Video Tutorial – Creating Drum Room Ambiances with Softube TSAR-1 Reverb

a picture of the softube tsar-1 reverb plugin user interface

Algorithmic reverbs are well suited to create drum room ambiances. In this video tutorial, Eli Krantzberg shows you how to make them with Softube TSAR-1.

Making Drum Room Ambiances with Softube TSAR-1 Reverb

Algorithmic reverbs are extremely well suited to creating drum room ambiances. The ability to control aspects of the reverb like density, diffusion and early reflections allows a great degree of control in creating anything from a dark warm space to a bright and lively sounding room.

TSAR-1 from Softube (and it’s baby brother TSAR-1R) are not only smooth and elegant sounding, they also have a very intuitive interface that encourages experimentation. They, of course, sound great on all kinds of sources, but in the video below I will focus on drum room ambs. In the video below you can hear a few examples of how I set these parameters to get a nice warm drum sound in my not so great sounding low-ceilinged basement studio:

Where the Drums Are in the Room

I find that in simulating drum rooms with algorithmic reverbs, there are two broad approaches.The two approaches come down to whether you start by using early reflections or pre-delay to establish the placement of the drums within the artificially created space. For a more natural sounding space, I generally prefer blending early reflections in with the reverb tail. The reverb tail establishes the size of the room, while the early reflections create perspective for the listener in terms of how far away they are from the source. Using pre-delay instead creates time between when the dry signal is heard and the onset of the reverb. Early reflections are not affected by pre-delay, and they can certainly be mixed and matched together. However, for drum room ambiances, I find it most useful to focus mainly on one or the other.

How Big the Room is

Reverb time is the primary parameter that establishes the size of the space being created. The density sets the “thickness” or “smoothness” of the reverb tail. For my tastes, I prefer a relatively low to mid-density value in TSAR-1 for a natural sounding drum room. Too much and the sound is too lively. Too little, and it sounds like the tail is breaking up and creating something like a gated reverb effect.

The tone and high cut sliders work nicely together in TSAR-1 to set just the right amount of high-frequency damping. By setting a relatively high Tone value, the high frequencies decay more slowly. Normally I find that too sharp and reflective sounding for a natural warm drum room sound. But combined with the high cut slider, it’s possible to achieve the perfect balance; a bright room where the highs don’t decay too quickly, yet aren’t too bright, to begin with. The range of these two controls allows great precision for this.

Eli Krantzberg
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Eli Krantzberg

Apple Certified Pro Eli Krantzberg is an internationally known author and music software trainer for Groove3. His instructional videos have helped demystify music software such as Logic Pro, Pro Tools, Sonar, BFD, Melodyne, and Kontakt for thousands of users all over the world. Based in Montreal, Canada, Eli is involved in all aspects of audio production. In his studio he works with various artists, as well as on commercial jingles, corporate videos, and original music composition.
Eli Krantzberg
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