Sidechain Reverb Audio Effect Rack
So what do I mean by sidechaining reverb? Well, if you’ve ever thrown a reverb on a sound, you might have noticed that the reverb tail starts to clash with the original signal's transient.
Now, you could obviously create separate tracks for your original signal and reverberated signal and chop the audio tails manually to preserve those transients. But an alternate technique that I love to use is to simply split up the original signal with an audio effect rack and add a sidechain compressor to the reverberated chain.
This is in fact a very simple, but effective technique
So here in Ableton I have a simple synth patch in Serum with an audio effect rack that I have created and stashed away for later use called FX Split.
The first chain is simply passing are “dry” or original signal through with no reverb.
The second chain has a Valhalla Vintage Verb, which is my favorite reverb plus an Ableton compressor with the sidechain featured activated.
For the sidechain’s External Source I've selected “My Sound” which is the current track with the Serum patch. And for the sidechain’s External Tapping Point I’ve selected “UT FX Split | Sound | Post FX” which is the other chain without the reverb.
So this means we are effectively going to duck the volume of our reverb signal with the volume of the original signal.
Now all we have to do is tweak the compressors Threshold, Attack & Release to our liking, which will allow us to find the right combination between our original signal and reverberated signal.
And additionally, we can always edit the Decay of the reverb sound with whatever reverb plugin you’re using or edit the "Sound + FX" chain volume directly as well.
So that is a handy way to preserve transients when adding reverb to your sounds, but this "FX Split” audio effect rack is also useful for other effects as well.
For example… let’s deactivate the reverb effect rack and drop down a simple delay.
*change settings to 2/2*
Now let’s create this effect rack from scratch. Select the simple delay. Hit Command + G to create an audio effect rack. Open up the chains. Right click, create chain. Label them accordingly. Now let’s drop down a compressor and route the sidechain accordingly.
So again, we are preserving the transients of each note, while also experiencing the delay effect.
One additional thing we could do to make the transients stick out even more, is to shape up the FX chain with an EQ.