Just Reverb Size
Sometimes, a large ambient reverb is just what's needed in a piece of music or film. I find this especially true on keyboard pads, percussion hits, and dramatic piano pieces. In this instance, let's examine a quick and easy way to get a small dry piano part sounding much bigger with the Sonnox Reverb.
Here is a short piano and drum loop cue with no reverb.
A good place to start would be in the presets menu. Open up Ambience > Just Reverb Size and place it on a stereo Auxiliary track in your DAW.
Then create a send on the chosen track (in this case the piano) and assign it to the reverb. Push the send up enough until you start to hear some ambience. Of course, the further you push up the send, the more reverb you will hear on the piano part.
EQ the Reverb
Even just a touch of the ambience already helps out the vibe of the part. But with the Sonnox Reverb, you can dig into some of the parameters and make it fit the part perfectly. By selecting the EQUALISER tab, you've now got access to a full 5-band fully parametric EQ with LF and HF filters. In the case of the piano, I'd like to take a little high end off the reverb to warm it up a bit and add a touch of low mids to help punch it through small television speakers.
Time and Mix
For a bit more overall reverb space, you can push up the Reverb Time in the REVERB TAIL section. In this case, I've increased it to 5.44 seconds, which then helps the piano notes slightly bleed into each other. Since it's just a simple minor scale, the notes work together to make it a bit more lush, and in this case, creepier.
Also, in the OUTPUT sections, I've pulled down the REVERB MIX fader to around 0.71, which creates a blend between the TAIL of the reverb, and the ER (Early Reflections). This can of course be blended to taste, and by pulling down the fader even farther towards ER, it will dry up some of the long tail and increase the shorter Early Reflections.
Here is an example of the piano and loop both being fed into the Just Reverb Size preset with just a slight modification to the EQ, Reverb Time and Reverb Mix.
As you can hear, with just a few simple tweaks, the Sonnox Reverb can take a dull, dry piano and loop part and turn it into something much more interesting!
Rich Tozzoli - Producer/mixer/composer and journalist Rich Tozzoli specializes in 5.1 Surround Sound production, and has mixed for such artists as Blue Oyster Cult, David Bowie, The Maralis Family, and HD networks such as HBO and PBS. He's composed for Panasonic ToughBooks, Nickelodeon, Discovery Channel, NBC Olympics and many others.