Mysteries of the Mixer

Can anyone provide some decent instructions or settings for getting some decent Reverb in the Mixer?

By default, Dorico seems to give -6 dB on the Send to the Reverb, which doesn’t really achieve anything. Setting channels to +6, and turning up the Reverb slider to max doesn’t add much, either.

The LA Studio is pretty dead. I’ve tried some of the other ‘rooms’, but all I can get is just the full-on dry sound muddied by an echo to follow. Ideally, I want a little bit of distance, and space.

1 Like

Good morning Ben. I’ve studied all the sources I can find, and I still think its a black art. Many suggest using several reverbs for different instruments, or left and right reverbs and its one reason to go a DAW since Dorico only has one operational send. But since none of that helps you…

Choose a patch that supports “true stereo” Such a patch will actually have 4 reverb impulses - In essence they have already recorded two stereo left and stereo right reverb impulses for you, and will mix them according to where the instrument is panned. In Reverence, those are the SR patches, and you will notice that they say “4 channels” in the VST when you load them. Mir and EW Spaces also have them. In Reverence, maybe use use Austrian Concert Hall (SR) as your main verb on the send. You may wish to exaggerate the panning of certain instruments to get them where you want in the stereo reverb field, and it may be a time to experiment with 2nd violins on the right to separate them.

Its not Mir though, so you’ve no individual control of depth on the stage. What I mean is, you can use the Reverence EQ settings to roll of the highs of the reverb so that it sounds further back, but you can only do that for everyone who uses the send. So what you can do is:

  1. Download MSED from Voxengo (free) if you don’t already have a mid/side tool. Use it to push up the sides, which will likely be more room sound for centered instruments. (Heck, depending on how it was recorded, you might not NEED reverb.) Use it on those instruments you wish to be further back. Often that is flute, clarinet, and oboe for me but seems to muddy up lower instruments like Bassoon.

  2. Instead of sending, use (up to the point your computer will stand it) individual reverbs on key upfront instruments, as then you can use a shorter reverb. A lot of people will choose a digital reverb here, for better than life silkiness.

2a. Some libraries allow instruments loaded into the same instance to share a built in reverb, so you can use them for grouping say Brass and cut down on CPU load.

  1. (BEST) I find in libraries like East West this is where the separate mics shine - specifically using the out rigger mics which were placed on the orchestra’s far sides.

  2. (WORK AROUND) Double a part, send the double only to the reverb, and insert an EQ on the doubled part before it gets there. I’m likely to do that for Cello if I need the reverb for a wide and big feel, without disappearing into mud.

Hey Ben, I’m no expert, but I don’t even know how much time I’ve spent fiddling with reverb settings. I’ve kinda come to the conclusion that it isn’t so much in the reverb itself, but in what you send to the reverb to create separation and control the mud.

Pre-delay creates a bit of space between the original sound and verb, but it can also make worse as far as noticable artificial echoes. Use 1 ms per foot as a rough guide for the speed of sound, and figure how far away the side walls usually means you want in the 50ms range or less for the main reflections in Reverence - the rear does not seem to be adjustable, though I appreciate anyone schooling me.

2 Likes

Many thanks for this.

I’m currently using ARIA Player, which does have its own ‘ambience’ and reverb controls, and I’m using one VST per Dorico instrument. I can control the Send with a CC, which is nice. So I guess I’m already doing individual reverbs, as you suggest.

But it’s all a bit ‘in yer face’. I’ll give MSED a try.

Thanks

Cool. I would like to caution about using one per VST though. You do want it to sound like they are playing together in the same room. Too MANY variations, and that can break down. It could be my own personal failings, but the other potential trap there is that when I’ve brought up an individual VST like that, I’m usually setting it so that one instrument sounds especially “good” but its usually too much and gets fuzzy all together.

2 Likes

You should be able to get more substantial reverb. I suspect the step you may be missing is to set the wet/dry mix on the reverb itself to the maximum wet setting. I quite like the viennese setting for a default orchestral configuration. Useful tip: once you’ve selected a preset you’re happy with, you can select ‘set as default’ in the top bar of the plugin, and then you’ll get that reverb by default on new projects or when applying playback templates.

