Mix glue with vintage reverb treatments
Through the following six steps, let’s glue a mix together with some careful vintage reverb choices
Our track starts with kick and hats from Battery 4, a basic bassline and a pad from Spitfire Audio’s Phobos. The two more dynamic parts are a guitar loop and an auto-panning synth pluck sequence. There’s no reverb added to the mix at this stage; it sounds very dry.
We start by sending the guitar loop to a treatment with UAD’s AKG BX 20 emulation. We use the EQ controls to thin out both treble and bass, whilst selecting a reverb time of around four seconds. As the frequency spectrum of the reverb is tamed, the overall sound feels more vintage.
We add the same reverb to the plucked synth part, which immediately glues the two sounds together. This is appropriate as they have some similarities in tone and in envelope shape. There’s a pleasing moodiness to these two feature sounds now.
We want a brighter, dirtier reverb for the top end of the mix, so we use the hats as a trigger for this. We pick Valhalla’s VintageVerb as our plugin for this purpose and spend time choosing the amount of high-frequency damping and top-end EQ attenuation. We’re using the Dirty Hall algorithm.
There’s plenty of both midrange and high-frequency content in the Phobos pad part, so we add both reverbs to this channel. This adds a new layer of mix glue; it seems right that the most sustained part of the mix feeds into both reverberant spaces.
We reintroduce the other sounds in the mix before deciding to add a little of the AKG BX 20 reverb to the bassline. This features plenty of bass roll-off, but to ensure things don’t get too muddy in the low midrange, we add FabFilter’s Pro Q-2, using a low shelf, to avoid muddiness.