Reverb is simple, right? But sometimes people don’t know the best way to set it up. It’s one of those things you wouldn’t know unless somebody showed you, so here it is. 🙂

By the way, this principle applies to you even if you’re not using Pro Tools. It’s the standard “Send/Return” technique for setting up effects like reverb and delay.

Enjoy!

If you’d like to go deeper into understanding how to use reverb and delay, become a VIP member and get access to Understanding Reverb and Delay plus tons of other training videos and a community forum.

  • Judy Huang

    Hi Joe,

    I found that the effects of the plugins in Pro tools don’t sound as good as the ones that come from an external reverb unit. How do I send my sounds out of Pro tools to the mixer, add reverb from my Lexicon  and then record back to my Pro Tools sessions?

    Please let me know, thanks. 
    Judy

    • Hi Judy. First off, I would challenge you to play with the stock plugins a little more. They actually do sound really good, but you have to find the right settings.
      As far as sending to that reverb. You’ll just create a send like I showed in the video, only send it to an actual output on your audio interface. Then physically connect that output to your reverb. Then connect your reverb’s outputs to a pair inputs on your interface.
      Create an aux track and set its input to that same set of inputs from the reverb, and you’re ready to go!

  • Antonio Freitas

    Regarding the PRE-POST, I have an observation.
    As usual, great info for making efficient use of both the computer and using a reverb that will help make the song appear to have been played within one setting/room/hall (glue it together). I have one constructive comment. I have been on both sides off the audio; live engineer for many years and also project studio. The PRE/POST is very useful When using one mixer for MAINS and MONITOR on the stage. PRE is good to send to monitors (a separate submix that we do not want to change as we move the faders), while the POST is best for EFFECTS. But there were a few LIVE instances when I found it best to have the monitoring on a POST setting. So, in the end, it is still the engineer’s call.
    Good post, Joe.

    • Yeah, PRE can become much more useful in a live setting. I rarely use it in a mix.

  • mike jacobs

    Hi joe thanx for all the great tips,do you put a eq on your aux buss after the reverb if so could you please give some advise on eq’ing the reverb.
    thnx
    mike

    • Hey Mike, I normally use a fairly aggressive high-pass filter and roll off everything below 400 Hz or so. It keeps the reverb from being muddy.

      If the reverb is too bright, I’ll use a slight low-pass filter to roll off some of the high end. That’s a GREAT way to keep the reverb subtle.

  • DonB

    Thanks, Joe. Sometimes it’s good to have some confirmation that what I’ve discovered on my own is a good way.

    I use REAPER, but I do essentially the same as you describe when I have more than one track using the same FX. Although, for a single track using a reverb I will often add the FX to the track itself (no separate bus). At least in REAPER (I don’t know PT) you can bring up any parameter’s trim control to be with the track control. (wet mix, pan, predelay, etc…) Easy to automate that way, as well.

    By the way, sending several tracks to a single bus has other uses, too. Example: I have recorded a choir with several mics. I get the mix where I want it between mics. That won’t change for the song. So I send all choir tracks to a “choir bus” (post, with no master output on the individual tracks). Then I can control the choir volume (and other parameters) with one set of track controls. I guess you would call that a sub-mix.

    I do have some questions about reverb. Is it useful to use a reverb on the master track? Or is that mostly an effect used only on individual tracks? If so, would you use reverb on individual tracks/buses, then ANOTHER reverb on the master? (cumulative reverb??)

    Maybe you should do an “understanding reverb” series. I’d be interested.

    • Yep, I subgroup almost everything in a mix. Drums, guitars, background vocals, etc. Great tool.

      I wouldn’t put reverb on the master. I don’t want stuff like kick drum and bass going to my reverb. I usually use one or two reverbs, and send individual tracks to it.

      As far as an Understanding Reverb series. I’m doing one next week for my VIP members. $5 gets you in. Click here to join.

  • Jimmy

    Hey Joe,

    When setting up reverb buses, do you like to set up one for vocals and a separate set for the rest of the instrumends, to allow you to apply delay to the send?

    -Jimmy

    • If I want delay, I’ll use a completely separate send and delay bus. I’ll normally do one reverb for drums and one reverb for everything else. Then delays on specific instruments as needed.

