Creating a Master Mix Reverb

Learn how to create the perfect stereo master bus reverb.

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The master mix reverb is the most important reverb you can use as the reverb denotes the overall space that all sounds will reside in. Additionally, you can use the master mix reverb to gel sounds so that they all sound as if they belong together. We apply the same gluing principles when we use compression and limiting to marry sounds together.

Before we can structure the master mix reverb we need to understand what reverb is and how it can be used to create the illusion of a virtual space.

I recommend you watch this FREE tutorial Reverb Effect – what is it and how does it work before you start to create reverb responses for your mix projects.

Using a reverb as a ‘wash’ effect is not the same as using a reverb to denote a given space. Wash reverbs are great for drenching certain sounds in a soup of reverb but useless when it comes to representing a given space. Wash reverbs tend to be colour based as opposed to type or space: type being a plate or spring etc and space being a structured space for the sounds to sit in.

To be able to create a really powerful and clean reverb for the master mix we need to micro edit the reverb’s parameters making sure to understand how the time related parameters of the reverb are affected by the tempo of the mix. Additionally, we need to make sure that clarity is maintained at all times because there will be many sounds feeding into this reverb and congestion will invade your mix in no time at all.

Sculpting the reverb to denote a given space is often harder to achieve than using a type specific reverb (eg: using a plate for vocals). Type specific reverbs are perfect for processing specific sounds but not as adaptable for creating spaces. The space’s qualities need to be understood to best manipulate the reverb’s parameters. It’s not very useful to select a hall reverb and have zero pre delay as that negates the whole concept of creating a space for all sounds to sit in. A basic understanding of how we perceive space in the virtual domain will take you a long way in structuring your reverbs.

In the video I explain the parameters of a reverb and how they affect the overall behaviour and colour of the reverb. I show you how to create space for the master mix reverb and use a stereo mix to demonstrate how to best process each parameter to achieve the space you want. I show you how to use EQ and filtering to clean or colour the reverb so that you end up with a silky smooth mix reverb.

Plugin used in this video:

FabFilter Pro R

Topics covered in this video are:

  • Requirements for the Master Mix Reverb
  • Understanding and nailing the parameters
  • Mix and Aux
  • FabFilter Pro R functions and use
  • Master Bus Reverb filtering
  • Sympathetic and complimentary EQ
  • Clarity versus colour
  • Phase and Filters
  • Stereo and narrow banded
  • Wide and Spatial control