Impact Reverb in Ableton

It's always very tempting to add reverb to your lead and vocal parts especially in more experimental genres like Techno and D'n'B but it does come at a cost, which is that you can lose the impact of your lead and vocal parts causing you to compress more and push the fader up; which in return begins the vicious cycle of eating up your little remaining head room. Within this blog post we will look at some creative ways to use reverb and time based effects and still maintain that impact which keeps your lead and vocal parts upfront in the mix and whilst still having that 3D image.

What we need first is a lead element, we can either use a track we have already in progress or for the purpose of learning this technique start with a new project and load in a dry (dry meaning no effects e.g. delay on it) sound. For this example lets use Mind Flux’s new FM8 Preset pack and choose a preset which will work well for a lead, if there is any effects on there like delay remember to take them off.

Once we have the sound in place and nice and dry we can look to create a melody, for this example let's use a somewhat sparse loop so we will be able to hear the effect of the reverb and other time based effects.

Now lets create a return effect with a reverb unit on there, once we have that in place lets send our synth there and so we can hear the effect of the reverb lets set the send to full. As you can hear the effect almost takes over the synth and becomes somewhat muddy.

Once you have the reverb setting you want lower the send a little and place a compressor on your return aux where your reverb is situated. Open up the compressors side chain section and set your synth to be the input. From there let's now set the threshold to clamp down on the reverb and with the release we can control how the reverb fades back in which can create very unique effects.

As you can tell this allows you to have very thick reverb’s on your lead sounds however you are still maintaining the impact of the synth sound.

We can also try this same effect but with a delay. So lets load our ping pong delay onto a new aux return and load in the same compressor settings. In the audio below there is one loop with the delay with out the side chain compressor and one with. As you can hear its created a very spaced effect without over taking the lead synth sound.

This effect is not only limited to your lead effects; it's great on drums to create reverb reversing into your drum style effects.

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