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Author Topic:  Recording+Reverb
Chris Stainback


From:
Washington, USA
Post Posted 8 Nov 2017 11:23 am     Reply with quote

Hey folks, relative newcomer to steel playing now coming into the opportunity to do some recording. Was just hoping to get your approaches to reverb while recording (in a nutshell, anyway). Basically how much and when.

So far we've been erring on the side of pretty dry with the idea we can alway tag some on in post. Like cooking, you can always add salt after the dish is done, but can't really take it out. Anybody ever have trouble or good results with mixing amp/pedal reverb with post production plug ins? Does it sit naturally in the mix using a blend of both? Clearly I'm no studio engineer ('Confused')

Never had to worry about reverb before while playing bass.

Cheers and thanks,
Chris
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Mike Neer


From:
NJ
Post Posted 8 Nov 2017 11:39 am     Reply with quote

Personally, I don't like to record dry because I don't like to play dry (mostly). I want that little magic that I feel like good reverb can give me--even if it's not detectable by anyone else, as long as I hear it. Playing dry remind me of being on a carpeted stage that just absorbs all the sound and renders it dead. Yuck!

I almost always record with a little amp reverb. I prefer Fender amp reverb over all others, so I use a Fender amp. I don't have a problem with amp reverb and plug-in or processor 'verb being used--in fact, it makes it sound more natural.

As for your salt analogy, it doesn't work for me because i feel like salt is a necessary ingredient for bringing out flavor and triggering chemical reactions in the food. That's what 'verb does for me.

There is another type of production where you are trying to capture a specific kind of vibe, where the idea dictates whether or not reverb will be used. In those circumstances, I may play completely dry or very wet, but I do like to play loud. Smile
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Noah Miller


From:
Rocky Hill, CT
Post Posted 8 Nov 2017 12:02 pm     Reply with quote

When it comes to delay and reverb, I always record dry exactly for the reasons you mentioned (and because most of my studio amps were built in the days before onboard reverb). Other effects like phasers or fuzz are best applied before the amp rather than after, but time-based delays are easiest to manipulate in mixing. A lot of musicians have trouble adapting to a studio environment because a live setup often does not translate well to wax, but learning to record without delay or reverb is a huge advantage.
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Nic Neufeld


From:
Kansas City, Missouri
Post Posted 8 Nov 2017 12:17 pm     Reply with quote

I think different styles might approach this question differently...for some styles that bit of spring reverb is just so integral to the sound that its absence would alter the way the player plays. It's more a part of the tone itself than an added layer of ambience as a part of the recording process. A similar example would be recording a lead guitar track in a rock context...technically you could run the thing straight into the board and record it dry, then run it out into an amp later and add tube overdrive and all the "amp tone"....that would give you lots of flexibility to find the right tone you wanted, but for me the amp itself and the sustain and compression imparted by it are such that my playing would be altered without it being in play while recording.

If I was recording an acoustic instrument, dobro, sitar, etc., I would run it as dry as possible personally and do the ambience later, most likely a studio type digital reverb. But for some styles I would want a dose of amp reverb (just like the amp tone itself) involved up front as they are more a part of the overall instrument sound. YMMV!
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Chris Stainback


From:
Washington, USA
Post Posted 8 Nov 2017 2:54 pm     Reply with quote

Thanks everyone, keep it coming! Sounds like Mike and Nic are echoing (look it's a pun!) the way I kind of feel about it. Recording in the manner you would play seems like it'd elicit the most confident and natural sounding performance from the player and lend a live sound to the takes.
I understand the appeal of having a very pure sounding take to manipulate later especially given the sheer amount of contol you have over the parameters of the 'verb. Also would sure hate to ruin a good take with too much reverb that sounds great while you record it only to get buried once all of the other tracking is done. Seems like there could be applications for both/either.

Let's go deeper! Anyone ever experiment with big room sounds or re-amping?
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Orville Johnson


From:
Seattle, Washington, USA
Post Posted 8 Nov 2017 3:28 pm     Reply with quote

It's pretty easy to set up an amp to sound just the way you like it and run thru a splitter and take a dry direct signal from your guitar and have all options available for mixing. You could re-amp the direct sound, blend the direct with the live amp, etc. I agree that its important to have a sound when you're playing that allows you to play the way you're used to and not be "looking ahead" to what it will be after you add all the sauce. but if you're worried about what might be there at mix time, taking a live and a direct signal will give you anything you need.
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Andy Henriksen


From:
Michigan, USA
Post Posted 8 Nov 2017 5:07 pm     Reply with quote

Or similar to Orville’s suggestion, you could record dry and add some reverb into the monitor/headphone mix but not record it. Should be pretty easily done with some basic bus/routing setup tweaks.
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Chris Stainback


From:
Washington, USA
Post Posted 8 Nov 2017 7:13 pm     Reply with quote

Holy cow, Orivlle. How did I not think of that?! Talk about having your cake and eating it too. I guess the one time we tried a DI steel sound it was really awful, I wrote it off entirely. Re-amped and used in tandem with the mic-ed amp sound I'm sure it'd be much more pallateable. That might just be the ticket.
Man, If you ever find yourself in Skagit County I owe you a beer for that pearl.