1 Like

Thanks Paul. Is that the “Mix” % in the bottom right ? It’s a bit weird that it’s only one scale, rather than Wet% and Dry%. Or am I missing something?

Yes, it’s probably that one - I’m not in front of the computer. You should see appreciable vu meter activity too (and also in the reverb channel of the mixer)

If you want to get into more depth, Mike Senior’s “Mixing Secrets” book has a rather extensive section on the combination of various reverbs in the mix. Those techniques are geared to DAW users and may not be practical in Dorico’s limited routing capability.

I suspect Paul’s comment about the wet/dry mix is on point.When using bus-based reverb (as opposed to inserting a reverb in an individual channel), always use 100% wet, and often that is not the default.

As far as producing the most useful effect, that can be difficult in thick scores, such as full orchestra. There are lots of reverbs out there with loads of presets. There are many options beyond the obvious ones (pre-delay, modeled room size, degree of feedback etc.) In particular, sometimes it is helpful to limit the reverb to a frequency range. and there are reverbs that include EQ processing.

One feature I find helpful in thick scores is in the R4 reverb form Izotope. That reverb has the option to attenuate the reverb during a phrase, while preserving a longer tail at the end of phrases. That isn’t how the real world works, but it can yield a cleaner sounding result. That is really intended to insert on individual channels, but it can work on the full mix.

I think Dorico does “100% wet” (careful with that phrase on the internet) by default. Other reverbs I’ve used have separate controls for wet and dry, and I’ve favoured c. 80% dry and 50% wet by ‘aural’ trial and error.

If it is on a send bus, it should be set to 100% wet because you will control the wet/dry mix with the send level. The mix control would normally only be used when the verb is inserted on an individual channel.

The Spitfire folks (Christian et. al.) are quite liberal with reverb and don’t seem to see it much of an issue. They recommend using different reverb for longs and shorts to accommodate the different tails that real world players have on those. They also recommend using it as glue between different sample libraries, such as the wet Spitfire and the dry EWHO.

I’m a bit of a reverb snob having grown up playing in concert halls, so haven’t really made my peace. This is probably why I like the BBCSO which has such a perfect natural reverb. At that I quibble with the fact that each instrument(s) is recorded by themself, thus lacking the physical bodies to soak up sound. That is the woodwinds have way too much reverb without the orchestra around them (for some reason they didnt’ want to play the BBCSO to sit around - maybe they could have hired body double stand ins :grin: )

Anyhow yes you want to have few reverbs on send busses otherwise you might max out CPU and get dropouts. Don’t do a reverb per instrument, really when Dorico gets the Cubase integration - whatever that means - this should be a moot point.

I just purchased Inspirata
https://www.inspiredacoustics.com/en/exclusives/inspirata-product

And am beginning to experiment with it. It’s fascinating. Where this is really useful for us is that if you pony up for the pro version you can assign up to 16 players in each space and move them around dynamically within it. They’ve even measured and reproduced the royal concertgebouw and the Berlin Phil’s hall, so it can really go a long way for symphonic reproduction in world-class spaces. (The churches are stunning for my work.)

Beware though, even the personal license requires 140gb of impulse data.

On the bright side, it’s the most realistic reverb I’ve heard yet. So far I’ve only messed around with it in studio one, but I’m going to have a go at dorico on Wednesday (jury duty tomorrow…).

That looks interesting. A problem I have with most reverbs is that they’re two channel, and I’m in multi channel which really benefits from reverb for feeling of being there. I don’t know of a way to sensibly make a multichannel with impulse so it’s got to be modeled. I use Cinematic Rooms which is also used by a lot of Hollywood guys.

Look at the inspirata. The two top versions allow you to configure 7.1.2 and 22.2.

1 Like

I also use Cinematic Rooms and love it!

1 Like

Cool, I tried digging into it before but got tired of the poorly designed web page :slight_smile:

Yeah looks like a great reverb, but as you say it is expensive and huge!