Using Drum Samples With Reverb

Reverb, when applied to drum samples, is grossly underused in popular music. At the same time, though, a lot of the people who make use of the effect for their drum parts abuse it and degrade the drum samples to the point of annoyance.

Studio Pak Pro Ultimate Drums Audio Sound Sample LibraryWhen using the reverb on just one of the drum samples, think about the effect you're trying to achieve. Is the sound a constant sound? Could it drive your listener crazy after repeat visits? Or is it something that colors the other samples, so to say? Once you can figure out the role for that particular drum sample, you'll be a few steps ahead and closer to your goal!

The length of the reverb is one of the main points of debate. Some people claim that songs with a slower tempo warrant a longer 'tail' (release) on the reverb sound patch, while others ask you to experiment with long and short on both medium and fast tempo songs to see what works for you. Sometimes, a longer reverb will allow the other drum samples to have a little bit more freedom and not need to perform to fill in empty space. If one of the samples takes that burden off the rest, you'll have a lot more freedom!

Roland Tr-808 Drum Machine (99 Drum Samples)Having a consistent reverb - one that spans all drum samples and each of their channels - can help in toning the song to your liking. You can easily imply locations like the Sydney Opera House, the Grand Canyon and more, as unlikely as it sounds, just by using different reverb settings across the whole range of drum samples currently loaded. If going for one of these locations, you may want to apply a bit of the reverb to your instruments as well for the most realistic sound experience.

Having said all of this, though, just about anything goes with certain types of electronic music. As long as something actually works for the song, nobody can tell you that it's not worthy of inclusion as an effect.

If you experiment and see what works for you, you'll be well off to a natural instinct for applying effects like reverb to your drum samples in a way that is unobtrusive and even adds character to your tracks. Start by testing out the effects of it on single sample tracks and then to the drums as a unit, before moving on to the whole song in varying degrees of application.

Also make sure to try different types, like plate and room reverb, then hall and open spaces. You'll find that each adds something else and once you know when to use a specific type of patch, you'll be ready for any beat making situation.

John Gellei is a guest author for BeatFuse, which shows you how to easily make beats and has tutorials on music production also.

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