In this free video tutorial, courtesy of Eli Krantzberg from our sister site Logic Pro Expert, Eli shows you how he creates drum room ambience using TSAR-1 reverb plug-in by Softube. Watch the video to hear a few examples of how Eli sets the parameters in TSAR-1 to get a nice warm drum sound in his not so great sounding low-ceilinged basement studio.
Algorithmic reverbs are extremely well suited to creating drum room ambiences. The ability to control aspects of the reverb like density, diffusion and early reflections allows a great degree of control in creating anything from a dark warm space to a bright and lively sounding room. The TSAR-1 reverb plug-in by Softube, which is the big brother to Softube's TSAR-1R, are not only smooth and elegant sounding, they both also have a very intuitive interface that encourages experimentation.
Where The Drums Are In The Room
There are two broad approaches I find that can be used when simulating drum rooms with algorithmic reverbs. The two approaches come down to whether you start by using early reflections or pre-delay to establish the placement of the drums within the artificially created space. For a more natural sounding space, I generally prefer blending early reflections in with the reverb tail. The reverb tail establishes the size of the room, while the early reflections create perspective for the listener in terms of how far away they are from the source. Using pre-delay instead creates time between when the dry signal is heard and the onset of the reverb. Early reflections are not affected by pre-delay, and they can certainly be mixed and matched together. However, for drum room ambiences, I find it most useful to focus mainly on one or the other.
How Big The Room Is
Reverb time is the primary parameter that establishes the size of the space being created. The density sets the “thickness” or “smoothness” of the reverb tail. For my tastes, I prefer a relatively low to mid-density value in TSAR-1 for a natural sounding drum room. Too much and the sound is too lively. Too little, and it sounds like the tail is breaking up and creating something like a gated reverb effect.
The tone and high cut sliders work nicely together in TSAR-1 to set just the right amount of high-frequency damping. By setting a relatively high Tone value, the high frequencies decay more slowly. Normally I find that too sharp and reflective sounding for a natural warm drum room sound. But combined with the high cut slider, it’s possible to achieve the perfect balance; a bright room where the highs don’t decay too quickly, yet aren’t too bright, to begin with. The range of these two controls allows great precision for this.