I still want to hear everyone's input on recording though, especially experimenting with room sounds, alternate mic-ing, and the like. (Should I save that talk for a new thread or the electronics section?)

Here we used a little "ruby" amp I built out of a 70's 2.5" home theater speaker for the bulk of the steel sounds. Not really a "good" tone but sure is something different.
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Jack Stoner


From:
Inverness, Fl
Post Posted 9 Nov 2017 3:22 am     Reply with quote

Everybody has their opinions on how to record. Direct/mic'd/two mics, etc. I usually record lead guitar and steel dry and add what I want with VST's. However I've also mic'd instruments with effects. Just depends. I just got a Steel Guitar Black Box and plan on recording direct with that the next time I record steel.

I saw an article from a major rock engineer in NYC state he ran a dry track, a mic'd track with effects, another mic'd track with a different brand mic located at a different axis from the speaker and finally a fourth track with a mic at a different location to the speakers. Put them all in the final mix.
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Scott Duckworth


From:
Etowah, TN Western Foothills of the Smokies
Post Posted 9 Nov 2017 4:21 am     Reply with quote

I use a Tascam DP-008EX to record with, and add the reverb using it after the fact.
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Stefan Robertson


From:
London, UK
Post Posted 9 Nov 2017 6:27 am     Reply with quote

Also depends on the player's playing approach. If you are melting chords fluidly one into another then Reverb softens that move.

Like a pedal steel.

But I prefer clean and dry and add that stuff later.
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Tom Wolverton


From:
San Diego, CA
Post Posted 9 Nov 2017 6:35 am     Reply with quote

I always record dry, but I also patch reverb into the monitor mix so I enjoy the tracking experience better.
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Dom Franco


From:
Beaverton, OR, 97007
Post Posted 12 Nov 2017 11:49 am     Reply with quote

Yep... what Tom said!

I record the steel dry into the recorder, but the channel (return) that the steel plays back on has some tasty delay/reverb etc. That way I can hear the way it is going to sound in the final mix. (The effects are not being recorded on the steel track at all)

dom
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Jim Sliff


From:
Lawndale California, USA
Post Posted 12 Nov 2017 10:02 pm     Reply with quote

Virtually every experienced recording hand - whether engineer or player - records every instrument dry. Some have reverb mixed to taste into headphone/earbud monitors, but never on a track itself - no matter what the instrument. Even if heavy reverb is planned it's added later.

Recording with any effect is a one-way ticket - if you end up laying down a great track but don't like the reverb there's not a thing you can do to "fix" it.

Record dry, then apply effects to appropriate tracks when mixing.
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Mike Neer


From:
NJ
Post Posted 13 Nov 2017 6:20 am     Reply with quote

Jim Sliff wrote:
Virtually every experienced recording hand - whether engineer or player - records every instrument dry. Some have reverb mixed to taste into headphone/earbud monitors, but never on a track itself - no matter what the instrument. Even if heavy reverb is planned it's added later.

Recording with any effect is a one-way ticket - if you end up laying down a great track but don't like the reverb there's not a thing you can do to "fix" it.

Record dry, then apply effects to appropriate tracks when mixing.


I think if you look at certain artists, like Danny Gatton, Jim Campilongo, Bill Frisell, the reverb (and sometimes other effects) is part of their sound and they record with it. This is how I approach it, too, when I am recording music that I have control over. On a session for someone else, they get the say. But today’s plugins are excellent for duplicating spring reverbs—not 100% convincing, but close.

One thing to keep in mind is that in editing, reverb tails can be problematic.
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Fred Treece


From:
California, USA
Post Posted 13 Nov 2017 7:47 pm     Reply with quote

I agree with everyone who said get the verb at least into the headphone/monitor mix. But like Mike Neer, I believe you play your amp's reverb, whereas post-fader ambient digital reverb feels like an add on. Danny Gatton could probably play his rockabilly stuff dry as an old graham cracker if he had to, but I bet he played it better and had more fun with that slapback delay maxed out.
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