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How to add a Reverse Reverb effect to your vocals

Oct 202017

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     The Reverse Reverb effect has been used in many songs and genres of music. From Nicki Minaj to Chris Cornell you name em, have all used this popular technique in their songs. What so special about this technique is that it can be applied as a transitional effect on vocals and instruments, with subtle or extreme presence in the mix. While this may be a cool and exciting effect to have on your vocals it's not a necessity and should be used sparingly as it may not always fit your song. Applying it to a song with an empty space right before the next line of your vocals come in may work when you're trying to add a slight build in your songs cadence. As the sound of this effect may appear to creep up on its listener with a subtle low ghostly echo, sweep that hints to the first word of the verse or chorus. To achieve this effect you'll need two things your vocals and some reverb.

 

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Step1- This usually occurs at the beginning of a verse or where there is a slight break in your vocal verses leading up to the next phrase. You'll be selecting (or highlighting) the first word of your verse. Make sure there are no dead space when your selecting your parts as it will bring unwanted artifacts in that will sound unappealing. See illustration below:

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Step 2- Once you've chosen your part you'll need to cut and copy to a new track. Now that it's cropped and clean with the exact parts you want to affect. You can now move on to the next step. See illustration below:

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Step3- You'll want to apply a large amount of reverb preferably the hall setting or anything in that range. You won't need to spend too much time tweaking the setting, because the idea is to add enough to where its very noticeable. See illustration below:

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Step 4- Bounce or record it into the vocal sequence. This is necessary for the next step ahead because you'll need to bounce out the a audio file for this to work. See illustration below:

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Step 5- Once you have bounced or recorded the audio file into your DAW, you now have to reverse it.
See illustration below:

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Step6-Trim back the audio just before it begins to form the first letter of the word. For example if we were to reverse the word “Hello”. Hearing the audio being played back to us would sound exactly how its spelled backwards “olleH”. Right before the pronunciation of the H, we would then crop (trim back) the audio clip so that it doesn't complete the word. See illustration below:

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Step 7- Align the audio clip so it's positioned for a smooth transition. You can do this by creating another track which would be easier to manage or simply keeping it on the same track and moving closer. If necessary apply a crossfade to the beginning of either audio clips. See illustration below:

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How to give your vocals more edge with effects

Oct 132017

 

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    Adding effects to your vocals can help emphasize your point while giving your song a unique edge of its own. This can be done in many ways, from subtle to extreme and with moderation. Knowing when to use these effect will come with experience and preference. The overall benefit to applying effects to your vocals is that it gives your song(s) edge, uniqueness and helps you as an artist stand out. Whether you decide to take the subtle or extreme approach, in this article I'll be explaining how you can apply effects to your vocals to give your songs more edge.

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1-Distortion-Believe it or not this is one of those most wildly used effects engineers use in their mixes. Often referred to as saturation because it adds warmth to the audio. But in this case we are looking to have the effect stand out with some harshness, that can be soften with some reverb and a D-esser (if necessary). This can be achieved by copying the lead vocals, bringing the level of the copied track down so the overall volume isn’t too loud while adding a separate bus track that has the distortion plug in off your choice. A combination of controlling the distortion signal being applied to the copied track and the volume of the copied track will based on preference. But if you want a clean sounding signal mixed with the audio then you'll want to apply as much distortion as possible. See illustration below: 

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2-Filter effects-Now we've all heard songs where the vocals sound thin as if their being re played from a radio or tiny speaker. Well this effect can be applied to your back up vocals or adlibs of your song as well. This can be achieved with a hi pass filter Eq, you basically want to remove as much of the low and mid frequencies as possible. The target frequency mark for the hi pass filter will be around 1.86 KHz. This effect can be applied on small parts of your song to emphasize cadence.  See illustration below:

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3-sidechaining reverb and delay- This is a technique used to add clarity on instruments mainly synthesizers and vocals that have reverb and delay applied to them. The issue that occurs with reverb is it can often overpower individual instruments as well as the entire mix. The remedy for this would be to side chain your reverb and delay. You do this by adding a compressor at the end of your FX bus track of your lead vocal mix shown in the illustration below: 

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 You can mute the previous effects temporarily until you've reached your desired compression settings(optional). Once you've reached your comfortable with, enable the previous effects and adjust the threshold and release to your liking. You should be able to hear the effects being controlled and slightly pushed under the vocals. Remember to bypass and enable to compare the difference from before and after.