Reverb for Operatic Vocals

hmchristian7020

New member
Hey everyone,

So I'm pretty new to mixing but I want to be able to record myself singing for auditions and competitions coming up. Unfortunately, due to COVID, I am unable to use the reverberant church spaces and accompanists I could before. I found this recording of Nicolai Gedda, and it looks like he is singing in a dry broadcast room, and they're adding the reverb in post to the voice and piano. Can you help me figure out how to recreate this for myself?

youtube. com/ watch?v=3L6Zv2sB9lU

(remove the spaces)

I have the mics and interface covered (2 AKG Perception Small Diaphram Condensers, and an Audio Technica 2035, though it looks like they're using a dynamic mic in the video and I have some of those too), I'm using Reaper and for plugins, I have theReaper stock plugins, Scarlett Reverb from Focusrite, and Voxengo Old Skool Verb.

Any Ideas?
 

gecko zzed

Grumpy Mod
If you do not have a naturally reverberant space in which to record, you have to record in the space you have and add the reverb later.

In Reaper, this is easy enough to do.

1. Record your voice
2. On the track header, click on FX, scroll down to Cockos, and click on that
3. Click on VST: ReaVerb, then click on 'Add"
4. Where it says 'No Preset' click on the down arrow and selectg 'sweetverbo'
5. Play your track, and adjust the 'wet' fader to get the desired amount of reverb. The default level of 'wet' is usually a bit too much.
 

hmchristian7020

New member
I know that, I'm trying to recreate the specific reverb they used in the video. I like the tone, space, and decay time of it, but Im having a hard time finding the right reverb style and settings for it. I think it's a plate? but I'm not sure.
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
I've never managed to ever 'fingerprint' a reverb, and if you look in the video the mic is a fair way away, so you need a complimentary one. I have loads - probably in them all could be maybe 300+ different programmes. Out of that prob ably conservative number I have 3 different popular ones, and in those, maybe 3 or 4 I go to for opera - ones I don't use for anything else really. The process for me, is take the dry sound and have a good listen and see what is already there, then add something sympathetic. I quite like, as starting points, small churches or larger concerns halls - and work from there. To be honest, the one in the video sounded pretty inappropriate for the visuals - clearly artificial (Nice, but wrong). The piano was pretty horrible though, wasn't it!
 

TalismanRich

Well-known member
For reverbs, my favorites are the Samplicity impulses of the Bricasti reverbs. From there you should be able to find something very close to what is on that video.

You can find them on the old Samplicity pages in the Internet Archives.

Samplicity's Bricasti M7 Impulse Response Library v1.1 - Samplicity (they will be a slow download, but the files aren't that big)

Put the files in a folder for Reaper, and load the ReaVerb plugin. Select file and navigate to the folder with the impulses. Then its just a matter of setting the amount of reverb to your signal.
 

jimmys69

MOODerator
There is likely no possible way to re create the exact room/reverb of a recording not done in the exact room/without the same mics/musicians/recording gear/on and on....

All you can do is mimic what you have to be similar.

I am not about to assume anything or give advice if the link you gave is what I found from your instruction. Because that is so low-fi it not even worth commenting on.

Or maybe I put the spaces in the wrong spot and got crap? If so my bad.

If you want honest response and opinion, you have to start from the beginning like we all do. It is not just as easy as asking for a preset. You have to experiment and find it yourself.

Not trying to be a dick, but it really is an impossible question to answer.
 

hmchristian7020

New member
So to answer some things, While I know you cant copy a room tit for tat, but I would love help knowing style of reverb it is, or just some general tips in the right direction for this genre. Is it a plate, a spring, etc. I've been playing around with different ones, and release times, pre delay, etc and had an issue finding one that worked well. When I've used reverb based on spaces like halls and rooms, they've always been too muddy for my tastes. I'm used the sanctuary I recorded in until now and never had to worry about this.

And to answer the comment about it being too low fi, I did a blind test with several professional opera singers and directors, where I took their recent recordings and ran it through tube, transistor, tape, and 1950s vinyl emulations to make them saturated and lo fi, and everyone unanimously liked the low fi versions more, because it makes the singer's timbre sound bigger and darker, boosted overtones/squillo, while suppressing the instruments.
 

CSP

New member
If you are referring to the first clip on Youtube where he is in the TV studio, being a 1969 recording and definitely from the sound, I would state almost positively that the reverb was from a 6ft (1800mm) EMT Plate set with a very short reverb time.

I doubt if you will be able to reproduce this sound exactly, because I have not heard one digital version of a "Plate Reverb" that sounds exactly like the EMT Plate.

I used to have one in my studio (locked away in a very dead and sound-proofed room) and when digital versions came on to the market, not a single one had the same sound, you could always tell that they were electronically achieved/sampled sounds.

Not sure if you know how the plate worked. In the centre of the plate there is an electronic transducer (similar to a speaker) that causes the plate to vibrate (much like throwing a small stone into a pond), about a 1/4 way towards each end of the plate were situated two pickups (sort of like the pickups on an electric guitar), the amount of reverb that the plate produced and the decay time was acquired by moving a damper on the plate (much like the damper pedal on a piano).

The sound produced by the plate had a very clean almost metallic sound, with the plate that I had having a reasonably large remote control that could control all the parameters, so as to avoid having the visit the room to make any changes.

I would almost guarantee that unless you can find a studio that has an original EMT Plate, you will not get the exact same sound, also being in a TV studio, the room is virtually dead, so that the room will not be adding any acoustic reverb or sound colour.

David
 

JonTheMixEng

New member
So I'm pretty new to mixing.
I have the mics and interface covered (2 AKG Perception Small Diaphram Condensers, and an Audio Technica 2035, though it looks like they're using a dynamic mic in the video and I have some of those too), I'm using Reaper and for plugins, I have theReaper stock plugins, Scarlett Reverb from Focusrite, and Voxengo Old Skool Verb.

Any Ideas?

Hey HMchristian! I think an important thing to jump on here is, as new mix engineer, is to try and break down the situation, which I think a lot comments did really well with some points from you and and others. Are you going to get the exact sound? Well, no that would be impossible. But can you get really close? Most definitely, especially with a bit of practice and examination of your gear and the gear audible and visible in the video you've shared.

Some good points made:

short reverb is audible - plate like (and if youre new to plates definitely look up the science behind them it is quite fascinating)
Distance from the microphone (can anybody identify that mic? )
That dude is an opera singer and has some real output volume
There are several other microphones in the room visible in the video (below the couches where the other guests are sitting)
The year is 1969 according to the video, so tape machines were used adding a non zero amount of soft clipping
...and probably some other stuff I didnt catch.

Now identify what those factors mean and how that impacts how the recordings came out. Now look at your gear and its capabilities and try and start rebuilding that sound structure. Lots to unpack here, but engineering is a part of this world and so is reverse engineering, so go get it.

best,

Jon
Online Mix Engineering | Summation Mix
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
I still have a Yamaha DSP-1 their first Samped reverb processor where they had modelled the acoustics of all sorts of spaces, and the thing still works at 30+ years old and is stuck on Munich Cathedral - the one programme I used lots. It was a stupid design, ONLY being controlled from a remote which of course I lost. In practice, my feeling is you collect hundreds of reverb options over the years, but use a small number. My opera and choir stuff often needs 'touching up', and while having lots of options, rather like a couple of programs in the Reverence reverb that came with Cubase. It's quite realistic and behaves itself.
 
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