Reverb on mix buss

I have a question.

I’m curious how often (if at all) people use a reverb send on their mix buss. I never do, but I’m wondering how commonly it’s used that way.

I only use reverb only on tracks or instrument buses. If one did use it on their mix buss, I’m sure it’d have to be a very, very little bit. Not sure it’d be necessary: it would seem to me that if you applied it properly on the tracks you wouldn’t need it there.


I don’t think I’d ever put reverb on a mix bus. To me, the whole point of reverb is to create space in a mix, and more importantly, contrast within that space. Some elements are close, some are far. I don’t see why you’d want everything to be farther away at the same time… seems like it would just make the whole mix sound a bit muddier. Just my thoughts on it.

I do it sometimes, probably a few examples on here, even. You have to do it very subtly, so you can barely hear ANYTHING when muting/unmuting it, I mean to the point you are not even sure…then widen the mix just a touch after that. Be careful with compression afterwards.

Its like every eq bump I do on masters, you cant hear them individually, until they are all stacked up. :wink:

The only time I would do it was if I didn’t have access to the tracks and was only dealing with mixdown. If I was mixing a song, I can’t think of a time where I’ve wanted to add the same reverb across everything.

I’m a bit surprised by your question and the responses…If you think about ’verb as an acoustical phenom, which it is, then the way you go about using artificial reverb should be informed by that fact. Granted, for purely synthetic music and a synthetic feel, you may want add reverb piecewise, but often that produces a jumbled and disjointed soundstage. Many engineers create an imaginary space, with reverb on the 2Mix, plus panning and EQ for distance/placement cues on the track, placing all the players in that space. Side benefit; you don’t have as much to worry about when creating an aural “pocket” for a particular instrument.

Bottom line: How and when you use artificial reverb really depends on the style and genre. Many, many amazing records were made with only a plate or foil on vocals and the rest of the ambience produced by musicians playing in a real space and room mics+bleed providing all the ambiance. With practiced players, who know how to “work” a mic, and the right mic choices and placement, even the plate is optional unless (again) you’re going for a particular feel.

Realize that, during tracking, many musicians need reverb in their foldback to ease their performance, but that doesn’t or shouldn’t need to be printed on the track.

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Although it’s not a practice of mine, I have come across others that utilize low amounts of smaller space reverbs to help tie the mix together. It puts the whole band in the “same space” in theory. Seems like a good way to muddy up a mix to me, but that’s just my opinion

I do it a fair bit,not direct on the master but on a aux and put about 10-15 percent on.
A medium room or hall.Make sure to hp and low pass, 600 10k i do

I do it on every mix. It’s probably not necessary if I’m being honest.

I come to quite a different conclusion. In the real world, our ears are perfectly happy to accept different sounds coming from the different acoustic environments. Think about sitting in a dead-sounding room, watching an orchestra on TV where the microphones are picking up the reverb of the concert hall. Your partner calls from an echoing bathroom elsewhere in the house, while a car door slams outside with slap-back from nearby walls, birdsong comes from a nearby wooded area and an aircraft flies 20,000 feet overhead with a distant rumble percolating down through the atmosphere.

We hear jumbled up acoustic environments all the time and it’s totally natural. That’s before we get into the convention in recorded music of different tracks getting different reverb/ echo processing as required, meaning it’s a sound we’re totally familiar with from decades of immersion in the world of recorded music.

But, that’s just my view!

Personally, like some others here I’d only apply reverb to the stereo mix bus if I didn’t have another choice to get the effect I was looking for. I think it’s not unheard of in mastering.

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Hey Cirrus,
We do hear jumbled up acoustic environments all the time, but they are anything but natural in the strict sense. In your example, all of the sources except the TV would be convolved by the space in which the listener is sitting and would sound “natural.” You’d be able to close your eyes and know exactly where the are and how far away.
The TV audio, assuming it’s stereo, would be perceived as an artificial “soundstage.” So, a performance taking place on a “stage” trapped in the horizontal plane between the speakers sitting in the room.

I totally agree that, since the advent of electronically recorded and reproduced audio, we’ve become immune to the presentation of audio that detached from the natural environment.
I should have used “could” instead of “should”…What I want to say is that, if you want to create a convincing artificial environment, start by imagining a real space, then build it up w/the tools at hand…That said, for pop music, anything goes!

I think there are not that many styles of music where “natural” sound is the objective. Obviously there are certain types of unnatural that grate on our ears, but there are plenty of unnatural sounds, including reverb, that sound good.

I used to try to keep natural in mind when mixing, but I found that got in the way more than it helped.


Agreed. In fact adhering to any principle tends to hinder rather than help in my experience. Rule no. 1 (make it sound awesome) is difficult enough as it is without adding layers of shackles that make it even more difficult.

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Personally, I never use it on the 2 bus or 6 bus masters.