Reverb Compression for Drums

Cool techniques for processing compressed reverbs for Epic Drum sounds.

Beat Construction

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The biggest problems associated with compressing reverb effects are that of frequency smearing and response control.

Frequency Smearing

Reverb and low frequencies just don’t marry well. We producers spend more time trying to manage low frequencies than any other frequencies and no matter how hard we work at getting the low frequencies to sit nicely in the mix we know that once reverb is applied clarity goes out of the window. Nothing smears a reverb’s response more than low frequencies. Reverb effects are presented with all manner of filtering options for exactly this type of a problem. We can use the reverb effect’s built-in filtering or EQ section to remove frequencies that smear or cause other anomalies like a brittle high frequency response.


Now let us look at the other problem associated with using a compressor on the reverb effect – that of response control.

The minute a compressor is strapped across a reverb auxiliary, or at the DAW’s channel inserts post reverb, it is the compressor’s controls that shape the reverb. It is the compressor that now controls the reverb’s response (shape), so if you have spent hours getting your pre delay just right, nailing the decay for a smooth reverb tail and sorting out a nice wispy texture using the diffusion feature you can kiss all that goodbye as the compressor now rules the response.

Understanding how the compressor’s parameters affect the reverb response is the first step in taking back control.

In the video I show you how to structure the reverb to accommodate the compressor. I explain how the compressor affects the reverb’s response and what settings to use to get the optimum result. I use a drum beat to trigger the compressor post reverb and show you how to best work the two processes together and at the same time. There are ways to overcome all the inherent problems associated with reverb compression and I make sure to share them with you.

Plugins used in this video:

FabFilter Pro R

Steinberg Compressor

Topics covered in this video are:

  • Pitfalls of using Reverb on low frequency sounds
  • Filtering practices
  • Compression tactics for Reverb
  • Smearing
  • Pre or post compression for Reverb
  • Reverb settings
  • Controlling sub frequencies
  • Using frequency smearing to your advantage
  • Pumping Reverbs