Technique of the Week: Using Reverb Swells

In our brand new feature, Technique of the Week, we’ll be looking at a new way of enhancing your production skills. Firstly, we’ll hand over to Alex Holmes who’s looking at using reverb on the master bus…

using reverb

This week’s special technique is one that we hear a lot in modern electronic music, but it no doubt exists on many older records too. The technique in question, involves placing a reverb plug-in on the master bus and automating it so that the mix swells as you move forwards towards the next section.


This works especially well in dance music drop downs, as you can slowly make the track sound washed out and pushed further back, before slamming back in with the full clarity of the drop. It’s the age old adage about contrast. It works well if you pick a nice long and even reverb, then roll off the lows and the highs using a built-in EQ (if the plug-in has it). We often use Logic’s Space Designer for this.

The next step is to automate the wet so that it increases towards the drop section, whilst also very slightly reducing the dry, maybe just 2 or 3 dB. By doing this, you’re pushing the signal back whilst simultaneously EQ-ing out the lows and highs, which can then all be brought back in at a specific point.

If you find you’re losing too much focus, then you could try putting the reverb on a separate mix bus ahead of your main output, and send all of the mix bar a few key elements such as a vocal or high-hat through it.