I’ll be covering a few of the more common FX used in MainStage over the next few weeks, and I thought I’d start of with reverb.
Reverb emulates the sound of a room, hall, or other reflective space. I use it all the time on pianos, strings, and synths to make them sound warmer, richer, and more moody.
MainStage offers some great reverb plugins (my favorite is Space Designer), but for simplicity’s sake I’m going to use the SilverVerb plugin. Here’s what it looks like, along with the basic features that are common to most reverb plugins.
Dry/Wet slider: this adjusts how much reverb you add to your sound. I usually use only a tiny bit of reverb, and if the wet is all the way up, it’ll sound like your sound is cranked in a massive cathedral (but not necessarily in a good way).
Pre delay knob- this allows you to adjust how quickly your reverb starts. Short pre delay will sound instantaneous, and a longer pre delay creates a slapback “Elvis” effect.
Reflectivity- this controls how “hard” or reflective the surfaces are that you’re reflecting the sound off of. I know- confusing. Just mess with it a little to get the idea.
Size- this one is obvious. If it’s turned all the way up, it’ll sound like massive hall. All the way down will sound like a tiny recording booth.
Density/Time- This controls how long it takes for the sound to stop.
High Cut- this will take away the high part of your sound.
Low Cut- this will take away the low part of your sound.
Note: I'm skipping the modulation section for another FX later in the series.
To really get a feel for what reverb plugins do, I recommend experimenting with the SilverVerb. It’s simple enough for a beginner to understand, and keeps the most important knobs right in front of you. Good luck!