Future Music

Reverb: your mix glue friend

The sounds we use in our tracks come from all over the place. No wonder they’ll need a shared acoustic ‘space’ to feel glued


01 >

We’ve written a shamelessl­y ’80s influenced nostalgic track for a number of synths, including a pad, arps, sequences, an 1/8th-note bassline and a lead synth which enters in the second half. Alongside this we’ve got a dusty kick and a drum loop providing hats and snare.

02 >

The only sound really glueing the mix together at the moment is the pad. Its long release time smudges the edges of each chord move, giving the illusion of reverb. Without it, you can hear that everything sounds much more ‘stark’ and less knitted together. 03 >

We solo the arp part and create an auxiliary reverb channel, which features Valhalla’s VintageVer­b plugin. We select the 1980s Concert Hall algorithm. We use the EQ on its right-hand side to set frequency range between 360Hz and 8kHz, and reduce the BassMult amount in the damping section. The reverb is introduced second time around. 04 >

We send the other two ‘synth motor’ parts to the same reverb and set levels for each. The ‘Main Sequence’ features a left-hand part which is deeper. This sounds too woolly with too much reverb, so we add a gentler amount to this sound. By contrast the ‘Sequence Doubler’, which is brighter, can take more reverb level. 05 >

With the lead synth, we want to set the whole part back in the mix, rather than add a reverb channel to the dry sound. So we copy the auxiliary reverb settings to an inserted instance of the VintageVer­b Reverb on the lead channel. We set a wet mix of 40% and tweak EQ to taste.


It’s a common misconcept­ion that you can’t add reverb to bass sounds. A careful, subtle treatment can help ‘mix glue’. We add VintageVer­b as a bass insert effect, reduce reverb time considerab­ly and set wet mix at just 12%. Here, you can hear the bass going into the full ‘wet’ mix. Compare this to step 1.

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