In regards to using Reverb in your mixes, there is the average way of using it and then there is the smart way. Now I really don’t care how much reverb you are using or what brand you decide to use because It isn’t a subjective thing, I’m talking more about a technical one. If you use reverb the way I am going to show you then you will save your computers CPU and have much more control over your sound.
The Average Way to Reverb
When I first got into mixing I thought of reverb as an effect just like every other effect plugin. When I thought my vocal needed a verb effect, I would literally just pop one up and throw it onto the track. It made perfect sense to me at the time. If I wanted an effect like reverb on the vocal then I would just put it on. This is exactly the same way that I would approach EQ and compression but there is a couple things wrong with this approach.
The major issue with this approach is that you get what’s known as CPU strain. Just think about it for a second: you want reverb on your vocals, drums, guitars and maybe 10 other tracks in your song. Every time you put a reverb plugin on each track, you are using up a slot on your CPU. Most of the time you want a similar style and sound of reverb so why not send them all to the same plugin?
Using Reverb The Smart Way
An alternative to the average way to use reverb is the smart way of course. Instead of using a reverb plugin on every track in your session, you simply just load up an auxiliary track and place a reverb effect on it. So if you want that reverb effect on say an electric guitar, you need to create a send on the guitar and send some signal to the reverb. You can then blend the reverb back into the song and what’s created is a landscape to your guitar track.
The cool thing about doing it the smart way is that you only have one reverb plugin open and you can send as many tracks as you like. You can now send all those tracks to the reverb while only using that one instance and it only uses up resources for that one plugin. That’s a massive amount in power increase.
More Benefits to One Instance
Giving yourself more CPU resources is a good enough reason to use the smarter method but it really isn’t all you get. By placing your reverb on a new aux track you have a lot more control over the tone of that sound. You can also use automation tactics to create more or less reverb through the entire record. You can either automate the send or automate the return but either way you still have much more control.
The other benefit is that it’s just so simple to run a handful of your tracks into the same reverb. It can be used to instantly glue things together which can make your mix sound more cohesive. It’s cool because it takes almost no time, its super simple to set up and can really expand the sound you create. By setting up multiple reverb instances on different racks, you are more likely to create a mismatched sound.