Using sidechain to create a unique reverb sound
In this article, we will take a look at a reverb technique thats often used on lead synths in EDM.
The characteristic lies in having just reverb sound during the open spaces in the lead synths playing.
Lets first compare a DRY, regular reverb, and edited reverb signal.
（First 2 bars lead synth only, last 2 bars lead synth + beat）
DRY (no reverb)
Regular reverb applied
Edited reverb applied
To achieve this effect, we must utilize the previously mentioned technique of「side chain」.
The set up is easy if you have a basic knowledge of send/return tracks and side chain.
First, set up the routing as shown below.
- 1. Edit reverb on the lead via send
- 2. Insert a side chain comp after the reverb on the AUX track
- 3. Set the side chain comp to trigger to the lead synth, and edit to a setting you like
Send & return tracks by DAW
Applying side chain by DAW
Next, we will set up the compressor used to side chain.
- RATIO set as high as possible
- ATTACK set fastest
- Release set to the BPM or lead phrase timing
※ In the sample picture, it’s set to around 100ms（1/16 in BPM128）, but this is just an example.
Listen to your track and feel it out while trying this.
In addition, the type of compressor you select is important.
A compressor that comes with your DAW,
with a default settings sometimes lacks the attack to hit the sound quickly.
Here, we recommend using a FET type
fast attack response compressor that recently comes with many DAWs.
Below, we attached some sounds comparing basic DAW compressors, and DAW FET type compressors.
You can probably hear a little bit of reverb still remaining on the head of a lead synth sound (for the basic comp).
FET type compressor
You can create a unique type of effect with a reverb that has a reverse function.