When using reverb in Pro Tools or any DAW, there are three main ways you can set it up. You can use as a aux send and return, apply the reverb directly on the track, or process the reverb into the audio file. There are advantages and disadvantages to each one, let’s take a look below.

AUX SEND/RETURN- This is the most traditional way to use reverb. You do this using the busing matrix in your digital audio workstation. So for example let’s say you have a snare drum that needs some reverb. Setup a aux track and put your reverb on it, let’s assign it to bus 1 and 2. Then you go to your snare track and and add a aux send to bus 1 and 2. Now you control how much reverb the snare gets by turning up the aux send. The advantage of using your reverb this way is that you can assign many track to the same reverb thus saving CPU power. The is the method I most often use. I usually have three reverbs setup, a plate, room and hall. I can cover all my bases by setting up my reverb this way.

DIRECTLY ON TRACK- Using reverb this way is much easier because you don’t need to setup anything you just plop the reverb right on the track you want to effect. You control how much reverb the track gets by changing the wet/dry control. The advantage to this is you can get very specific on what kind of reverb you want. The disadvantage is if you do this on every single track it will eat up your CPU power fast. I like to use this method on tracks that I feel need a specific sound, but usually only do it one or two times per session.

PROCESSED ON TRACK- Using this method you actually process the reverb right into the audio file. The problem with this method is you can’t undo it. (unless you save a original file for backup.) If you are going to use reverb this way make sure you are confident the sound isn’t going to change. I seldom use this method but it comes in handy when you want to use reverse reverb effects. On a side note, Pro Tools D-verb now has a reverse button that will make a reverse reverb effect in a matter of seconds. Pretty cool considering it took about a hour to do that not too long ago.

In conclusion there is no right or wrong way to setup reverb. It is always about what makes sense in your particular case. Remember, the end game is to make the song sound as good as possibly. If you have any questions or need your songs mixed and mastered feel free to contact me.

Matty Harris is a award winning Producer and Mixing/Mastering Engineer. He has worked with artist such as Kelly Clarkson, Action Bronson, Sammy Adams, A$AP Rocky, and many more. He is the owner of online mixing and mastering service mixandmastermysong.com