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How to use an Impulse Response with any sound in your production?

Generally speaking, you can apply a broad range of impulse response files to your production, but there are some general principles that might help when looking for that "perfect" ambience.  When applying an impulse response to orchestral work, you'll want to evaluate numerous files and find the one that emulates not only the space you want, but the frequency range of that particular file (room) that makes the sonic detail in your recordings stand out - not all impulses are created equal, at least in terms of the intended application. 

There are differing opinions of predelay and usage, but most add a touch of predelay to a vocal using a plate impulse for audibility and to get the constants of the words to stand out and hit your ears, before the reverb does.  Some would suggest that adding predaly to an impulse response renders phase issues - bottom line, you might add a small amount and listen to see if the results are desirable with any impulse in use. 

When applying impulse response files to solo instruments, church IRs work great and give you that "I'm listening in that room" feel to them.  One of the downsides is that many, certainly not all, but many church impulses are "colored" in nature.  In other words, lots of reflections and variables that might make a solo trumpet sound fantastic, as if you are listening live in that room, but also might make an entire brass section or orchestra sound a little muddy or too thick.

Shorter impulses of smaller spaces work very well on brass as just a way to give them more space, without getting in the way of a possible top reverb, when using them subtly. 

Try using a number of impulses when in production as the results vary greatly and while some certainly won't fit or work for one production, may be great for another.