As we recently covered in our article on how to clean up a muddy mix, one of the biggest causes of mud in a mix is the low-mids on your reverbs.
The reason for this is because reverbs emulate the natural sounds of recording in large spaces. Specifically they’re emulating the reflections off of the walls of a recording space, whether it’s large or small. Reflections lose that top end and tend to be low-mid heavy, and typically the lower end doesn’t add anything to your mix.
Enter the Abbey Road reverb trick!
What is the Abbey Road Reverb Trick
The Abbey Road Reverb Trick is a simple yet effective way to create depth in your mix via reverb but without it muddying up your mix.
It gets its name from the fact that it was popularized on the recordings of famous artists and bands who recorded at Abbey Road Studios. This list includes The Beatles, Radiohead, and countless more.
The Abbey Road Reverb Trick
How it works is this, you create your reverb like normal, ideally on a return/aux track and send audio to it (see inserts vs sends for more information).
This allows you to easily specifically add processing to the reverb itself.
After you’ve dialed in the reverb settings you want, add an EQ after the reverb on that return/aux track.
Now place a high pass filter at 600Hz and a low pass filter at 6000Hz (6K). This is the Abbey Road reverb trick.
This allows you to create depth in your tracks with that reverb while keeping that sound clean and controlled.
The high pass filter which cuts everything below 600Hz removes all of the rumble and mud of the reflections.
The low pass filter which cuts everything above 6K keeps that higher end clean and open for cymbals, air in the vocals, etc.
Check out my overview of the 6 EQ filters for more information on the best filter to use in each situation, btw.
Be sure to adjust the Q as you like to include or cut out more of the surrounding frequencies above or below each pass.
The Abbey Road Reverb Trick Summarized
- This trick is a great way to keep the reverb and depth in your mixes without the mud.
- Use your reverb on an aux/return track and send your tracks’ audio to it.
- Add an EQ after the reverb on that aux/return track.
- Add a high pass filter at 600Hz to cut out the boomy/muddy/rumbles of the reverb’s reflections.
- Add a low pass filter at 6K to remove needless high end reflections and clear this space for your cymbals, vocal air, etc.