Piano Reverb Processing

Learn how to craft the perfect reverb for pianos.


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Undoubtedly one of the most important instruments in any mix is the piano and constructing the perfect reverb for this wonderful instrument is a priority for most producers.

For me there is no instrument, bar the human voice, as expressive and dynamic as a piano and capturing the right reverb texture for this gorgeous instrument can be problematic. Let me explain why.

The piano is a dynamic instrument and spans a huge register: from low to high frequencies the piano maintains its dynamic response.

The piano is an acoustic, stringed musical instrument in which the strings are struck by hammers. A keyboard is used to trigger the hammers which in turn create the sound. The strings resonate at specific frequencies and the cabinet is used to further express the acoustical sound. Pianos have natural ambiance denoted by the cabinet, the way the hammers are struck and the pedals that control the dampening and sustain of the sound. You can now imagine why it is complex to shape a reverb to best express an already ambient instrument.
When sculpting a reverb for a piano recording one of the most important areas to address is that of natural ambiance. How do you add reverb to a sound that is already ambient? How can a space be expressed when the piano itself expresses the space by acoustical means?

It’s not all doom and gloom. In audio production we have all manner of analysing and processing tools to help us achieve any sonic goals we set for ourselves and processing piano reverbs is just another process we need to understand and utilise effectively.

In the video I use an existing dry piano sound and show you how to create various reverb textures using a reverb processor and dynamic tools. I explain what areas need to be addressed when sculpting a reverb texture. I explain how a reverb effect works and what settings to use to achieve a great piano reverb effect. I guide you through each and every process and explain why certain parameters have a huge impact on the way a piano sound is perceived.

Plugins used in this video:

Softube Summit Audio TLA-100A

Valhalla Room

Topics covered in this video are:

  • Constructing the perfect Piano Reverb
  • Pitfalls and good practices
  • Valhallaroom Reverb use
  • Understanding clarity
  • How to create the Reverb Bounce
  • Liquid reverb versus upfront reverb
  • The power of Early Reflections
  • Crossovers and how they are integral to creating the perfect reverb
  • Pre/Post Reverb EQ