Adding space to your mix

I’m struggling with getting space in my mix when going DAWless. In the BOX I usually have two reverbs set up:

one long reverb on a send channel - I send hats and snares and other misc things there via an amount that sound good to me.

and one shorter reverb on the master with the lows cut quite drastically. Everyone says don’t do this, but I do it anyways. Because it gives the whole mix a space to live in.

The stuff I send to the long reverb gives it a front to back depth and the master reverb gives it it’s left and right space.

What does everyone else do to get their 3 dimensional “space” to work in - dawless or otherwise I guess. (Good ideas come from anywhere)

I have no effects other than what is built into my DT and DN - I also run a monologue or Volca drum through the mixer but I try to stick with just a few instruments at a time. Do I need to go out and get a good reverb pedal as a send effect for my mixer? Ideally I want a cohesive sound. Not 4 reverbs all -verbing around sounding weird.

Get a quadraverb.


I do something similar but with just send channels. Luckily one of my friend’s masters project involved taking impulse responses of a bunch of rooms of various sonic treatments/sizes/acoustic architecture designs so I literally have a small room reverb and a big hall or stairwell reverb that I use for space definition. I’m kind of weird about blanket processing so I never have anything on my master channel in my mix, and I find that it helps to keep all reverbs on sends to build a “stage” for my instruments to sit in, even if it is just a club track. Helps to be able to place the snare a little further back in the room but just as loud to give your electronic hit a bit more oomph compared to my kick that probably would get too much oomph from the same level of verb (but you can probably tweak this more with a algorithmic verb than a convoluted verb.)

Are you super against DAWs in all stages of music production now? Theoretically you could record your mix with the single long verb in your DT/DN on a send to get a workable scratch-song to track to and then later add in the room placement in software via stemming out the hardware track.

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Oh I’m not against DAWs at all. I just most of the time want to keep away from a screen for as long as possible. I have some amazing reverbs in the box. Bitwig has some amazing stuff and you can modulate the modulaters that modulate the reberb module, and I really like Native Instruments Raum that I got as a freebie from a promotion. But I just find that hearing my effects along with the sound is part of the way I like to make music.

The using the DN / DT as a reverb send is a great idea though! Thank you!

4 reverbs at once will sound weird.
Just use one.
@Fin25 nailed it, get a quad.

Or, just use less reverb. If you want more of something, use less of it. Sounds weird, but it works. Kind of goes along with, if everything is loud then nothing is loud.


Isn’t it « if you want more of something, reduce the rest instead of increasing it »?

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Seems you already know how to get space in your mix, you just haven’t implemented it in your out-of-the-box workflow. get yourself a couple of reverb devices (pedals or 19") and carry on.
As to which ones…the aforementioned Quadreverb has lots of style but would be very different from the plugs you currently use. It’s also a noisy old bitch, so could be a problem depending on your style of music. Best is to borrow a few pedals from mates and experiment.

Another option is to hook your daw up to your mixer as an FX rack and only use it for the reverbs, at least as a way to test the workflow without spending any money first.

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I would use a reverb which has a pre-delay option.
That gives you possibility to not wash away the sound (especially with long reverb) and to decide about their front-back position in the mix.

When you speak about space, is it only about reverb? Because balance, stereo widening and EQ are great tools to gives space to a mix IMO.


Concentrate more on the low end. This gives you lots of room.


Do you mean ‘space’ or ‘air’?

You can have tons of space in a totally dry mix, ie, no reverb at all.

You can have loads of reverb, yet no space at all.

You have have space but no air. Or space with air?

If you can create a dry mix (by that I mean no reverb on anything) and get a sense of space, you can do it with reverb.

Reverbs make things sound cluttered and muddy if there is too much low end on the verb.

Then again, bass sounds into reverb can sound awesome, massive, but it depends on what else is happening in the mix.

Maybe think of it like this. Instead of adding space to a mix, add things to the space

Space already there, if you fill it full of things, it fills up, no space left.


I totally agree. In some cases, remove a track… or two :wink:

IMHO a mix should sound good without FX already. Then comes the polishing, nuts and cherries on the top.

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Yeah this is what I was trying to say when I meant placing your instruments on a “stage.” I treat reverb as one of two things: a sound design tool where I generally gate it by pressing it into the sample, or an enhancer/sonic color-er to give some instruments a little more of a reality (or alternate-reality) to play in. Space generally comes from EQing, leveling, and having your mix act as a cohesive being rather than a bunch of instruments playing at the same time.

Think of it as a music shop vs a band. All the reverb in the world can’t get 10 kids playing guitar solos to sound like a unified bunch even if they are all spaced out well and in the same room, but a drum circle in an open park can live and act as one unit even when there is nothing for the sound to reflect off.

That’s a good point. If I can get space in a mix without reverb then reverb is icing on the cake.

But yeah I was talking about space. Forward to backward - side to side and reverb helps with that. It’s not the be all end all of course. Higher pitched sounds sound higher in the mix. Muffled low passed sounds sound further back, etc.

Thanks for the suggestions so far. A lot to think about.

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Some ways to do it without reaching for the 'verb upfront:

Use short (few ms to few tens of ms) stereo delays to get a Haas effect - this both places and “widens” the sound, keeping it from being a point source (which don’t exist in the real world) and making the source feel 3d while also putting it psychoacoustically into a 3d space. This is what the predelay on a reverb does to move the sound closer and further from the listener perceptually, but does that in the left-right domain. Another great trick is to use EQ with different settings in the L/R or M/S mode to move your instruments around spectrally and psycoacoustically.

Fabfilter’s 2-part videos on how to mix in stereo (without sucking in mono) is epically useful to illustrate both of these principles, and is highly recommended (along with their Beginner’s guide to EQ which contain a ton of tricks that even seasoned pros tend to forget about and is well worth a watch regardless of your skill level).


Starts to be closer to mastering than pure mixing.

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Add a little modulation to the panning in the DT n DN.

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I use various rackmount effect units connected via a mixer’s aux channels. In general, two aux channels are reserved for reverb, two aux channels for delays, and another two for whatever is needed for the track.

Many older effect units can be found very cheap these days, if you are looking to expand your options.

With that said, I tend to favor using a combination of delays and reverbs to create space in a mix. The lower and upper frequency range of the delays and reverbs are filtered, which helps the said effects to sit in the mix better.

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