man, that really helps. Question for you, how do you deal with jazz cymbals that are played very dynamically from pp to fff and freak the plate reverb out that all the instruments are going to ? I've tried setting up a separate reverb for the OH's but it doesn't seem to match the tonal of the other reverbs i have . Any thoughts ? Best Darren
Fabulous Fab
2012 May 15
@darrendrums: probably 12db/octave. That's is what the Oxford has built in. For the plate I don;t know. It does not really matter, you are just trying to clear up some mess without emasculating the whole thing. The gentler the better really.
darrendrums
2012 May 15
Hi Fab, Out of interest what are the HP and LP filter slopes that you employ on the plate and office reverbs ? Best Darren
Cowlash
2012 May 10
Great video! I learned a lot from it! Looking forward to seeing the early reflection reverb settings too
fab
2012 May 05
Hi guys. The downloadable files were in no way intended to line up with each other. They are exact matches of what you hear in the video, which were not exactly in the same spot. However, after an international public outcry, and an intervention by the CIA, we decided to go back and extract lined up stems to smoothe the inquisitive crowd. The new stems will be up up Monday May 7th 2012 at the latest. Thanks Fab
darrendrums
2012 May 04
Awesome tutorial and fantastic real world explanations. Out of interest, the accompanying wav's are a great addition but the don't seem to line up in logic when i put all regions at the same start point. Any ideas ?
fab
2012 May 01
@ pkshdk: I will go back and find the settings for all three verbs and post the presets as part of the download package for this video. It'll be a couple of days. Fab
pkshdk
2012 Apr 28
Can I by any chance have the "Early Reflection" settings of your Hall reverb there? Pretty please? :)
carlfred
2012 Apr 24
Fab, thanks so much. I think reverb is one of the most important factors in a mix but so hard to know when and how to use reverb. AMAZING TUTORIAL. U ROCK !!!
deang1983
2012 Apr 21
Thanks Fab! Your tutorials are the tits!
fab
2012 Apr 21
deang1983: Yes, You can think of it that way. It just came from a medium room style preset called Office on the Oxford reverb. It's easy to remember so it stuck.
deang1983
2012 Apr 21
This was a great tutorial! The right use of reverbs is one of the things i've been trying to learn for awhile and this taught me a lot. I'm guessing OFFICE reverb is the same as ROOM? Might seem obvious but i'm just making sure.
fab
2012 Apr 19
@nfrossi: Absolutely no problem, we want pureMix.net to be the best place for everyone to learn, suggestions are always welcome. I used the exact same kind of techniques on the Forro In The Dark record called 'Light A Candle'. It's a really nice New York based all Brazillian band I produced a couple of years ago. It sounds wonderful. Check it out.
nfrossi
2012 Apr 18
@fab: Sorry if I sounded to negative, it was not my point. I think that it's a great, great video but as a customer I just want to give my feedback for the improvement points. Your job is really great and I do appreciate your videos a lot. I am looking forward for the next one, using reverbs in vocals tracks. Again, thank you very much to share this kind of information with us. Regards from Brazil. Nicolas
Stone
2012 Apr 16
Thanks for another fantastic tutorial Fab! Finally reverb explained in a way that makes sense. This tutorial has literally given me the eyes to 'see' and hear the layers of reverb in a mix. You are taking the mystery out of the mixing process and are passing on the kind of tools, understanding and insights essential to taking mixes to another level. Thank you for being so generous with your knowledge. I'm looking forward to learning more. Keep up the great work!
afak1999@gmail.com
2012 Apr 16
Great Video! This was one of the weak points in mixing and I finally feel Ive wrapped my brain and ears around it. I would like to see a video showing how to create space with Delay's also.
fab
2012 Apr 15
@nfrossi: I understand your concern, but honestly the kind of music is irrelevant to the techniques used to create transparent sounding spaces, it's the same principle for all music. It's much easier to hear the differences and the subtle variations on this track than on Speed Metal with distorted guitars on stun or HipHop with 90% bass drum and 10% sample with built in reverbs already. Also, this tutorial was not aimed at demonstrating vocal reverb techniques (We are working on that) but 'creating space with reverb' which is crucial to any decent sounding mix. Hope this helps. Fab
nfrossi
2012 Apr 15
It was a very good video but I think that the style of music that you used on the tutorial was just good to demonstrate the effect of those reverbs, but it is not the usual kind of style that we mix all the time. Besides, there was no demonstration of the effect of those reverbs on a vocal track - we can thought about it with those tips, but It would be much better to pick a song with a vocal. Best regards.
Ankur
2012 Apr 13
Fab you are a blessing to us young engineers. thx for this awesome lesson.
LargerLife
2012 Apr 12
Great explanation on creating subtle spaces, a cool technique with using the 3 dimension of a real space around us. This is an in depth tutorial which I have been logging for to figure it out since I started, but I never find anywhere. Great presets for starting using them too.
Rutherford
2012 Apr 12
Excellent video.
zebastian21
2012 Apr 11
Great tutorial, I have watched it 3 times to grasp the concept of it. I would be great to see more like this, especially the combination of reverbs an delays to create depth and placement of sounds in the mix
pmlogin