How to create a simple filtered reverb

Add a healthy dose of resonant filtering to transform a traditional reverb return

Simple filtered reverb

A large expansive reverb can really breathe new life into sounds but you might find you want to add some extra dynamics. Tacking on extra processors and effects to your return channel can be a simple way to spice things up. In this case, a low-pass resonant filter has been used, in conjunction with some carefully recorded automation, to create the impression of a moving backdrop.

The great thing about treating your reverb in this way is that it can be treated as a totally separate entity. Imagine this new layer like a secondary oscillator in a synth patch. You can modulate or process the additional sound source without affecting the original. This gives you a great deal of control while retaining total clarity. This is awesome when working with a key element in your mix as you won't lose any impact during processing.

Step 1: Of course, you can treat anything using this method but sounds with long sustains or a continuous groove work especially well. Think musical loops, synth lines and vocal grooves here. In this case we've set up a simple send/ return routing for the reverb effect.

Untreated Loop

Step 2: When working with multiple effects on a reverb return it's often better to go with a patch that is oversized in nature. Here a classic algorithmic emulation is used to produce a very large hall effect with a tail that is perhaps longer than you would use in the mix.

Basic Long Reverb

Step 3: Once your reverb is set up, go ahead and insert a resonant filter plug-in on the return. You can now sweep the filter frequency and automate the results without affecting the original sound. The original character of the reverb can be left intact if the automation is correctly timed.

Reverb and Filter

For more tips on how to get creative with reverb, check out issue 297 of Future Music on sale now.

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