Using Reverb on Vocals PART 1

I think I can confidently say that anyone reading this already knows what a reverb is.  Great, so I don’t have to explain it.  Plus I would probably ruin the explanation anyhow.  But if you are still not sure of what it is then check out the definition here.

First we need to set up our reverb unit:

1) set up a new Aux Bus.
2) add our favourite reverb to the bus.
3) scroll through some presets  to catch a vibe.  Im not a huge fan of presets but with effects like reverb I think they help get a vibe going quickly

Pre-Delay

Now that we have the reverb set it up and we have a vibe going, we need to try and get the reverb out of the way of our vocal so that it is not interfering with the clarity.  This is where our trusty pre-delay comes in handy.  The pre-delay is the time between the original sound and when the actual reverb starts to become audible.  I personally like the sound of the pre-delay when it is in time with the song.  You can also experiment yourself and see what you like.  So what’s an easy way to find out how to set the pre-delay to the track?  Well there is two ways that I know of and you can decide what’s easier for you.

1.  Take out your favourite delay plugin and set the unit to the tempo of the song.  Now you can scroll through 1/4 notes, 1/8th notes, 1/16th notes etc.  Once you chose a setting your unit should allow you to turn that into milliseconds (ms).  Once you have that number than you can just copy it into your Pre-delay.  Experiment with the different times and see what you like best.

2.  You can also use the BPM and a calculator to figure it out.  I have become pretty efficient using this method so as you can imagine it is my choice of the 2 options.

What you need to do is take your tempo and divide it by 60,000.  So why 60,000?  Because there are 60 secs in a minute (beats per MINUTE) and there are 1000 ms in a sec. so that 60,000 ms in a min.   Also since the notes are in ms we need to find out exactly what they are.  So once you divide your bpm by 60,000 the first result would be a 1/4 note. Then if you divide it by 2, you will get an 1/8 h note.  Divide that by 2 and you will get a 1/6th note and so on an so forth.  Lets see an example below.

a. 60,000 / 120 bpm = 500 ms (1/4 note)

b. 500ms / 2 = 250 ms (1/8th note)

1/4 note   = 500 ms
1/8th note   = 250 ms
1/16th note = 125 ms
1/32th note = 62.5 ms
1/64th note = 31.25 ms

Final Thoughts

I think you get the idea by this time.  So once you get these results you can plug them in and see what you like.  Also experiment with triplets and dotted notes :).

Good Luck!

Click Here to View Part 2 (Manipulating the Reverb Return)

YouTube Video Source: Using Reverb on Vocals Like a Pro (Pre Delay)

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