Adding Reverb To Your Drums in Logic Pro X
Updated: Sep 26, 2020
The amount of people I see still adding reverb plug-ins to inserts amazes me! Some people say it sounds better and although with mixing most things are to personal taste, this is bad practice.
A lot of engineers on forums will say you put your reverb plugins on an auxiliary track to save the CPU of having 10x as many reverb plugins in your session. This does save CPU however this isn't the reason for putting reverb plugins on a send.
The inserts on your DAW are an effects chain, meaning all plugins in this chain don't act on the audio of the track independently from each other. If you have a compressor first followed by an eq, the eq will only act on the output from the compressor and so on. You can compare this to plugging a guitar into a compression pedal, then into an eq pedal and into an amp.
The overall sound of your track will differ depending on the order in which you place the effects/plugins in this effects chain. This is okay for dynamic processing, modulation and EQ, however if you add time-based effects into this chain it can sound very un-natural.
For example, if you were to automate or manually turn down the output of the track to 0dB, the reverb would suddenly cut off as soon as the output reaches 0db. This would never happen with reverb naturally as there would still be reverb releasing after the audio itself reaches 0dB. Reverb doesn't naturally just cut off when the sound source stops, as it's the sound of space.
How do I apply Reverb correctly?
To apply reverb correctly you must create an effects loop with your reverb in. This is why guitarists should put their reverb/delay pedal in between their amp's send and return, NOT between the guitar and amp.
To do this you need to firstly create an Auxiliary channel for your reverb to sit on. In Logic Pro X, click 'Options' in the mixer window and select 'Create New Auxiliary Channel Strip'. Rename your track to 'Drum Reverb'.
After this, change the input of the auxiliary channel you just created to a 'bus' that's not already taken, I always personally use 'Bus 1' for drums. This bus will shuttle some of the audio from your drum tracks to the auxiliary track and through the reverb plugin.
To send the audio from all your drum tracks to the auxiliary, you must assign the bus as a send on each of them. A quick way to do this is to highlight all your drum tracks, click the empty block next to 'Send' on any of the tracks and choose 'Bus 1' (or whatever bus you have assigned your auxiliary channel to).
Once your effects loop has been set up, assign the reverb of your choice to the auxiliary track 'Drum Reverb'. You can use the green virtual knob next to the send on each channel to dial in how much audio from that track you want to send to the aux. The more you send, the more prominent the reverb will be.
Also, don't forget to lift the fader of the Drum Reverb track!!
If you'd like this information visually, check out this video tutorial from Eddie at The Professional Musician Academy
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