  • Kyle

    I seriously feel this is the most amazing site for advice on recording yourself you have great technique and very good advice to give out. I myself am just starting to record and from you i have learned a lot. So thank you and keep up the good work!

  • Jarcelyn

    Great site I’ve been browsing on here for a few days. I just started creating sends because i did used reverb on alot of tracks and my laptop couldn’t handle it. But why would you create a stereo AUX send for a MONO track?

    • Because reverb is a stereo effect. You’re sending a single, mono vocal signal into a stereo reverb.

      Think of it this way. You have one mouth (mono) and two ears (stereo).

      • Jarcelyn

        Oh gotcha. So should all the effects be stereo?

        • Do whatever sounds best. There aren’t any rules really. If the effect sounds better in stereo, use that.

  • This is the best site I have ever seen. I have asked so many people about everything, how , why , tell me , show me , and you always get the runaround or they just don’t know. Everything you do is what I have always wanted to know. It is a pitty that the little video boxes are so small. Thank you for your time and free advise. Everyone wants to charge me for them giving me nothing. All of the people I like know about you now. Thank you soooo much !

    • Wow. Thanks Paul!! I’m so glad to have you as a new reader.

  • Randall Yeager

    Hey Joe, where you goin' with that gun in… oh, wait. How did you get the little fader to appear with your send? I'm using Pro Tools 8.0.3 M-Powered on a Mac. I've just never seen that as an option, so I just click on the bus for a fader option. I don't have experience with an earlier version of PT, so maybe things have changed if you're using something else. Thanks.

    • Hey Randall! Just hold down Command (or Control on the PC), and click on the
      little dot on the left-hand side of the send.

  • JohnnyRockU

    Great Stuff..
    Do you to track exchange with beginner Pro Tool users with Non HD M Powered 8 ?????

    • I'm sorry, I don't understand your question.

  • JohnnyRockU

    Good Stuff Joe….
    Do you do email track exchange consult with non HD Pro Tools M powered 8 beginning users??

  • Mike78

    Fantastic! Can’t believe I didn’t look this up before. Awesome work, very easy to follow. Thanks a million!

    • You are most welcome, Mike. Come back again soon!

  • So good I had to subscribe! Hey man, this is simple to set up, yet I did not know it! I guess you can do this with distortion and other plugins, right? Also, you mention that the reverb that comes with Pro Tools is not good… what do you look for in a quality reverb? Sample sites?

    • Yep, you can use this with any plugin. Typically you only use sends and auxes for effects that you want to place across multiple audio tracks.

      You know, as far as the reverb that comes with Pro Tools, there are certain algorithms that sound just fine. However, plugins like Altiverb sound great. I use several of the Waves reverbs, which are included with things like their Silver and Gold bundles.

      • Hey Joe,

        It is fairly easy to understand How to use “sends” to do what you explain so well here. What I don’t get, and I guess I need experience, is how to recognize a good reverb. Is this something you measure or is it something you hear?

        • It’s definitely something you hear. A lot of cheap reverbs sound very fake, especially when the reverb “tails off.”

  • nice first video! don’t have protools but good tips to know. you should make a video about vocal plug-ins in general, like adding EQ and compression and whatnot, would like to learn more about that.
    who was that singing by the way? sounded nice lol

    • Thanks Saul. Good ideas on vocal plugins. I’ll add it to the list! I’m not sure who that vocalist is…but he sure was awesome. ; )

  • Mohad

    Great things. I got used to work ON Magix Samplitude and there is a big plan to move to Protools. I like your explanation too much.

    Mohad

    • Thanks! I’ve got a few friends who swear by Samplitude. It’s a good program.

  • Very cool Joe…
    Always a great thing when those with knowledge share it as you do.
    Thanks, and great web site, will be back often.

    • Thanks Ed. I’ve got a lot of cool ideas for more articles and videos. Glad you’ve enjoyed it so far!

  • Darrick Smith

    Great video joe :), I don’t use pro tools but it was a nicely done video! interface looks pretty good, maybe i should switch to that from FL studios..

    • Thanks Darrick. FL Studio is cool, but Pro Tools is my go-to DAW.

  • i love it…now i don’t have to call you anymore…smile…. nevertheless, congrats! this is good stuff.

    cheers

    martell

    • Maybe you can call me once in a while, eh? : )