Constructing the 3 master mix reverbs using Melda MReverb

The art and science of working the main mix reverbs in series and in parallel using Melda's MReverb plugin..

Beat Construction


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The traditional approach to constructing reverb effects centered around the fact that three distinct reverb effects were required in any given mix situation. The idea was to create a reverb effect for the master mix, for the vocals and for the drums. Each reverb effect acted as a master reverb for ALL the sounds that fed into that reverb: the drums, vocal and master mix had their own specific reverb effects that were edited to cater for those particular sounds. Once the reverb effects were structured we would send certain amounts of each sound to the associated reverb effect. This technique worked so well that almost all mixes would adopt the three main reverb configurations as a starting template.

Nowadays, with advances in computer technologies, running multiple instances of reverb effects is the norm. We are no longer constrained by the limitations of CPU power or storage. Producers run effects at channel inserts with no worry of overloading the computer BUT this can impede the mix process and work against you. The reason we use to use the three main reverb protocol was because the three reverbs provided a gluing stage for all the sounds. If you use a master mix reverb for ‘space’ then all the sounds will dip into this reverb so that they all sound as if they are being played in the same space. The same applies to the dedicated drum reverb. The aim is that all the drum sounds are washed with the same reverb colour and thus ‘gluing’ them together. It’s a bit like recording the drum kit in one room as opposed to recording each drum component in different rooms. The goal is to make the drums sound as if they are in the same space. Vocals are a little different in that we might opt to use a gentle plate reverb for the lead vocal but choose a heavier reverb type for the backing vocals.

I still use the three main reverb protocol for exactly the reasons I have outlined above – that of gluing sounds together and having them swim in a single space. If I need a very specific type of reverb effect for a sound I will use the reverb processor at the channel’s inserts. BUT for all gluing tasks I use the auxiliaries provided by the DAW. That allows me to mix different amounts of reverb from channel to channel.

In the video I show you how to create dedicated master reverbs for vocals, drums and the overall mix. I explain what settings to use and how to run the reverb effects in parallel. I show you how to layer reverbs to create a smooth deep texture. I run through the best settings for each type of reverb and explain why we we use certain settings for vocals, drums and the mix.

Plugin used in this video:

Melda MReverb

Topics covered in this video are:

  • What are the three main reverbs
  • Density, Diffusion and Energy
  • Parallel processing pitfalls
  • Melda MReverb and how to use it
  • Blending and Bleed
  • Understanding the power of Early Reflections
  • Frequency smearing
  • Reverb smearing