These presets for UAD come with helpful explanations and instructions. They can be used as starting points for your own mix, or as a way of learning more about the plugin. As always, feel free to experiment, the instructions are based on my own workflow and “ear”. I hope you enjoy and they help you make even better music!
The main goal of these presets is consistent spaces and usability (and some might say “subtlety”). All of the sets work together with the naming system described below. There are no “center of a spinning galaxy” or other wild settings. More experimental settings are just that, experimental. And usually for one specific task where you would be chasing creativity and probably never use it again. These presets are to enhance the audio and place it in a real (sounding) space, and should be usable over and over.
The naming of the presets helps in using them together. Any with the same base name will complement each other. For instance, all the ones named “ROOM” will work together. As an example, you could use “ROOM_B” on a vocal and “ROOM_F” on a guitar and they will balance and enhance one another.
In addition, the letters at the end of the names signify ones that have been designed to work together. “Echo_C” on one track will fit nicely with “HALL_C” on another track, and so forth.
It is common practice to place a reverb on an auxiliary bus, send tracks and adjust the send levels to create variances in the perceived placement in a space. This has the advantage of preserving resources and ensuring different tracks sound like they are in the same space no matter their “placement.” You can easily accomplish this by hitting the “Wet Solo” button and using your sends. (But remember to turn the wet solo off if you are on a normal channel insert!)
The mix settings saved with each preset are meant to take this a step farther, and using the plugin as an insert rather than a send lets you achieve more accuracy. In a real space moving farther away from a source doesn’t just produce “more” reverb, it also affects many other aspects of the sound. I have tried to reproduce this for each space. Because of this I recommend using the plugin as an insert on individual tracks with the presets. Of course, you can tweak the mix settings to your liking.
Just a note on the Width and Mono controls. The width is set at just slightly less than 100%, because this is how I like it. (!!) Also, some of the presets are set to mono, but can be used either way. (Using reverb in mono is really, really helpful. See some hints about that in my post “Cool for your Reverb“.)
Having said all that—go ahead and do what you want and what sounds good to you! These are just starting points. If nothing else, they will point to ways in which you can sculpt the shape of a space. I encourage you to poke around the different settings and get into the beauty and complexity of “chambers”.
Penny.Cool presets are calibrated for an input signal level of -18dbfs RMS (more or less). But try anything you want!
Requires UAD v. 11
- CHAMBER 1_A, CHAMBER 1_B, CHAMBER 1_C, CHAMBER 1_D, CHAMBER 1_E, CHAMBER 1_F, CHAMBER 1_G, CHAMBER 1_H
Chamber 1 at “Hitsville” adjusted for relatively subtle general use. On this (and most of the presets) you can bring up the bass EQ for a “bigger” sound but be careful because chambers can quickly overwhelm with low end muck.
- CHAMBER 2_A, CHAMBER 2_B, CHAMBER 2_C, CHAMBER 2_D, CHAMBER 2_E, CHAMBER 2_F, CHAMBER 2_G, CHAMBER 2_H
This chamber is a little more “spacious” sounding, or heavier on the reflections, if you will. The presets have been adjusted to tame this. The idea was to make both chambers sound more similar, but retain nice subtle differences.
- ECHO_A, ECHO_B, ECHO_C, ECHO_D, ECHO_E, ECHO_F, ECHO_G, ECHO_H
The Predelay controls the timing of the echo. The presets are mimicking, more or less, a tape echo created by a deck running at 7.5 ips. (The Distance and Decay controls play into this as well.) These work in an interesting way if combined with another reverb. For example, use “ECHO_D” on one insert of track, and use another instance of Hitsville on the same track using “CHAMBER 1_D”.
- HALL_A, HALL_B, HALL_C, HALL_D, HALL_E, HALL_F, HALL_G, HALL_H
I am using the name “HALL” for lack of an easy descriptor. These are the most “spacious” of the presets—think drums and guitars. There is more “boom” here, but still a rather quick delay so things don’t get cluttered up. Adjust the Delay control to fit the tempo of the track. The Mix control on these are really your friend.
- INTIMATE_A, INTIMATE_B, INTIMATE_C, INTIMATE_D, INTIMATE_E, INTIMATE_F, INTIMATE_G, INTIMATE_H
Close to the source, but still a bit of space. Vocals and acoustics will feel good with these. The Lo and High Levels (EQ) are set to bring out mostly mid-range and clean things up. You may want to add an EQ after this as well if you want to bring out a particular part of the track. (And as good a place as any to mention this—look up “Abbey Road Reverb Trick”.)
- ROOM_A, ROOM_B, ROOM_C, ROOM_D, ROOM_E, ROOM_F, ROOM_G, ROOM_H
Those really subtle settings you don’t hear unless you hit “bypass”, and then you think, “oh yeah, nice.” These just add some flavor to your source and keep things simple but not flat. Use the variations (A through H) to place your sources in slightly different locations.
Penny_Top Secret Magic Vocal Setting
- Uh, not really
Everybody else uses fancy hyped-up names on their presets, so why can’t I – ?? Aside from that, you may find this a good vocal starting point, with a slight slap echo into a smooth, airy reverb. (But keep that Mix control low!)
Tips & Techniques
- Mono Reverb
Want to unclutter your tracks? Record most things in mono! Yes, you may have this lush, vibrating, space-filling synth pad. Try it in mono, along with most everything else. Once you do this, you have lots of control over your sound stage. Things can actually be panned!.
Using the plugin as an insert makes this really simple. The reverb will follow where ever you pan your track. (And here are more reverb tips.)